As Blancpain celebrates its 70th anniversary, it presents the third act of the legendary timepiece Fifty Fathoms. Named Fifty Fathoms 70th Anniversary Act 3, this limited-edition model, comprising just 555 pieces, pays homage to the MIL-SPEC model that was once adopted by the main armed forces of the time.
The story behind the creation of the Fifty Fathoms is a remarkable one, starting with Jean-Jacques Fiechter, the co-CEO of Blancpain and an avid diver. Fiechter’s near-disastrous experience while diving in Cannes, France, where he ran out of air, inspired him to develop the world’s first true diver’s watch. The 1953 model introduced groundbreaking features such as self-winding mechanics, resistance to magnetism, water resistance of at least 10 bar, and XXL luminescent hour-markers for improved legibility, making it a watch tailored for deep-sea exploration.
Blancpain patented several innovations, including a double watertight crown seal, a caseback sealing system to prevent O-ring distortion, and a lockable rotating bezel. These innovations made the Fifty Fathoms the preferred choice of combat divers in various armed forces, solidifying its status as the archetype of diving watches. In the 1950s, Blancpain further enhanced safety with the development of a moisture indicator, which confirmed a watch’s integrity against moisture damage. The US Navy recognized the Fifty Fathoms as meeting their stringent criteria, establishing it as their watch of choice. Some rare variants of the MIL-SPEC model with the moisture indicator are now highly sought-after collector’s items.
The Fifty Fathoms 70th Anniversary Act 3 is a clear homage to its MIL-SPEC predecessor. It features a matte black dial adorned with vintage Super-LumiNova®-enhanced moisture indicator and hour-markers. The unidirectional rotating bezel, with a black ceramic insert featuring a vintage Super-LumiNova® diving scale, adds to its aesthetic appeal. The two-tone NATO strap, made from recycled fishing nets, maintains the color code of the original timepiece.
However, what truly sets this anniversary model apart is the material used for its case. While the original MIL-SPEC was made of German silver, the Act 3 model boasts a 9K Bronze Gold case. This patented alloy combines gold, copper, silver, palladium, and gallium to offer a unique pink hue and increased durability. Unlike traditional bronze, this alloy prevents oxidation, ensuring a longer lifespan and allowing it to be worn directly against the skin.
Inside the 9K Bronze Gold case lies the 1154.P2 movement, water-resistant to 30 bar and maintaining the original 41.30 mm diameter. The twin barrel design provides an impressive 100-hour power reserve, and a silicon balance-spring ensures resistance to magnetism. For the first time, Blancpain introduces a 1000-gauss version of its movement, thanks to exclusive alloys used in the escapement.
Unlike the original version, where the movement was concealed in a soft iron cage to resist magnetic fields, the Fifty Fathoms 70th Anniversary Act 3 proudly displays its non-magnetic spiral through a sapphire crystal caseback. The enlarged bridges, decorated in a period-inspired style, and the snail-shaped finish of the oscillating weight add to the watch’s vintage charm. The engraved vintage logotype in 18K gold is the finishing touch to its classic appearance.
This commemorative timepiece is issued in a limited edition of 555 pieces, presented in a box inspired by a historic camera housing, highlighting Blancpain’s commitment to ocean protection initiatives. As underwater photography blossomed alongside the diver’s watch, this edition bridges two eras, continuing to write the history of the world’s first true diver’s watch.
Be the first to leave a review.