blancpain 50 fathoms

The Blancpain Fifty Fathoms is a diving watch in its truest form, and arguably also the first specifically made for the task. Today we’ll go a bit deeper (pun intended) into how the Blancpain Fifty Fathoms came to be, and how it has evolved over more than half a century.

The Fifty Fathoms can now function perfectly up to 30 bar. The automatic caliber 1315, introduced in 2007, powers the watch. It’s based on the manually wound movement 13R0, in use since 2006. Similar to the 1315, the 13R0 is only found in Blancpain watches. The Blancpain Fifty Fathoms is known to be the first modern diver’s watch. The vintage Fifty Fathoms dive watch was first introduced in 1953. Today, the most popular Blancpain 50 Fathoms watch is the Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe, a tribute to the deep-sea submersible.

The Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Replica collection epitomizes Blancpain’s passion and zeal for the underwater world. History of Blancpain Fifthy Fathoms. Jehan-Jacques Blancpain perceived the potential in watchmaking, a completely new business activity. Since the foundation of Blancpain in 1735, their watches enjoyed great success from the earliest years.

Among dive watches, few are as known a quantity as the Blancpain Fifty Fathoms. One of, if not the original, dive watches to hit the market back in 1953, the Fifty Fathoms’s core design has seen nearly endless iterations into a line of watches that spans a variety of sizes, colors, and complications (there are more than 80 versions in the current range).

The Blancpain was found to be the most attractive option, being praised for its strap design, cost versus the Rolex (55.50 USD versus 90 USD for the Submariner), ease with which the bezel can be rotated, and its matte case finish, due to the fact that the polished surfaces of the Enicar and Sub could attract sharks and barracuda in tropical waters.

The Blancpain Fifty Fathoms is a diving watch in its truest form, and arguably also the first specifically made for the task. Today we’ll go a bit deeper (pun intended) into how the Blancpain Fifty Fathoms came to be, and how it has evolved over more than half a century.

In 1952, when the French Ministry of Defence created the first unit of combat swimmers, or frogmen, Captain Robert Maloubier and Lieutenant Claude Riffaud had the difficult task of finding equipment good enough to survive the harsh conditions a combat swimmer would often find themselves in. They found compasses, depth gauges and watches. But they soon realized the watches that already existed were not tough enough for the task. So they set out to find a manufacture that would produce the watch they were looking for. Maloubier had already drawn up a design. A huge (for its time) 42mm watch with big, luminous markers and a rotating outer bezel. But in a time where the watch market was largely dominated by dress watches, finding someone who was willing to produce this monster of a watch would turn out to be a difficult task.

Finally, they got in contact with Blancpain, whose CEO Jean-Jaques Fiechter was an avid diver. He agreed to produce their watch. The first model was finished in 1953 and presented to the public in Basel the following year. The watch proved to be very robust and reliable and many other special forces soon began using it, among them the Spanish, Israeli, American, German and even Norwegian special forces. But military forces were not the only ones to use this watch. The two main suppliers of the Fifty Fathoms were Spirotechnique and Aqualung. Sprirotechnique was the official supplier of equipment for the French naval forces. Aqualung however was a supplier of diving gear, for civilians. Aqualung was the name of Jaques Cousteau’s line of diving equipment, and the Blancpain watches that were sold in his shop bore the name “Aqualung” on the dial. From early 1950 to 1970, more than 20 different variations of the Blancpain Fifty Fathoms were made. Among them is the “No radiation” dial, this one is rather interesting.

One of the main criteria for the Fifty Fathoms was that it had to have a luminous dial. It was very important that even when the pressure around you reached fifty fathoms, you had to be able to read the dial. To achieve this, they had to have luminous hour markers and hands. In the military version, they used radium and Promethium 147 which were highly radioactive. The military versions even had an inscription on the back that read “DANGER. IF FOUND RETURN TO NEAREST MILITARY FACILITY”. Now this was during the cold war, and people were very paranoid about nuclear isotopes, naturally, they couldn’t use them in their watches. So for the civilian version, they made a no radiation dial. These watches used tritium instead of radium, and while tritium is still radioactive, it’s not nearly as radioactive as radium. To highlight this fact, Blancpain decided to put a huge radiation symbol with a red “X” through it. This mark was placed just above 6 o´clock.

In the mid 1950’s, Lip S.A, who was huge brand for luxury watches in France decided they wanted to distribute the Fifty Fathoms, despite turning down the idea in 1952 and calling the design “a portable clock without any future”. Luckily for Lip their CEO, Fred Lip, was very close to the upper management at Blancpain, and Lip distributed the watches as “Lip Blancpain”. Even Abercrombie, who at the time was a distributor of camping and outdoor sports wear, had their own Fifty Fathoms watches that they sold. The Blancpain Fifty Fathoms was, unlike today, not a watch you’d find in a fancy jewellery store. In fact, just like the Rolex Submariner, they were not considered luxury items at all. Having an expensive tool watch at the time can be compared with having an expensive and fancy drill today. This is why the blancpain fifty fathoms bathyscaphe was only sold in diving and outdoor gear retailers.

Quite possibly the rarest of the Blancpain Fifty Fathoms is the Fifty Fathoms that does not even carry the name Blancpain on the dial. In the 1960’s, when the American naval forces wanted to get a diving watch, they were under a very strict “Buy American” policy, so they couldn’t just import a watch from Switzerland. But one man was pushing hard to get the Fifty Fathoms to America. Allen Tornek, who had met Jean-Jacques Fiechter through their mutual passion for diving, rebranded the watches “Blancpain-Tornek” and “Tornek-Rayville” and became the official supplier for watches to the American navy. Only around 1000 watches branded “Rayville Tornek” were made, and most of them were destroyed by the Navy at the end of their service, so these are very rare today.

Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe

The Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe was created when a need was seen for a version of the trailblazing diver that would be somewhat more suitable for daily wear. It immediately offered a smaller, stylish alternative to the conventional Fifty Fathoms, and to this day, it is the version that has been most adapted.

The Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe took its first dive to depths of the sea in the late 1950s, with Swiss manufacturer Blancpain the genius behind the watch. The brand is one example of high-quality workmanship in watchmaking. The deep sea was shrouded in mystery up until the 1950s when Swiss scientist Auguste Piccard reached record-breaking depths in his bathyscaphe Trieste.

Six years after the return of the Fifty Fathoms, Blancpain re-introduced the Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe line in 2013. The Bathyscaphe line of watches was first introduced in 1956 as the smaller brother to the regular model. The idea was to offer a smaller diameter divers’ watch in order to reach a larger audience of recreational divers.

After four years of development, Blancpain introduced the new Fifty Fathoms in 2007. And with a growing number of references, it has been a successful part of the collection ever since. The Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe. Six years after the return of the Fifty Fathoms, Blancpain re-introduced the Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe line in 2013.

The Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe has always seemed to be the “affordable” Blancpain, the one you’d get if you can’t quite stomach the asking price of the big boy with the domed sapphire bezel. However, after playing around with a calendar version in their Bond Street boutique in London, I felt my views on it had changed.

Fifty Fathoms limited editions The second blog post in the new series of covering the watches and photography of fellow Blancpain enthusiasts features three limited Fifty Fathoms timepieces, the Bathyscaphe Chronographe Ocean Commitment I, the FF Ocean Commitment III and the Fifty Fathoms Barakuda.

The dot markers and syringe hands, however, add a nice dose of vintage Blancpain style. Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe. A straightforward dive watch with a date window at 4:30, this is a no-fuss diver that’s going to look perfect with a suit or jeans-n-tee. The 1315 in-house movement is one of Blancpain’s staples.

When Blancpain presented the Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe Day Date 70s at Baselworld 2018, it followed a very long tradition of Fifty Fathoms timepieces. The first Bathyscaphe was introduced in 2013, and it was an intriguing combination of modern tech savvy and inspiration from vintage elements.

Buy Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe 43mm online. Watches World offers a wide selection of luxury watches for mens and ladies.