Tapping into its own dive watch heritage, Blancpain releases the new limited-edition Fifty Fathoms timepiece.
Lots of very important things happened in 1953. The US and North Korea signed their armistice, ending the active conflict of the Korean War; Joe Starlin died, ending a tyrannical reign of the Soviet Union; the late Queen Elizabeth II is crowned; and Edmund Hilary and Tenzing Norgay are the first to summit Everest. It was also the year Blancpain introduced the first modern diver’s watch, the Fifty Fathoms. Now, 70 years after its release, the Swiss watch brand has created a modern homage to that pivotal timepiece.
Of course, watch lovers will note that this isn’t the first time the Fifty Fathoms has had a revisit. Twenty years ago, Blancpain’s newly appointed CEO Marc A. Hayek, discovered the Fifty Fathoms lying dormant in the Brand’s archives. An avid scuba diver himself since his youth, he immediately fell under the spell of this exceptional watch and decided to give it a new lease on life. The rebirth of the Fifty Fathoms, 50 years after the original was released, was one of the first projects he undertook upon his arrival at Blancpain.
Composed of three 70-piece limited series, the latest release, marking 70 years since the original graced the wrists of divers around the globe, makes a nod to the 2003 “renaissance” model, with each of the three series dedicated to a region of the world – EMEA, Asia-Pacific, the Americas – and bearing a number from I to III on the dial.
The dial is black with a sunburst motif and features vintage-look luminescent hands and block-type hour- markers. The watch case, topped by the famous unidirectional bezel with a domed sapphire inlay, is made of polished steel and, for the first time, measures 42 mm.
By opting for a new 42 mm diameter, Blancpain is paying tribute to the 1953 model while at the same time responding to the demands of Fifty Fathoms enthusiasts keen to enjoy all the advantages of the peerless Calibre 1315 in a concentrated format. Renowned for its extreme robustness, this self-winding movement has been a staple at Manufacture Blancpain since its launch in 2007. Based on a three-barrel architecture, it provides a five-day power reserve, while its silicon balance spring guarantees resistance to magnetism, an essential criterion in the world of diving.
This anniversary edition’s oscillating weight – bearing the “Fifty Fathoms 70th” logo – is made of platinum, chosen for its symbolism. Synonymous with eternity, this material is associated with 70th wedding anniversaries in Switzerland. As a further tribute to the first Fifty Fathoms, the oscillating weight features an opening, a technical trick used in the 1950s to increase the suppleness of the rotor and will thus improve its shock resistance.
The new 42 mm Fifty Fathoms is fitted with a black NATO YTT+ strap, which is made from 100% recycled and entirely recyclable thread from fishing nets recovered from the sea or oceans, a sustainable initiative that will eventually be extended to all Blancpain NATO straps.
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