“Even though the Fifty Fathoms is a renowned product, it’s not comparable with the Omega Speedmaster,” says Muller, who adds that a further hitch is that Blancpain has failed to develop a single, iconic version of the Fifty Fathoms, which instead appears now in multiple deluxe iterations.
“This will raise the overall profile of Blancpain, and it will make the brand more present for the younger generation. Gen Zs are not really aware that there’s a brand called Blancpain—this will bring a fresh wind to a brand that has a dusty image.”
But considering the number of brands within Swatch Group’s stable, including the likes of Tissot and Hamilton, why would Nick Hayek opt to ordain Blancpain with the kind of commercial shot in the arm afforded Omega (sales of Speedmaster Moonwatch, which retails for around $7,000, increased in Omega stores by more than 50 percent) after the first internet-breaking and public-disturbance producing Swatch collab? The answer is twofold. First, quite simply, it seems that Blancpain wanted its shot more than rival in-house brands. Second, a Swatch x Blancpain prototype had already been made.
In contrast to Omega CEO Raynald Aeschlimann’s initial reservations when Hayek first mooted the MoonSwatch, Marc Hayek, Blancpain CEO and Nick’s nephew, was apparently dogged in his determination to be next in line. Also, not only did Marc Hayek have the benefit of seeing precisely how beneficial such a collaboration would be after the MoonSwatch’s unparalleled success, as WIRED exclusively revealed in July 2022, the group had already produced a rough prototype of a Swatch version of a Blancpain.
At the time of Project Galileo’s super-secretive beginnings, the codename given to the internal project only a handful of Swatch Group personnel knew about, both a Bioceramic Speedmaster and Fifty Fathoms were crafted for Nick Hayek’s inspection, as well as a version of Omega’s own dive watch, the Seamaster. Given the public recognition of the Bond-linked brand and the guaranteed feeding frenzy that duly ensued, not to mention the singularly legendary status of Omega’s Moonwatch, it was quite sensibly decided that the Omega should be the launch collaboration brand. However, the option of further collaborations was evidently built in to the project, and after the MoonWatch, Blancpain’s Fifty Fathoms is the next obvious contender.