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Blancpain - Fifty Fathoms: not just for divers

Blancpain Fifty Fathoms: not just for divers

The three new Fifty Fathoms unveiled by Blancpain at Baselworld share grey and black colourways and a date display.

The original Fifty Fathoms watch was designed in 1953 for French navy combat swimmers and launched in Basel the following year. Yes, your arithmetic is correct: the Fifty Fathoms is 65 years young, and has no plans to retire! Today, the watch considered to be the first true diving watch forms the nucleus of Blancpain’s sportiest collection, which brings together timepieces featuring cutting-edge underwater technology, including the 500 Fathoms of 2009 with helium decompression valve and a depth rating of 1000 metres (ten times greater than the first model’s 50 fathoms), and the X Fathoms of 2011, equipped with a mechanical depth meter. But that’s not all. It’s been many years since dive watches broke free of their aquatic element and embraced a new life as urban sports watches. Accordingly, the Fifty Fathoms timepieces have taken on board functions such as chronograph, date, GMT, annual calendar, etc., which are of little use to divers, but are a practical choice for the man (or woman) about town (the collection also includes ladies’ versions).

This year at Baselworld Blancpain unveiled three new grey and black Fifty Fathoms, including two Bathyscaphe models, a variation created in 1956 as a civilian diving watch, but in a smaller size for everyday wear.

Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe Day Date 70s

Fifty Fathoms, pour plonger mais pas seulement

Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe Day Date 70s © Blancpain

As its name suggests, the Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe Day Date 70s is a neo-vintage model that borrows features from Bathyscaphe models of the 1970s. Back in the day, these models introduced aesthetic elements, including Arabic numerals and rectangular hour markers, that were new to contemporary dive watches. This limited edition of 500 pieces, in a 43-mm satin-brushed steel case with a water resistance of 300 metres, comes with a grey sunburst dial typical of the 70s, plus the updated technical features of the newer Fifty Fathoms, such as the unidirectional bezel with ceramic insert, and Liquidmetal® markers. The automatic calibre 1315DD provides a 120-hour power reserve, and displays the day and date in two windows at 3 o’clock. In addition to the Fifty Fathoms’ steel bracelet and sailcloth or NATO strap, this 70s Day Date version also comes with an aged leather strap to emphasise its vintage charm.

Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe Annual Calendar

Fifty Fathoms, pour plonger mais pas seulement

Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe Annual Calendar © Blancpain

The Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe already has a Complete Calendar and Moon Phase version. Now there’s also an annual calendar variant, which shows the day, date and month in three windows at 2, 3 and 4 o’clock, giving an intuitive and logical vertical readout from top to bottom. The new automatic manufacture movement 6054.P, based on the reliable twin-barrelled calibre 1150, provides a 72-hour power reserve, and has been modified to include flat bridges that provide a better view of the movement. As is usual for an annual calendar, it adjusts automatically for every month except February.

Fifty Fathoms Large Date

Fifty Fathoms, pour plonger mais pas seulement

Fifty Fathoms Large Date © Blancpain

Blancpain has borrowed the concept of the instant-change large date with two windows from its Villeret collection, and incorporated it at 6 o’clock in the new Fifty Fathoms Large Date. The two perfectly synchronised date discs switch instantaneously at midnight thanks to an energy-saving mechanism. The 45-mm satin-brushed titanium case topped with a unidirectional rotating bezel in sapphire also has a sapphire caseback to show off the automatic calibre 6918B and its three series-mounted barrels, which provide a power reserve of 120 hours.

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Blancpain is the archetypal Manufacture: with a watchmaking heritage dating back several centuries, it has successfully preserved its watchmaking tradition, whilst welcoming a spirit of innovation.

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