Fifty Fathoms Collection
Blancpain launches a new Fifty Fathoms Collection
The Watch Quote™ - April 15th, 2007
The Fifty Fathoms was born from an encounter between Blancpain and two exceptional personalities. In 1952, Captain “Bob” Maloubier and his lieutenant Claude Riffaud were entrusted by the French Ministry of Defence with creating an elite unit of “Combat Divers”.
Upon finding no existing watch capable of withstanding the extreme conditions of underwater missions, the two officers came to Blancpain with an extremely specific set of technical specifications, including the revolutionary unidirectional bezel. Building on their expertise and their visionary spirit, the watchmakers and engineers of the Manufacture developed a mechanical masterpiece that was to assert itself as the archetypal diver’s watch. The original model was launched in 1953; its water resistance was guaranteed to a depth of 50 fathoms (91.45 m), hence its names.
Fifty Fathoms soon earned a reputation for reliability and sturdiness among the special forces of several different countries. It was adopted by specialists in the field of ocean exploration including the famous French Navy’s GERS (Groupe d’Etudes et de Recherches Sous-Marines, or Under-water research group). It also accompanied the crew of Jacques Cousteau and Louis Malle during the shooting of the “World of Silence” movie. In 1997, Blancpain increased the water resistance of the Fifty Fathoms to a depth of 300 metres, and in 2003, the Manufacture celebrated the 50thanniversary of this legendary model by issuing a limited edition with a new black domed scratchproof sapphire bezel.
A full-fledged collection
Today, Blancpain is giving the Fifty Fathoms a new lease on life by creating a full-fledged collection comprising the Automatic model, a Flyback Chronograph version, as well as a fascinating flying Tourbillon version. It represents a means of expressing several forms of expertise cultivated by the Manufacture through variations on a single watch, to the delight of devotees of fine mechanical horology. Blancpain also offers the Fifty Fathoms in red or white gold versions, thereby paying tribute to its precious nature yet without compromising on its sturdiness, water-resistance and reliability.
The same indomptable spirit
As on the limited edition in 2003, the exclusive fastening system enables quick and easy strap change. Moreover, an additional strap in rubber along with the instrument required to change it may be acquired separately to complete this set of gear. Blancpain has even innovated in terms of the packaging, by presenting the Fifty Fathoms in an ultra-sturdy watertight box in high-tech materials, which can be used even in extreme conditions.
The three new models display the main signature features that forged the reputation of the original Fifty Fathoms and of its subsequent enhanced versions. The same professionalism is apparent in the decisive choices, dictated by a wealth of experience in the field of diving, its risks and its imperious necessities. The same water-resistance to 300 metres. The same oversized hour-markers and hands ensuring optimal readability. The same black dial and bezel colour, against which the luminescent indications make a striking contrast. The rotating bezel remains a key element of the watch, with its notched profile facilitating handling and its unidirectional rotating system that avoids any inadvertent extension of the dive times. Crafted from scratch-resistant sapphire, one of the hardest materials in the world, and featuring a slightly cambered raised effect that reduces its vulnerability to shocks, this bezel is distinguished by its luxurious finishing.
Perfectionism bearing the Blancpain signature
Loyal to its tradition of innovation, the Manufacture in Le Brassus has also made a point of re-examining each detail of the Fifty Fathoms in order to optimise its performances and fine-tune its immediately recognisable design. To accentuate its extreme readability in all circumstances, Blancpain has chosen a new shade of luminescent coating applied to the markings on the bezel and to the hands; the trapeze-shaped hour-markers on the sunburst-effect black dial, as well as the graduated scale showing the last fifteen minutes on the bezel, optimise the user-friendliness of this model. The case is equipped with crown guards that reinforce the security surrounding this essential component. Blancpain has also created a rugged new water-resistant strap in rubber-lined black canvas. The pin buckle specially developed for the collection is adorned with a trapeze reflecting the design of the hour-markers.