OceanicTime Archives



By TLex Yesterday evening at the Dubai Aquarium, Blancpain unveiled to the world what they say is the most technologically advanced diving watch ever made and their most extreme diver to date. They weren't kidding! And as my suspicions earlier lead me to believe, the BLANCPAIN X Fathoms was in fact a mechanical depth gauge, which by all counts has the most accurate and sophisticated depth sensory system of any watch of its kind, and is packed with more features and more functions than anything currently available in its class.

The watch itself has an imposing 55.65mm x 24mm satin brushed Titanium case with a water-resistance of 300m; it houses a BLANCPAIN caliber 9918B, based on the 1315, which the current 2008 Fifty Fathoms utilizes. Its mechanical depth gauge can measure depth up to 90 meters. It is presented on what BLANCPAIN say is the most technically advanced divers strap system in the world . . .

My initial thoughts are; yes, this is certainly a technological achievement and in many ways a break through, so in that respect it does outdo 'the competition', namely the Jaeger-LeCoultre MC Diving Geographic Pro and the IWC Deep Two. However there is no escaping the fact that this is and will only be a diving instrument, to be used for its intended purpose. There's nothing wrong with that, but unfortunately that also means it won't make the grade for high-end desk divers; at almost 56mm, it's going to be far too big. In the looks department, although a marvel, it's just too complicated.

The BLANCPAIN X Fathoms might be Blancpain's first foray into the world of high-end scuba instruments, but in turn is a bit of a departure from the world of everyday luxury wristwatches!

From BLANCPAIN In the context of a spectacular event taking place in the largest aquarium in the world, the Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo in the Dubai Mall, Blancpain revealed its latest diving watch. The X Fathoms revisits the characteristics of its iconic 1953 ancestor, and combines them with a mechanical depth gauge to create the most high-performance mechanical diving watch ever produced.

Depth measure up to 90 meters and maximum depth reached memory, separate indication on the 0- 15m scale with an exceptional +/- 30 cm precision, retrograde 5-minute counter for decompression stops, the X Fathoms concept watch abounds in world firsts. Its movement, reference 9918B, is based on the Manufacture-made Calibre 1315, which has already proved its worth by successfully powering several models in the Fifty Fathoms collection. Self-winding and equipped with three barrels ensuring a five-day power reserve, it is provided with a silicon balance-spring to withstand magnetic disturbances.

Its imposing 55.65 mm case made of satin-brushed titanium is water-resistant to 30 bar. It features a helium decompression valve for saturation diving and the unidirectional rotating bezel characteristic to the collection for almost 60 years.

Research and testing conducted by Blancpain show that the elastic properties and the resistance to permanent deformation of amorphous metal make this material ideal for the depth gauge membrane. This choice allows to reduce its thickness by half compared to steel and gain in precision. It also allows avoiding the risk of microcracks formation given the long-term stability of the alloy. However, the non-linear nature of the membrane deformation had to be corrected.

The ingenious solution to this problem is given by the asymmetrical toothing of the rack and pinion that linearises the curve of the membrane deformation. The individual calibration of each X Fathoms guaranties maximal precision of depth indications.

Displays result from in-depth research to offer optimal legibility, with central depth indication hands, matt black background colour to enhance contrast and three-colour luminescence to distinguish indications useful underwater. The most complex injected rubber strap ever conceived gives the final finishing touch. It comprises 14 articulated parts to ensure a perfect fit on the wrist and allow water to seep in under the watch in order to come in contact with the membrane under all circumstances.

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