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Blancpain - The watch  of the world of silence

Blancpain The watch of the world of silence

Exceptional Watches

In a movie theater in Cannes, both the public and film professionals found themselves enchanted by the adventures of Captain Jacques Yves Cousteau. It was 1956 and his film, The Silent World, had just been awarded the Palme d’or. A year later, it would be Hollywood’s turn to celebrate him by awarding him an Oscar. On the captain’s wrist during the dive sequences punctuating the film was a watch destined to become a watchmaking legend: the Fifty Fathoms!

Blancpain could doubtless not have dreamed of a finer ambassador for this model launched in 1953. The fact that Jacques-Yves Cousteau and so many other distinguished divers have adopted it is because the Fifty Fathoms is above all a true diving instrument combining precision, performance and style. That is in any case exactly how it was imagined by the three men who presided over its birth. To accompany them in their underwater explorations, Jean-Jacques Fietcher, then CEO of Blancpain, Captain Robert “Bob” Maloubier and Lieutenant Claude Riffaud, founders of the Combat Swimmers unit in France, worked together to develop an underwater timekeeping instrument that was as accurate as it was powerful. It was named Fifty Fathoms in reference to the maximum depth that divers of the era were supposed to reach.

Fifty Fathoms Chronographe Flyback

Case: steel, unidirectional rotating bezel with sapphire insert, water-resistant to 300m
Diameter: 45mm
Movement: mechanical self-winding (Caliber F185)
Functions: hours, minutes, date, small seconds, flyback chronograph
Dial: black
Strap: sail canvas

The watch  of the world of silence

Fifty Fathoms Chronohraphe Flyback © Blancpain

Fifty Fathoms Automatique

Case: satin-finished titanium, sapphire caseback, unidirectional rotating bezel with sapphire insert, water-resistant to 300m
Diameter: 45mm
Movement: mechanical self-winding (Caliber 1315, 120h power reserve)
Functions: hours, minutes, seconds, date
Dial: black
Bracelet: satin-finished titanium

The watch  of the world of silence

Fifty Fathoms Automatique © Blancpain

 

A legend in the Making

The Fifty Fathoms, a favorite of navy corps and diving enthusiasts, has been interpreted through multiple variations over the years, culminating in the 2007 launch of a dedicated collection comprising three contemporary models: an automatic reference with a date display, a flyback chronograph and a flying tourbillon, each available in steel or red gold. Since then, the iconic Fifty Fathoms has continued its adventure through innovative variations characterized by a sporty-chic style building on its rich heritage. The recent Fifty Fathoms Automatique and Fifty Fathoms Grande Date models, two Blancpain staples, are now available with a titanium bracelet enfolding the wrist like an extension of the 45mm titanium case. Blancpain was an early adopter of this material renowned for its robustness and lightness. In the early 1960s, a special series of MIL-SPEC II models intended for the US Navy’s minesweeping teams featured a titanium caseback. Blancpain was probably the first Manufacture to use this material in producing its watches.

The watch  of the world of silence

Fifty Fathoms Torubillon 8 Jours © Blancpain

Offering another example of the avant-garde spirit of the Manufacture, the Bathyscaphe Mokarran Limited Edition marks the introduction of a new green color into the Fifty Fathoms collection. Aesthetically speaking, this 50-piece limited edition features a 43.6mm satin-finished ceramic case that is water-resistant to 300 meters. On the technical side, Caliber 1318 is endowed with a silicon balancespring and a five-day power reserve. Its solid gold oscillating weight is engraved with the effigy of the great hammerhead shark, Sphyrna mokarran. This big-hearted watch has enabled Blancpain to contribute $1,000 per watch sold to protect the fascinating world of the oceans, and more precisely the great hammerhead shark, as part of its Blancpain Ocean Commitment (BOC) program.

The watch  of the world of silence

Laurent Ballesta Expedition © Blancpain

The iconic Fifty Fathoms has continued its adventure through innovative variations characterized by a sporty-chic style building on its rich heritage.

Fifty Fathoms Tourbillon 8 Jours

Case: white gold,unidirectional rotating bezel with sapphire insert, water-resistant to 300m
Diameter: 45mm
Movement: mechanical self-winding (Caliber 25A, 192h power reserve)
Functions: hours, minutes,power reserve indicator, tourbillon
Dial: black
Strap: sail canvas

A Manufacture committed to protecting the oceans

The figures leave no doubt as to the nature of what is at stake: if we do not sustainably change our consumption and waste management habits, the UN predicts that there will be more plastic than fish in the oceans by 2050. The countdown has begun and, in this race against time, Blancpain is taking the lead with the Blancpain Ocean Commitment (BOC) as a key player alongside those who are working to preserve these resources. Among its many passionate actions on behalf of ocean exploration and preservation, Blancpain played a pioneering role by supporting the Pristine Seas initiative from 2011 to 2016 as a founding partner. Pristine Seas expeditions studied and filmed rare and unspoiled ocean regions with the aim of raising awareness as well as encouraging governments and local communities to commit to their preservation. The tangible results include the effective safeguarding of several marine areas across the United States, Chile, Costa Rica, French Polynesia, the Seychelles and Greenlan.

The watch  of the world of silence

Laurent Ballesta Expedition © Blancpain

Studying, Understanding and Raising Awareness

In parallel, Blancpain has been involved since 2013 with Laurent Ballesta in his Gombessa project dedicated to the study of various marine creatures and phenomena that are among the rarest and most difficult to observe. During their five expeditions, Laurent Ballesta and his team have managed to reach extreme depths and produce exceptional research, photographs and films. From the Indian Ocean in search of the prehistoric coelacanth fish, to French Polynesia to observe the reproduction of camouflage groupers or to examine the hunting behavior of some 700 grey reef sharks, as well as the Antarctic and the Mediterranean, the Gombessa project has helped to better understand, illustrate and publicize underwater riches among a wide audience. Awareness-raising is indeed a crucial issue in changing behavior. For example, the “Oceans” underwater photography exhibition presented in 2013 at the United Nations headquarters in New York as part of World Oceans Day proved a real success, attracting nearly 100,000 visitors. Since 2015, Blancpain has been supporting this initiative and recently took a further step by becoming the presenting partner of the United Nations World Oceans Day 2021.

The watch  of the world of silence

Gianluca Genoni © Blancpain

In addition to these major campaigns, there are numerous initiatives aimed at protecting the oceans, such as the World Ocean Summit, of which Blancpain has been a founding partner since 2012. In 2018, the company also initiated an experimental coral restoration project on the island of Fregate, in collaboration with Fregate Island Private and Coralive.org. In 2020, the Manufacture supported the first mission of the environmental association Mokarran Protection Society with the objective of observing the great hammerhead shark in the wild in order to identify and survey its population in Polynesian waters. In the same year, Oceana, the largest international organization solely dedicated to ocean conservation, announced its association with Blancpain as its exclusive watchmaking partner for a three-year period. These are all examples of Blancpain’s passionate engagement in this cause, which, through the Blancpain Ocean Commitment, has helped to extend the surface area of protected marine areas around the world by more than four million square kilometers.

The watch  of the world of silence

Lurent Ballesta Expedition © Blancpain

Bathyscaphe Mokarran Limited Edition

Case: satin-brushed black ceramic, unidirectional rotating bezel with green ceramic insert, waterresistant to 300m
Diameter: 43.60mm
Movement: mechanical self-winding (Caliber 1318, 120h power reserve)
Functions: hours, minutes, seconds
Dial: green
Strap: NATO
Limited Edition of 50

 

The watch  of the world of silence

Lurent Ballesta Expedition © Blancpain

 As a World Tempus reader, we are delighted to offer you the latest digital version of this GMT XXL magazine that you can download here. Happy reading!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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