News February 2008

Determined to perpetuate the glorious history of first modern diver’s watch (1953), Blancpain, the Manufacture in le Brassus, unveils a brand-new Fifty Fathoms Automatique watch imbued with the brand’s trademark understated elegance. Making a striking contrast with its black predecessors, it radiantly reveals its sporting assets through an immaculate white exterior blending tradition and innovation with pure, sleek lines.

Fifty Fathoms Automatique white dial

Innovation enjoys a free hand with the new Fifty Fathoms

The Watch Quote™ - February 9th, 2008

Blancpain Sport, “Fifty Fathoms Automatique”, date and seconds-hand, white dial, unidirectional bezel, self-winding

In keeping with its tradition of innovation, Blancpain has interpreted the instantly recognisable design of the Fifty Fathoms in the emblematic colour of purity. Crafted in scratch-resistant sapphire, the white unidirectional rotating bezel avoids any risk of accidentally prolonging the dive time, while its slightly raised and ratcheted design helps to limit any potential shocks. The 45 mm-diameter steel case is equipped with crown guards that reinforce security around this essential component. Against a matt white dial background, the white shade of the luminescent coating applied to trapeze-shaped hour- markers and hands in rhodium-plated gold, as well as the pearly grey Luminova of the markings on the bezel, reveal their fluorescent green colour only in the darkness of the ocean depths.

This new steel Fifty Fathoms Automatique is powered by self-winding Calibre 1315, an exclusive Blancpain mechanical movement conceived and developed for watches with a resolutely sporting vocation. Stemming from a lengthy quest for simplicity, accuracy and performances, Calibre 1315 is equipped with a sturdy glucydur balance fitted with square-headed gold micrometric regulating screws and designed to prevent any impacts from disturbing the smooth running of the watch, thus ensuring peerless accuracy and rating efficiency. Three series-coupled barrels guarantee a 5-day power reserve, while providing a constant supply of energy at all times.

The new Fifty Fathoms Automatique is equipped with a sapphire crystal case back revealing the beauty and the complexity of its 222-part movement, yet without compromising its water resistance to 300 metres. Self-winding Calibre 1315 features finishing worthy of the grand watchmaking traditions: hand- drawn file strokes, bevelling, circular graining, circular satin brushing... The large rubies are driven directly into the bridges and plates so as to preserve the visual magic of traditional movements. The oscillating weight specially designed for this model is engraved with a nautilus motif. Blancpain has also developed a sturdy, sporty and water-resistant strap complete with pin buckle and made from rubber-lined white sail canvas.

The Fifty Fathoms still has plenty of surprises in store for admirers, since over the coming seasons it will appear decked out in new colours and luxurious finishes, to the delight of devotees of fine mechanical watchmaking.

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A brief historical reminder

Born in 1953 from the encounter between Blancpain and two officers – Captain “Bob” Maloubier and his lieutenant Claude Riffaud, commissioned by the French Ministry of Defence to create an elite unit of “Combat Divers” – the Fifty Fathoms earned its stripes by withstanding the extreme conditions of military underwater missions. The water resistance of the original, guaranteed to a depth of 50 fathoms (91.45 metres) lent its name to this mechanical masterpiece that soon earned a reputation for reliability and sturdiness and asserted itself as the archetypal modern diver’s watch.

In 2007, Blancpain presented an entire collection perpetuating the DNA of this iconic timekeeping instrument. In addition to the Automatique model, it also comprises a flyback chronograph version as well as a fascinating flying tourbillon. All three are water-resistant to 300 metres and combine black dials, bezels and straps with 45 mm-diameter cases in steel, red gold or white gold.
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