The fake Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe was created when a need was seen for a version of the trailblazing diver that would be somewhat more suitable for daily wear. It immediately offered a smaller, stylish alternative to the conventional Fifty Fathoms, and to this day, it is the version that has been most adapted. We’ve seen Bathyscaphes in various materials, colors, and shapes, and there is no sign of that trend slowing down.
Today, we’re looking at the latest version of the green dial replica Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe Chronograph Flyback. And while what makes this watch new is that it is presented in a green hue, a first for Bathyscaphe Chronograph Flyback, it’s certainly no slouch when it comes to technical proficiency. (Blancpain also came out with a green-clad Bathyscaphe limited edition earlier this year in the form of the Bathyscaphe Mokarran Limited Edition.)
The cheap fake Blancpain Bathyscaphe Chronograph Flyback’s 43.6mm x 15.25mm case is made of satin-brushed-ceramic, a highly scratch-resistant, anti-reflective material that serves as an excellent platform for a modern tool watch. The press release describes the case as black, but in some of these pictures, it appears to be a shade of grey. The case is also water resistant to 30 bar, despite the fact that it’s a chronograph, which presents its own set of water-resistance challenges. I reached out to Blancpain to confirm whether the chronograph could be safely operated underwater, and they told me it can. The erstwhile Frederic Piguet’s history of making excellent chronograph calibers is well documented, of course. And the cal. 1185 is one of the very few high-grade automatic chronograph calibers that’s been used by a number of top-tier brands. But from the early ’80s, Blancpain had a very special relationship with F. Piguet through shared ownership. (Having since merged, Blancpain and F. Piguet are now known as Manufacture Blancpain.)
The modern F385 caliber is a very fine flyback chronograph in its own right. It runs at a fast rate of 36,000 vph, which translates to 1/10 per second precision when timing events, and it does so while offering a solid 50 hours of power reserve. You can see this movement through the sapphire back, which also strikes me as impressive given the water resistance rating of this chrono diver.
The bezel is also ceramic, rich green to match the dial, and the markings on the fully graduated bezel are made of liquid crystal. As this Blancpain replica with green ceramic bezel is a fully functional dive watch, you’ll notice that the continuous seconds hand in the small sub-dial at six o’clock is tipped with lume.
Aesthetically, the Bathyscaphe is one of my absolute favorite dive watches. Its clean lines and relatively paired down aesthetic (when compared to the original Fifty Fathoms) make it a watch that I’ve long enjoyed in its various guises. If you look at a Bathyscaphe next to a traditional Fifty Fathoms, you will see that the bezel of the former is proportionally smaller than the latter. That is because, I think, the original Fifty Fathoms is principally a tool for diving. The Bathyscaphe is a watch. This particular model’s incorporation of a flyback chronograph without sacrificing a lick of water resistance strikes me as particularly impressive, and the pairing of a somewhat reflective bezel and dial in green with a very muted satin-brushed case offers a nice contrast.
At 43.6mm in diameter, this is, of course, a big fake watch. Still, consider what it can do. It’s a serious dive watch with 30-bar water resistance that incorporates the strong attributes of a pilot’s watch. The flyback chronograph feature was used in its early days by pilots who needed to rapidly time successive events without having to manually reset their chronograph each time. While having both features in one watch gives it a lot of functionality and a tool-watch look that many will no doubt be attracted to, I personally find myself most drawn to the standard Bathyscaphe diver in the smaller 38mm case size, which I think is pretty much perfect.