Since its creation in 1953, the Fifty Fathoms by Blancpain has been the archetypal modern diver’s watch. 60 years on, two new models join a fabulous lineage that has earned iconic status. The vintage-inspired Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe presented in a 2013 men’s and women’s version incorporates the latest watch industry developments with the silicon balance-spring.
Inspired by the abyssal underwater exploration of Swiss adventurer Jacques Piccard, Blancpain’s Bathyscaphe diver’s watches were introduced in the late 1950s as models for both men and women. Imbued with the spirit of these historical models, the new Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe offers a reinterpretation of these two models featuring the integration of the latest technical innovations.
Various elements of the 2013 version hark back to the first editions. The contours are as sharply defined as those of their predecessors. The hands feature the traditional look of the vintage watches and the date appears through a dedicated aperture. Loyal to the original Bathyscaphe version, the luminescent dot on the bezel serves to ensure the permanent readability of diving times.
Testifying to the past while looking firmly to the future, the new models incorporate modern Blancpain calibres renowned for their robustness and reliability. The heart of each of the mechanical self-winding movements beats at 28,800 vibrations per hour. Driven by a constant concern to improve these calibres, a nonmagnetic silicon balance-spring may be admire through a sapphire crystal case-back. In addition to its corrosion-resistant properties, silicon is also extremely resistant to wear and natural ageing. This technical breakthrough marks a decisive step in the longstanding pursuit of optimal isochronism for its timepieces. Another novel feature for Blancpain is the graduated scale in Liquidmetal®. This amorphous metal alloy avoids any deformation and ensures perfect bonding with the ceramic bezel insert. The hardness of these two materials serves to enhance the bezel’s scratch resistance.
Like all diver’s watches worth their salt, each model is equipped with a unidirectional bezel activated by turning it counter-clockwise in one-minute increments. During dives, the seconds serves as an operating indicator, while a contrasting dial and luminescent gold hour-markers ensure optimal readability. The new Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe is naturally water-resistant to 30 bar, equivalent to around 300 metres.
Each model is fitted with a triple-loop NATO strap. This broad and extremely practical wristband is as reliable and robust as the watch itself. Introduced in the 1960s when the British Ministry of Defence was looking for a sturdy strap to equip its military watches, its origins are echoed in its name that is a nod to its reference code: NATO G10. International