I remember the night this watch was born. It was October 2014, and the Indian summer of that year was coming to an end, but evenings in the south of France were still suffused with warmth and light. In Antibes, the Blancpain team were launching their Ocean Commitment Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe at an event attended by close friends of the brand. In accordance with Blancpain’s intention to bring across the personal relevance and importance of their cause, the Hayek summer home had been opened to guests of the launch event.
Marine biologist and research diver Laurent Ballesta was there to speak about his work on the Gombessa Project, Joël Robuchon was there with his team to cater the event, and it was growing late when an idea came to Wei Koh, co-founder of Revolution and my professional mentor of the last five and a half years. We were talking about milestones, about celebrations, about friendships — and then he said, wouldn’t it be amazing if Blancpain could make a watch for Revolution’s 10th anniversary?
We asked both Marc A Hayek, the exceptional chief executive of Blancpain, and Vincent Beccia, his technical guru, and their immediate enthusiasm for this project still surprises and humbles me to this day.
Fast forward to Baselworld 2015, the year that Revolution turned 10, at the Blancpain booth (which is not so much of a booth as it is a physical locus for those who love the brand and its people), and Vincent is showing us the first renderings and proposals for what will become the Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Bathyscape Revolution Special Edition. We talk about how we want this watch to be an homage to the design and dimensions of the original 1953 Fifty Fathoms, but with a wholly modern approach, incorporating their materials expertise with ceramics and amorphous metals.
Now it is Baselworld 2016 and the watch is here.
Sandblasted 38mm steel case. Dark grey anthracite dial. Domed sapphire dial crystal. Unidirectionally rotating bezel with ceramic insert and markers in Liquidmetal. Transparent sapphire caseback crystal revealing movement with custom camouflage décor. Automatic winding rotor with Blancpain logo and Revolution star. Chocolate-brown fabric strap. Limited edition of 30.
Earlier this week I bumped into Eric Singer (at the Blancpain booth, of course), who is as known for his excellent taste in watches as he is for his music career. I showed him the watch and he remarked that he had just been asking Blancpain if they would start making watches closer in design and size to the original Bathyscaphe.
It was last Baselworld when we decided that this watch was really going to happen, I told him, the same year we met for the first time.
He said, “You mean that time I went up to you and told you that Revolution was the best watch magazine in the world?”
These things all fit together, and they happened the way they did because of the extraordinary generosity of people such as Marc Hayek and his team, the incredible proliferation worldwide of mechanical watch appreciation that Revolution has always believed in and worked towards, and most of all because of the friendships made through this shared passion.
Happy belated birthday Revolution. Never stop being awesome.