Fifty Fathoms 70th Anniversary Act 3
Blancpain presents the third act marking the 70th anniversary year of its iconic Fifty Fathoms diver's watch. Named "Fifty Fathoms 70th Anniversary Act 3", this model is inspired by the MIL-SPEC model adopted by the main armed forces of the time.
The Manufacture is now offering a 555-piece limited-edition reinterpretation of the timepiece with its trademark moisture indicator. Faithful to its original 41.30 mm diameter, the Fifty Fathoms 70th Anniversary Act 3 is made of 9K Bronze Gold.
The result of a true lightbulb moment, the Fifty Fathoms is the fortunate outcome of a dive whose consequences could have been quite different. One day when then Blancpain co-CEO and passionate diver Jean-Jacques Fiechter was diving in his favourite resort of Cannes in the south of France, he suddenly ran out of air. This dramatic and pivotal experience made him realise the extent to which divers needed a time-measuring instrument tailored to the needs of scuba diving, and led him to create the Fifty Fathoms, the world's first true diver's watch. Its self-winding mechanism (involving less wear on the crown gaskets than in a hand-wound movement); its resistance to magnetism (present in the world of diving); its watertightness to at least 10 bar; along with its XXL luminescent hour-markers contrasting with the dark dial (for improved legibility) represented a set of key elements presented on the 1953 model. The crown fitted with a double watertight seal; the caseback sealing system (to prevent any distortion of the O-ring when the case is fitted); as well as the lockable rotating bezel would all be patented. The functions, features and performance of this model naturally led the main armed forces of the day (France, Germany, the United States and Norway, to name but a few) to adopt this timepiece for their combat divers. The relevance of Jean-Jacques Fiechter's ideas was such that the Fifty Fathoms became the archetypal diving watch for the entire watch industry at the time – and remains so this day.
But the story doesn't end there. Although this timepiece established the fundamentals for safe diving, in the 1950s Jean-Jacques Fiechter also developed a moisture indicator, an additional safety feature whose purpose was to provide divers with the confirmation that the watch had not been damaged by another diver on a previous mission. Appearing on the dial of the MIL-SPEC watches in 1957 – some of whose variants are among the rarest and most sought-after timepieces by collectors – this moisture indicator was part of the specifications of the US Navy, which regarded this model as the only one to meet all the strict criteria laid down for its underwater missions. The Fifty Fathoms 70th Anniversary Act 3 pays tribute to that watch.