With an introduction by Blancpain’s CEO, Marc A. Hayek, Baselworld 2015 marked the opening of Blancpain’s special Ocean Commitment Exhibition. Visitors to Baselworld have been able to explore and discover the underwater universe and learn about the tangible and meaningful results that have been achieved by the organizations Blancpain supports. To date more than 2.2 million square kilometers of ocean have been accorded protection and Blancpain is particularly proud of the recent creation of the world’s largest single marine reserve around the Pitcairn Islands which follows upon the 2012 Pristine Seas Expedition with Blancpain.
Blancpain’s historical connection with diving dates to 1953 with the development of the first modern diving watch, the Fifty Fathoms. This now iconic timepiece, not only selected by navies around the world but as well by diving pioneers, has come to define diving watches for the entire industry.
In recognition of its close links to diving and its Fifty Fathoms history, for many years Blancpain has been a fervent supporter of environmental initiatives to preserve and protect the world’s oceans. Its generous financial donations to support the cause have come to be called the “Blancpain Ocean Commitment”. Chief among its beneficiaries have been National Geographic’s Pristine Seas Expeditions and the Gombessa Projects of Laurent Ballesta who attended the opening. A total of nine Pristine Seas expeditions have been undertaken with Blancpain’s support. The governmental decisions to protect more than two million square kilometers of ocean, almost equal to the size of the Mediterranean Sea, have followed upon the efforts of the Pristine Seas.
To call further attention to its Ocean Commitment, Blancpain has unveiled the latest member of the Fifty Fathoms Collection, a special limited edition diving watch, the Ocean Commitment Bathyscaphe Chronographe, which together with many examples of Fifty Fathoms timepieces, is displayed in the exhibit. Limited to but 250 examples, this new timepiece features Blancpain’s latest in-house chronograph movement and a special gray ceramic case and blue dial and bezel. Blancpain has connected the new special limited edition to its global Ocean Commitment by making a charitable contribution for each watch in the limited series. These funds will be added to Blancpain’s ongoing support of the Pristine Seas and Gombessa projects.
The Ocean Commitment Exhibition unites all of these themes. As visitors enter through the portal echoing the design of the Fifty Fathoms bezel, they will discover zones devoted to History; Science and Exploration; Art; and the Ocean Commitment Circle. The History area exhibits illustrate the inventions and milestones in the evolution of the Fifty Fathoms and the achievements of the pioneers and adventurers in underwater exploration. The Science and Environment section presents the work of National Geographic’s Pristine Seas Expeditions and Laurent Ballesta’s Gombessa projects, including special film clips documenting both of their works. Other environmental initiatives supported by Blancpain are also included in this zone.
The Art section features the breathtaking images from some of the world’s finest underwater photographers. The Circle area, with its projection of waves, houses a number elements which span the other zones. The “Circle” draws its name from the Ocean Commitment Circle which is a privileged area of Blancpain’s dedicated website www.blancpain-ocean-commitment.com. Each purchaser of the Ocean Commitment Bathyscaphe automatically is enrolled in the Circle and given special access to news and information on preservation activities. The general public and visitors to the exhibit can take a tour of the public areas of the site and, by navigating a spinning globe, discover reports and photos from Ocean Commitment projects around the world. Additionally a rich selection of photographs are accessible on the site. Also displayed in the Circle area is Blancpain’s authoritative historical treatise “Fifty Fathoms The Dive and Watch History 1953-2013”. This limited edition volume chronicles the twin histories of the Fifty Fathoms and diving.
Following Baselworld, it is planned that the exhibit will tour the world.