New Swatch X Blancpain – A Fathomable Brand Betrayal

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Swatch X Blancpain Fifty Fathoms? A bioceramic cheap mechanical or quartz-powered copy of the legendary diving watch (first edition above), currently selling for $14k and up? Yup. watchpro.com’s Rob Corder explains…

“Swatch and Omega’s partnership to create the MoonSwatch in 2022 was heralded as one of the greatest marketing stunts of the decade among watch industry pundits…

“A post on Swatch’s Instagram overnight shows the five great oceans of the world with Swatch x Blancpain and the date of September 9.”

Regular TTAW readers will know that I am that guy: the sole pundit who dared to expose the Emperor’s New MoonSwatch. A brand-defiling abomination. A slap in the face of every OMEGA Moonwatch buyer, ever.

A watch that created an enormous cash infusion for a publicly traded conglomerate, demonstrating what happens when executives bank millions from the company’s share price and profit sharing.

And now the Swatch Group – which owns OMEGA and Blancpain – is set to pimp the family jewels to arrivistes who value snob appeal over… anything else.

Look at the Blancpain Fifty Fathoms 227-piece, magnificently thin 1135 automatic movement – the unimpeachable evolution of a superb designed and meticulously assembled temporal engine, capable of withstanding water pressure to 300m.

Get ready to hear the interminable ticking of the Swatch X Blancpain, the exact same design powered by a cheap ass, mass-produced mechanical caliber that may or may not be suitable for snorkeling.

Not quartz? If the company wants to keep faith Jean-Claude Biver 1982 quote (upon rescuing the company from the Quartz Crisis): “There has never been a quartz Blancpain watch and there never will be”?

Unless there is.

Regardless, Swatch is about to unleash what I can only call an official fake Blancpain Fifty Fathoms, alienating all the buyers who’ve supported Blancpain over the years (including your author), enamored by the watchmaker’s history of craftsmanship.

(courtesy worldkings.org)

We’re talking about the world’s oldest continuous watch brand, founded in 1735 by Jehan-Jacques Blancpain in the village of Villeret, Switzerland.

A company that’s remained family-owned for almost 200 years. Including the ultra-thin construction and modifications (to the escapement) made in 1815 by Frédéric-Louis Blancpain, the grandson of the founder.

There’s no nice way to put it: Mssr. Blancpain and his watchmaking descendants are all rolling in their graves at the prospect of a cheapened version of their noble timepieces. And not just ONE unfathomable copy.

“In common with Omega’s Speedmaster, there have been myriad version of the Fifty Fathoms over the decades, providing a deep pool of design options that Swatch might draw on; one for each of the five oceans featured in its Instagram post, perhaps.”

Count on it. But Swatch shouldn’t count on the same lines-out-the-door for the Swatch X Blancpain created by MoonSwatch mania. Only a small percentage of the financially-challenged ignorami who bought the MoonSwatch will know what a Fifty Fathoms is.

Yes, there might be a lemming-like rush to have what other “watch people” want, but I predict demand will recede as fast as it begins. Leaving Blancpain defiled by the company that couldn’t give a damn about authenticity when there are piles of cash to be had.

Shame.

29 COMMENTS

  1. Wow, you’re an absolute moron. I’ll be sure to never visit your trash site again. Such a garbage piece of “journalism.”

      • It’s literally not a quartz movement? I’m not going to tell you how to feel, and I get why some may not like this watch but it is absurd to me to think that this would “alienate” someone from a brand they love. I will never understand people that jump ship over something that has precisely zero effect on their current affairs. Just don’t buy it and enjoy your “real” Blancpains. What is the point of pretending you care about the history of the brand if a single watch that you don’t particularly enjoy, entirely trumps the heritage and prestige of “the world’s oldest continuous watch brand”? Pretty incredible that a plastic watch can have a bigger impact on you than literal decades of craftsmanship you are, sorry *were “enamored” by

      • You seem to not understand how many people started to be interested about the watch word thanks to these collabs. You are the snob here.

      • Well you already got at least 2 things wrong (the Scuba Fifty Fathoms is not quartz, and there were multi hour lines at every Swatch location on launch day yesterday, and there will continue to be for a while if not forever), but mainly you just sound like a cantankerous boomer schmuck who hates fun.

    • phew, I did not think anyone in the planet had such strong feelings about the blancpain brand anymore. as sad a state of affairs as it is, blancpain s probably the single most mismanaged brand asset of the swatch group and has gone precisely nowhere during the last 20 years that I have been actively following the brand.
      while i do not particularly like the swatch fifty fathoms models or would even consider buying one, I appreciate that there is a signal to the outside world that blancpain even exists. the fact that this is the first blancpain marketing campaign in ages that is reaching anyone under 50, and probably at net zero expense for the brand, is an added bonus.

  2. This was a weird collaboration choice. The Omega collaboration made sense, but looking at the price and the specs of the Blancpain Swatch collab, Chinese mushroom brands offer homages with equal or better specs for a fraction of the price.

  3. Have to agree with you. But, look at the bright side – this makes it easier to scratch Omega and Blancpain off my list.

  4. I completely agree with you. In fact the Fifty Fathoms is a watch I have aspired to own for some time, but as of this release I am over Blancpain and will stick with my Tudors and Seikos.

    • But now many other people will know that this brand even exists… it is very smart move to re introduce brand that was sleeping for last 20 years… and focused on 50 years old fat folks…

  5. Agree with most of what is written and I hate the fact that this is essentially a crap watch, with designed in obsolescence – there will be hundreds of thousands filling landfill within a few years.

    As for the Blancpain brand as a watch enthusiast I don’t like what Swatch are doing to the brand and I’m sure it will reduce the attraction of the brand to a small circle of watch enthusiasts, but it will make a far larger group of people aware of a watch brand and potential future sales – existing watch enthusiasts may just be worthwhile collateral damage

  6. Boy.

    I mean, it’s a little, ah…sure. I don’t know a single person who can afford a 14k watch. That like, pays my mortgage for about five months. I’ve got a wife and a kid on the way: even making 130k a year: that’s not Blancpain money.

    This model? I could afford, but I won’t buy. Don’t much care for the swatch ethos of disposability.

    But: Perhaps having a more accessible model will provide a doorway for more folks to learn about blancpain history…something you clearly have an investment in.

    Honestly, though, this is capitalism. No craft is sacred. It’s a for-profit business at the end of the day. Yes, skill, craft, lore is important and interesting, but our system only uses these ideas to market a product: to get your money.

    Exclusivity is another idea. I’m less keen on this one: it’s essentially a con. In the markets, exclusivity is always transient and temporary state…it is an added tax the seller convinces the buyer to pay for the privilege of feeling like they’re part of a unique club of special people who just so happened to pay the “I’m special” tax.

    It’s all part of how the price of the product is calculated. As soon as exclusivity pays less than just making a bunch and rolling around in the profits, the profits will win.

    The original still exists. It is unmarred by the appearance of a brand collab in the marketplace: the craftsmanship and skill and lore behind the piece are undiluted.

    It’s just, and Im trying to understand here…some folks might walk around with something that is similar to the “lore” watch? Perhaps you might experience the horror of someone mistaking your Blancpain for a Swatch?

    What I’m getting at here…is that this comes off remarkably …eh…elitist? Snobby?

    Look…I don’t mean to be rude. I undetstand passionately following a hobby and deriving intense personal meaning from it. But this really reads like “let them eat cake…except dont…cause it’s my cake. And pie. And I own the bakery. We’re closed. Go away”

    Hard to relate to it, honestly.

  7. Yeah these diminish the original watches in the same way that kids’ ride-on toy cars diminish real Lamborghinis.

    “A slap in the face of every Moonwatch buyer”

    Indeed. If only the Moonswatch was available before I bought my Speedy! I could have bought the cheap one and saved thousands as these are a perfect stand-in!

    What utterly absurd reasoning.

    Oh and I almost forgot that Swatch only made these to make more money, even though they are already a big company. And wait till you hear about Santa.

  8. It ts a bad move from omega . They already ” ruined” the image of the speedmaster . It is like if Rolex starts making cheap watches with casio movements.

  9. Wow… You might be laying it on a little thick, here. It’s a Swatch. Are you afraid that somebody might mistake your Blancpain for the Swatch, depriving you of your horological status? It’s a novelty item. And I’m not sure why you have such a strong opinion about how companies make money. They aren’t doing anything nefarious or illegal. In fact, they are potentially introducing new customers to the idea of watches beyond just telling time. And maybe the money they generate will be used, at least in part, to develop new and improved versions of the watches you love. And don’t forget that it was Swatch who saved the a$$’s of may of these historically significant brands. Yours was a bad take and an obvious piece of writing. Simple, thoughtless, and disposable, unlike the watches you claim to love.

  10. The abbreviation of Monsieur is ‘M.’, not ‘Mssr.’.

    Also, ‘superbly’, not ‘superb’, seventh paragraph.

    You’re confusing the audience with your blathering about quartz. The watch in question is mechanical.

    Check your work before hitting send, bruv.

  11. You’re so overdramatic its pathetic. No one is mistaking a swatch for a Blancpain. It’s a toy, what’s the big deal?

    All this will do is bring awareness to the brand and sell more of your precious over priced luxury watches, which is what you pretentious snob types want, right?

    At the end of the day this is a business decision meant to fight back against “rep” watches (which are fakes for the clueless out there), except the rep watches seem to have a similar quality as the original without the Veblen tax.

    People enjoy all types of watches, even fully automated mechanical ones. Was there a point in your life where you just enjoyed watches instead of gatekeeping?

    Don’t bother replying, I won’t read it. I don’t know what google algorithm brought me to your garbage website anyway.

  12. Yeah these diminish the original watches in the same way that kids’ ride-on toy cars diminish real Lamborghinis.

    “A slap in the face of every Moonwatch buyer”

    Indeed! If only these were available when I bought my Speedy! I could have saved a lot of money by buying the cheap one, which is obviously a perfect stand-in.

    What utterly absured reasoning.

    Oh and let’s not forget that Swatch only did this to make money (something that is apparently made even more despicable by the fact that Swatch is a large company). And wait till you hear about Santa.

  13. Crazy how upset watch snobs get about a brand trying to bring insanely expensive brands to the average joes.

    I understand the profit side, but this is a net good for people that want to enjoy a nice watch without paying a house deposit because of how cooked the market is right now.

  14. Totally agree on these money grab exercises.. the fifty fathoms was one of the watches that I’ve been eyeing on because of its history.. .. “was” because i definitely not buying one after this so called collaboration!

  15. I feel sorry for those who are so caught up in the horticulture hobby that they can’t appreciate the sense of fun that Swatch is bringing with these releases. And btw, the lines already have spoken for themselves.

  16. I swear, the outrage expressed by some of these brand whores is simply hilarious to read. Some of these editorials, like this one, are written by authors that are clearly well versed, and accomplished writers.
    The unbridled rage that I picture in my head as I read through articles and opinion pieces about this subject keeps me so engaged.
    it’s like someone has told a child that their puppy is ugly… the child would surely get very angry at such a comment, but in the grand scheme of things cannot do anything about their ugly puppy, nor change the mind of the person making the comment. I can picture a child just lashing out with insults that make no sense in an attempt to defend the honour of their puppy.
    in the grand scheme of things, and if the child is able to understand logic, it doesn’t matter whether their puppy is ugly or not, and it doesn’t matter what other people think of their puppy.. what is important is whether the child actually loves their puppy.
    I have a feeling these people that are sooooo outraged and insulted that their storied brand would ever stoop to such a level that a common pauper might actually believe they are worthy of owning a watch of their own.

    guys, let’s get one thing straight, this swatch partnership does not change the quality or craftsmanship of your previous purchase of blancpain or omega.. nor will it change their future offerings. if it’s value you’re worried about, I doubt your previous purchases will lose anything because of this.. and if they do lose value because of a partnership that produced a series of swatch sold watches, then the only people to blame would be all of the current elite naysayers that are yapping on about “betrayal” and other unsubstantiated claims of greed from the top execs.
    For god sakes, is your loyalty and support for a watch company on such weak ground that you all of a sudden would make such grandiose claims? Get a grip. For real, your continued outrage is hilarious. This is what is making your blood boil? something that doesn’t even affect you? … something that you won’t even buy yourself?? something that you mistakingly are laying claim to? well, you don’t own the brand. And maybe your dog is ugly.. but what are you going to do about it… no really, what CAN you do if your dog is ugly..? maybe get rid of the dog if that’s all you care about. but if that dog had other value and you love that dog, who cares if it’s ugly…

  17. I loved this article and found the comments hilarious–and I both 1) own a “real” BP diver (chronograph) and 2) waited in line to get a orange Scuba.

    1. It’s great that this article exists and people actually express opinions, the rest of the watch world is boring af to read.

    2. I agree BP is a sleeper and is grossly mismanaged. I assume they don’t release a smaller FF because it will undermine sales of the bathyscaphe? But I’m not sure if anyone buys the bathyscaphe, so not convinced that makes sense either.
    The no-complication bathyscaphe is ugly and boring, I think they should re-release it to more closely mirror the FF and that will catapult them into relevance. But this is so obvious/such a commonly held view that it makes me wonder what I’m missing. Does BP manage to sell a decent number of these in China and we don’t talk about it here? Or does the manufacture have no ability to scale up production and doesn’t want to take the financial risk?

    3. The swatch is fine. Nobody is falling for this as a replacement, and it’s lots of fun. I’m not going to spend five figures on a baby blue or orange watch, so this was a great opportunity for me. A ton of people I know think it’s disgusting to spend $1000+ on a watch. This is for them. A ton of others like me would like to buy a fun beater in a bizarre color. We are all better off now, and Swatch happily took our money. Good for capitalism!

    Is it overpriced for a plastic mediocre watch? Yes, but it’s well executed for what it is. The system 51 is a technological marvel (total automation) and as a hermetically sealed movement I’ve heard people who have had them last for a decade +. If you wear it constantly it will break, but it will sure as hell last longer than your iPhone/laptop.

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