Written by Chaz Nash
Blancpain has been an avid supporter of deep sea efforts since 1953 when it crafted Fifty Fathoms watch – its first modern diving watch. The development of Fifty Fathoms eventually evolved into a distinctive and extensive diver’s watch collection which included the creation of the X Fathoms Diver’s watch. X Fathoms quickly gained Blancpain brand notoriety when it launched the watch’s introduction at the world’s largest aquarium, Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo in the Dubai Mall October 2011.
Blancpains diving watch developments allowed the brand to garner relationships with various conservationists and science researchers that it lead to their active support and involvement in notable sea expeditions and scientific sea research projects including the “Pristine Sea Expeditions with Blancpain” a conservation project for National Geographic; and just last year the Gombessa Project in South Africa.
The Gombessa Project, a 40 day deep water expedition that studied and researched the habitat of the Gombessa (aka coelacanth) fish, once presumed extinct 70 million years ago. The Gombessa draws distinction in the sea world as it is said to be linked with both fish and land dwelling animals because of its paired lobe fins which extend along its body which bear a likeness to legs, as well as its primitive non-functional fatty lung.
Diver and naturalist Laurent Ballesta, donned Blancpain’s Fifty Fathoms X Fathoms watch, and his team of divers were tasked with visually documenting and capturing this enigmatic fish on film for the deep sea project. Using evolved research methods, Ballesta and his team divers plunged into the depths of the Jesser Canyon Caves, as far as 120 meters below surface, to locate and shoot (photograph) Gombessa. A depth that is by no means a challenge for the X Fathoms as it is capable of withstanding water up to 300 meters.
X Fathoms (Model 5018-1230-64A) has a powerful 55.65mm satin brushed titanium case which is accentuated by a one-way rotating bezel and a retrograde 5-minute counter. The black matte dial showcases depth indication on two scales. Features include a mechanical depth gauge, decompression valve, maximum depth memory with secured reset pusher. It houses the 9918B caliber self-wind movement, which is based on Blancpain’s caliber 1315. X Fathoms is adorned with a rubber strap having 14 articulated parts that ensures a secure tailored fit.
X Fathoms is by far Blancpains most high-performance mechanical diver’s watch that it has ever manufactured of its Fifty Fathoms Collection. It may be difficult to resist this watch, as it will lull you into its deep hypnotic trance.