The Swiss brand has inaugurated a new chapter in the history of the first modern diving watch, presenting an unprecedented model, designed to meet the current needs of the technical diving sector.
In Rangiroa atoll in French Polynesia, where the Tamataroa mission is being carried out, Blancpain continue the festivities planned for the 70th anniversary of Fifty Fathoms.
Featuring an innovation co-developed by Marc A. Hayek, President & CEO of Blancpain, e Laurent Ballesta, founder of the Gombessa project, this instrument baptized « Tech Gombessa» allows for the first time to measure dive time with a time span of up to 3 hours. Its release commemorates 10 years of Gombessa, an initiative whose creation Blancpain contributed to by becoming a founding partner of the project since its inception in 2013. It also marks the launch of a new line in Blancpain's dive watch collection.
Strengthened by the invaluable legacy left by the Fifty Fathoms of 1953, but also and above all from his own experiences, the President launched himself, together with the diver, photographer and marine biologist Laurent Ballesta, into the conception of a new mechanical instrument responding to the needs of all extreme divers. Starting with the members of the Shipping Gombessa, whose research work includes long-duration deep dives. With the support of Blancpain, these adventurers of the deep have joined forces in the framework of the Tamataroa multi-year mission dedicated to the study of the behavior of the great hammerhead shark, Sphyrna wet, in French Polynesia, this project was carried out by a committee of passionate divers who love great depths, made up of, among others, Marc A. Hayek and Laurent Ballesta.
It is in this context that the latest addition to the Fifty Fathoms collection, the Tech Gombessa, intended to measure the duration of long technical dives or dives with a saturation set that can reach 3 hours. In 2019, after a year of study, Blancpain started developing the project, starting with the two key elements which are the movement , unidirectional rotating bezel. In contrast to the bezels of usual diver's watches, that of the Fifty Fathoms Tech Gombessa shows a graduation on a 3-hour scale connected to the third sphere assigned to this task. This device, jointly invented by Marc A. Hayek e Laurent Ballesta represents a world first for which a patent has been filed. It is the heart of the automatic movement 13P8, based on the same criteria of reliability and robustness that have made the Fifty Fathoms the diving watch par excellence for 70 years.
As for the case material, titanium was preferred 23 degree recently introduced by Blancpain in its collections, Grade 23 titanium – also known by the name of Grade 5 ELI (extra low interstitials or «with very few inclusions») – is the type of purest titanium there is. It stands out for its resistance and exceptional anti-allergic properties, while being remarkably light. This feature ensures comfort for the wearer of the timepiece. We of Perpetual Passion we had the privilege of being able to touch the newcomer in the Blancpain house first hand. On the wrist, thanks to the titanium, it is very light while, as regards the generous dimensions (47mm in diameter), we were very impressed by the central loops reported that allow the strap to wrap around the wrist in the best possible way.
The Fifty Fathoms Tech Gombessa comes in a special Peli™ case, waterproof and shock resistant, but also reusable and configurable. The case contains a slot for the watch, the band extender, a travel pouch, a magnifying glass, as well as a set of separators and die-cutting tools, which allow you to divide it into compartments that can be used for other uses in the future .
List price is approx €28,500 (variable according to local taxes).