Blancpain Bathyscaphe



Iconeek is proud to introduce here a very fine, rare and collectible Blancpain’s diver wristwatch: The Bathyscaphe.

In the early 1950’s, the French Combat Diving School needed a wristwatch for the divers to coordinate time on missions.  Captain Robert Maloubier and Lieutenant Claude Riffaud set the specifications:  a large black dial with bold numerals and clear markings for legibility,  an outer rotating bezel with decompression time for security. Introduced in 1953, the Blancpain « Fifty Fathoms » was the manufacturer’s famed dive watch. The model quickly became a legend of functionality and reliability for the professional’s diver and gain a cult status among watch’s collectors, because it early sets all the specifications of any modern diving wristwatches. With its  large luminous bakelite bezel, gloss dial with large luminous hour markers , large 41 mm. case, two-piece screw down caseback for enhanced waterproof capabilities, the model has showed the road to an entire generation if dive watches.  In 1956, Blancpain introduced the Bathyscaphe model, with a diameter of 34.5mm, a professional watch more in line with a daily wear and daily use. This was followed by a 37mm model, such as the present watch. The word “bathyscaphe” comes from the ancient Greek word “bathys” for deep and  “scaphe” a light bowl-shaped boat. A bathyscaphe is a self-propelled vehicle used for deep-sea dives, capable to diving deeper than a person in gear and even able to go deeper than submarines.

The present watch is very great iteration of the famous original Fifty-Fathoms, and the the later Aqua Lung, sharing the similar gloss dial, large luminous indexes and hands, bakelite bezel. Being voluntary designed as a more civilian version, the Bathyscaphe is set with a date indication. The model comes with a three-body construction: a water-resistant stainless steel tonneau-shaped case with downturned lugs, screwed crown and case back, revolving bakelite black bi-directionnal steel bezel with decompression time. The case back is engraved outside in its center « Blancpain, Stainless steel, Swiss Made » and on the edge «  Waterproof, Shock Protected, Automatic, Antimagnetic ».  Under the hesalite crystal, we find a superb gloss black dial with painted luminous Baton indexes and Arabic 12,3,6 numerals, an outer minute and second division, an aperture for the date at 3 surrounded by a white rectangular frame, large luminous white Baton hands, sweep center second with luminous tip. The dial bears the mention « SWISS MADE T<25 MC » at his bottom.

Protected by a dust cap, the watch is powered by caliber FD66, mechanical, automatic, rhodium-plated finish movement, with straight line lever escapement, 17 jewels, shock absorbers, self-compensating flat balance spring, monometallic balance, engraved « 1700/01 » next to the balance,  The rotor is engraved « 17 jewels, Swiss ». This caliber was also in use for the famous Aqua Lung model. The present watch comes with a leather strap, the size between the lugs is 18 mm.

With its timeless design, aesthetically appealing, great history, this original Blancpain Bathyscaphe deserves a place in every collection of  dive watches or Blancpain oriented models.

A rare and collectible diver’s wristwatch! Dive into history !

Condition: 8.5/10, in great and original overall condition, plexiglass with some scratches, otherwise nice dial and movement, in working condition, nicely patinated hands and dial, great and original bakelite bezel

Brand: Blancpain

Model: Bathyscaphe Automatic Incabloc


Year: 1960s

Material: stainless steel

Movement no: –

Case no.: 170070

Dial: gloss black, Arabic 12,6,3, aperture for the date

Movement: cal. 1700/01, FD66, 17 jewels

Bracelet: leather strap

Functions: self-winding, date, sweep center second

Water-resistant: no more (yes, at the time)

Dimensions: 37.30 mm diam. Thickness 13.50 mm.

Accessories: –

Ref. ICO: 99-19-038F