Monday, 21 August 2017

Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Tribute Dive Watch

Back in my watch collecting days I nearly bought an unusual but handsome diving watch which, like many of the best watches, had a highly practical and military background. It was a Blancpain Fifty Fathoms (see image below). Those of you with a nautical background will know that a fathom is a naval measurement of depth and is six feet, so fifty fathoms is 300 feet, or just under 100 metres, the depth to which the watch could be dived.

The original Blancpain Fifty Fathoms on a military strap

Dating originally to the early fifties, the Fifty Fathoms was later adopted by the French and US military who demanded a water tightness indicator on the dial. This is the two-part circle at the bottom of the dial which changes colour if water gets into the watch case. This became a well-known characteristic of the watch and has been reproduced on the military-style tribute watch which Blancpain has launched.

In common with many other brands, Blancpain has delved into its archives and produced a tribute to the original watch. I'm pleased to say that they've kept the watch to a reasonable size, 40mm, roughly the size of the original, rather than making it too large (image below).

The Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Tribute

While the proportions of dial to bezel are slightly different to the original, the tribute retains the minimalist and easily legible nature of the original. Watches like this which are designed for a practical purpose generally result in attractive and uncluttered designs. Like the original, the tribute has an automatic movement (Blancpain realised in the early fifties that hand-winding a watch compromises water resistance) which is made in-house and is water resistant to 300 metres (as opposed to the original's 300 feet).

On inspection, it's a beautifully made and robust watch. It also has a transparent case back to enable you to see the movement; a fascinating part of any watch and usually hidden from sight. It's available on a NATO strap (true to its military origin), steel bracelet or sailcloth strap. A watch that would look good with casual or businesswear, on the beach or in the board room. It's available in a limited run of 500 priced at £10,310. See Blancpain for more information.

For an excellent history of the original watch, click here
This feature is unsponsored.

1 comment:

Blacpain Fan said...

Blancpain watches have been underestimated on their category comparing to other brands. Personally speaking I find them very minimal and classy. It was a gift of my father and I love it.

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