At a time when watch industry professionals are congregating in Geneva, the Manufacture in Le Brassus proudly unveils an exhibition that is unique in Switzerland. The Cité du Temps welcomes an icon of the ocean depths: the Fifty Fathoms diver’s watch. Devotees of underwater exploration and of exceptional timepieces will discover a world-exclusive presentation of the saga of this watchmaking legend. Visitors will enjoy a chance to immerse themselves in the world of Blancpain diver’s watches, brought under one roof for the very first time. To celebrate the event, the Manufacture is also introducing a limited edition of its Fifty Fathoms, in a world-first launch held on January 21st 2009 in the Cité du Temps.

Through this unique exhibition, Blancpain is retracing the history of a passion: from the 1953 birth of the legendary Fifty Fathoms diver’s watch through to its latest interpretation that is more contemporary and technically accomplished than ever. The Manufacture in Le Brassus revisits this iconic model with its characteristic concern for detail and thirst for perfection, while preserving the DNA on which it has built its reputation.

Moreover, for the first time in Switzerland, Blancpain is exhibiting the fascinating underwater photos from its “Fifty Fathoms Edition” book. This collection of subaquatic art photographs reflects the qualities of the diver’s watch after which it is named and calls upon printing techniques that are pushed to extremes.

The highlight of the exhibition has been undoubtedly the presence of freediving champion Gianluca Genoni. Steadfastly supported by the The highlight of the exhibition will undoubtedly be the presence of freediving champion Gianluca Genoni. Steadfastly supported by the Manufacture in Le Brassus, the Italian diver recently set a new world record for a static apnoea dive with oxygen that lasted an extraordinary 18 minutes and 3 seconds. Born in 1968 in Galliate, Italy, this accomplished athlete who already has a dozen world championship titles to his credit has been devoting his life to apnoea diving for over ten years. Blancpain and the multiple world record-holder share the same quest for ever greater challenges and for surpassing existing limits. Gianluca Genoni will be in Geneva on Wednesday January 21st 2008 to attend the world launch of the Fifty Fathoms limited series.


The Fifty Fathoms watch was born in the 1950s from the encounter between Blancpain and two French naval officers: the Captain Robert “Bob” Maloubier and Lieutenant Claude Riffaud, who were entrusted by the French Ministry of Defence with creating an elite “Combat Divers” unit. Having realised that none of the existing diver’s watches were sturdy enough to withstand the extreme conditions of underwater military operations, they requested Blancpain to make a breakthrough development by producing a resistant, reliable and readable watch to accompany divers in their perilous missions.

50 fathoms – a legendary measurement

In 1953, the first modern diver’s watch, christened “Fifty Fathoms”, emerged from the Blancpain workshops. This mechanical masterpiece was named after the water resistance of the original model, guaranteed to a depth of 50 fathoms (equivalent to 91.45 metres). The Fifty Fathoms soon earned itself a sterling reputation for reliability and sturdiness and established itself as the archetypal modern diver’s watch. It was adopted by many ocean explorers and accompanied Commander Cousteau’s team in filming “The World of Silence”.

Renewal of an icon

Over the past 50 years, Blancpain has constantly developed and perfected this icon, to which an entire collection is now dedicated. Perpetuating the genetic heritage of the original Fifty Fathoms, these contemporary models comprise all the signature features of their historical predecessors and are endowed with a number of refined touches. For the very time in its history, all the models and variations of the Fifty Fathoms are gathered under a single roof, in the Cité du Temps, Geneva