Blancpain unveil the first ten watches in the new Fifty Fathoms series - the Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Flyback Chronograph with Complete Calendar and Moonphases.
The brand, who for the sixth consecutive year will be partners with the Cannes International Boat and Yacht Show will make use of the superb "Vieux Port" location in Cannes to present the first releases of the new collection.
Meausuring 45mm and presented in a fetching navy blue colourway for the dial and bezel, this piece is powered by the Calibre 66BF8 self-winding movement with complete calendar, flyback chronograph and moonphase functions and has a power reserve of 40 hours. Patented user-friendly correctors under the lugs allow the wearer to adjust the displays on demand without damaging the complex calendar mechanisms.
First created in the 1950's, the Fifty Fathoms was not initially meant for the commercial sector - Rolex had cornered that market niche, the piece was originally designed for the elite French Navy divers, "Les Nageurs de Combat". With a name inspired by its water resistance capability, the Fifty Fathoms with its bold, functional epoxy bezel and super-luminous Arabic numerals and markers became a signature piece of the Blancpain collection. Iconic status followed when Jacques Cousteau and fellow divers wore the Fifty Fathoms in the award-winning 1956 movie "Le Monde Du Silence".
This latest piece was originally unveiled at Baselworld 2010 and not everyone liked itm it has perhaps it is the busy dial which, of course is not to everyone's taste particularly in a diver's watch, however with a manufacture like Blancpain often the beauty is to be found within.
The movement in this one has a few technical features other than those finger-friendly correctors. A column-wheel chronograph in itself (often considered to be the only true chronograph) would be enough to satisfy many aficionados but this piece has the added prestige of having a vertical clutch coupling system. Eh?....... ok, I'm not in a hurry anywhere, here's a brief outline of what this means to you and your watch.
In a chronograph movement without the clutch system, the chronograph hand appears to "jump" into action when the function is commanded. This is caused by the varying random positions of the intermediate wheel and the chronograph centre wheel which pivot onto eachother at the moment when the function is started. The clutch system not only eliminates this "jump start" it's construction also dispels with the need for a delicate fine-toothed chronograph centre wheel so it is also more durable. Also, in a vertical coupling clutch chronograph movement the chronograph centre wheel is driven by the running train of the watch - the clutch adds the seconds hand only when the chronograph is running - as opposed to a system without a clutch whose whole chronograph mechanism is impacted onto the running train in it's entirety when the start button is pressed, this "extra load" can reduce amplitude. Basically a vertical coupling clutch system ensures a smoother start/stop, uncompromised timekeeping accuracy and due to its re-designed chronograph centre wheel a more durable system - you can run the chronograph timer as long and as often as you wish. The development of the system dates back to the days at Blancpain when a younger but equally avant-garde Jean-Claude Biver partnered with Jacques Piguet resolved to continue to invest in and develop mechanical watch movements, when others around them were going quartz. Their chronograph released in 1987 featured the super slim Calibre 1185 - the first modern high-end Swiss movement to use the vertical clutch coupling system. Ok - lesson over, class dismissed.
If technical know-how is really not your thing and a plainer dial in that oh-so-mediterranean-blue is what you desire, then perhaps the delectable blue Chanel J12 Marine might just be your bunny......as we say in Ireland.