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A Diver’s Watch Born in the Desert

5052 Death Valley Wrist1

The 500-piece Blancpain Bathyscaphe Day Date Desert Edition tells a story unlike any other.

From pitch black, to navy blue, to emerald green, the dial of a diver’s watch is designed to evoke the varying hues of the ocean at various depths. Evocative of the desert, a subtle gradation of sandy beige is perhaps the last colour to be associated with a diver’s watch. But it is for this reason alone that Blancpain’s Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe Day Date Desert Edition can be described as truly remarkable.

Connoisseurs have come to learn that there is a story to every Fifty Fathoms piece. The new model, inspired by a 1970s Blancpain creation, encapsulating the boldness of the brand, is no different.

5052 Death Valley Camera

In 1962, Ernest H. Brooks II, a well-known collaborator of the Edition Fifty Fathoms project, journeyed to the Death Valley for an unlikely adventure – a diving trip to explore the desert’s Devils Hole. “It is unbelievable how hot the sun blazes at 7 o’clock in the morning in the infamous Death Valley. We could already feel the hot sand under our feet as we set off to dive,” recalls Brooks.

A geothermal pool surrounded by a barren rock formation; the Devils Hole forms a unique habitat. It is home to the endemic and critically endangered fish species, Cyprinodon diabolis. Brooks did what no one else had done before by photographing this vibrant creature, commonly known as the Devils Hole pupfish.

In the 1970s, Blancpain sought to break free from the traditional aesthetics of the Bathyscaphe. The brand began to produce a series of watches emphasising on a cushion-shaped case, an inner rotating ring, a gradient-coloured grey dial, as well as the day of the week and date indication. It was a bold decision for Blancpain to embark on this endeavour.

5052 Death Valley Cap

Perfect for iconoclasts and adventurers, the Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe Day Date Desert Edition echoes Brooks’ pioneering spirit. Apart its sandy beige hue – a first for the collection – the dial is designed to maximise legibility. This can be seen through its bold, rectangular hour markers, as well as a chapter ring punctuated with Arabic numerals to mark the five-minute intervals.

The date and day of the week windows are located at 3 o’clock, while the hands are coated with Super-LumiNova® and enlist the same baton shape seen in earlier Bathyscaphe models. The watch is further enhanced with a unidirectional rotating bezel with a brown ceramic insert and Liquidmetal® hour markers.

Though boasting a vintage appeal, the Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe Day Date Desert Edition is a representation of today’s watchmaking pinnacle. The in-house 1315DD movement offers five days of power reserve, and is equipped with a silicon balance spring to improve its resistance to magnetic fields, therefore ensuring that the watch remains exceptionally accurate. It is also luxuriously finished with a NAC-treated gold oscillating weight, which can be admired through a transparent caseback.

5052 1146 E52a Back

Housed in a 43mm satin-brushed steel case and water resistant to 30 bar (approximately 300 metres), the Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe Day Date Desert Edition is issued in a 500-piece limited series. It is complemented with a canvas strap.