One of the most emblematic of all diving watches, the Fifty Fathoms that turned 60 in 2013 resurfaces with a new edition.
Fans of diving watches will of course be intimately familiar with the story of the Bathyscaphe watches of Blancpain. In 1953, the French navy needed a new watch for an elite team of divers, but struggled to find a company that really understood its requirements, and the kind of conditions that the watch would need to perform under. The then-CEO of Blancpain, Jean-Jacques Fiechter, happened to be a passionate diver, and it was under his steer that a suitable watch for the elite divers was eventually developed. Though it was not made accessible to retailers, it is nonetheless considered by many to be the archetypal diving watch. It not only encapsulates Blancpain’s enduring commitment to the oceans (the brand is active in marine conservation, supporting oceanographers, ocean photographers and conservationists in their efforts to document and preserve ocean habitats) but also stands as an icon in its own right – features such as high readability in low light and water resistance to 300 metres have become standard in diving watches today, and the bar was set with the Fifty Fathoms.
The new Fifty Fathoms was released in 2013 to mark the 60th anniversary of the model. Its design was a clear tribute to the original; all Fifty Fathoms models feature the signature elements of the original; like any self respecting diving watch, each model is equipped with a unidirectional bezel rotating counter-clockwise by small notches.
In 2017, a 38mm edition in ‘abyss blue’ is being introduced. The vintage-inspired look is still there, with traditional contours, blue ceramic insert and hours markers in Liquidmetal, an alloy known for its long-term stability. The watch is equipped with two series-coupled barrels ensuring a 100-hour power reserve while guaranteeing constant energy; with the calibre visible through the caseback, a view of the decorated oscillating weight is also possible, along with the sculpted Blancpain logo. A contemporary addition is the silicon balance-spring that features several advantages: low density reducing its weight, greater shock resistance, as well as imperviousness to magnetic fields.
Calibre 1150 with two series-coupled barrels ensuring a 100-hour power reserve.
Steel, sapphire crystal caseback.