Although it reflects 60 years of Blancpain Fifty Fathoms diving watch tradition, the Ocean Commitment Bathyscaphe Chronographe flyback features Blancpain’s latest in-house movement, the F385. This entirely new column wheel controlled flyback chronograph movement runs at the high frequency of 5 HZ – 36’000vph, ideal for a chronograph, as each second is perfectly divided into 1/10th of a second intervals.
The F385 is further distinguished by its use of silicon for the balance wheel spiral. Because silicon is a -magnetic, its use provides the same degree of protection from magnetism as constructions which rely upon a soft iron inner case. However, whereas soft iron inner cases foreclose use of a clear case back, as the movement would be hidden, the F385’s use of silicon allows both protection from magnetism and view of the movement. In common with all of the 33 new in -house calibers which Blancpain has introduced since 2006, the F385 has a freely sprung balance, with gold screws for fine regulation. Gold screw inertial regulation offers superior robustness and finer adjustment than the more common racket systems.
The F385 utilizes a vertical clutch for the engagement of the chronograph. Blancpain has been an industry pioneer in the development and refinement of vertical clutch chronographs . Unlike horizontal clutch systems used elsewhere, Blancpain’s vertical clutch guarantees flawless starting and operation of the chronograph. Horizontal clutch systems are prone to needle jumping upon starting and uneven movement of the chronograph seconds hand, both of which are avoided with Blancpain’s design.
Two other features of this new timepiece bring important functionality to the world of diving. Unlike most diving chronographs, which paradoxically forbid chronograph use underwater and require that the chronograph pushers be “locked down” when the watch is submerged, the Bathyscaphe Chronographe Flyback has been equipped with sealed chronograph pushers allowing use of the chronograph during dives to a depth of 300 meters. Second, the chronograph itself incorporates a flyback function. Whereas standard chronographs require three actuations of the pushers to time back to back events (one push to stop the first event, a second to return to zero and a third to start the second event), the flyback function greatly simplifies operation. A single push of the return to zero pushers stops the first event, returns the timers to zero and restarts the timing for the second event. This is particularly useful for divers’ decompression stops.
Aesthetically, the Ocean Commitment Bathyscaphe Flyback is housed in a gray ceramic case, with a ceramic crown and ceramic chronograph pushers and a unidirectional blue ceramic rotating bezel marked with liquid metal indexes. The blue colour theme is carried over to the dial, which offers three subdials for the chronograph counters and small seconds display. On the back of the watch, the movement and winding rotor are visible through the clear case back. The winding rotor has been specially decorated for this limited series bearing the logo for the Ocean Commitment.