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A Journey Through The Rich History of The Fifty Fathoms Collection by Blancpain

  • 17th Jan 2022
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A Journey Through The Rich History of The Fifty Fathoms Collection by Blancpain

The Blancpain Fifty Fathoms watch is a classic timepiece that was originally released in 1953 by the prestigious Swiss watchmaker company Blancpain.

The Fifty Fathoms, today known as the Blancpain Fifty Fathoms, immediately became a success and was nicknamed The Shark. The watch was so popular that even President John F. Kennedy wore it during his term. The model is still being produced today by Blancpain under the name of "Bathyscaphe" though with a more water-resistant depth of 300 meters. The Fifty Fathoms collection signifies Blancpain’s passion for the underwater world.

The concept for the design of the original Fifty Fathomes came from French diving equipment maker COMEX which presented the idea to Blancpain. The concept was to create an easily readable one-handed watch that could be used by divers during their missions.

The design formula for the watch was created at the time only in order to meet these objectives. The original Blancpain Fifty Fathom's styling is simple and clean cut with a highly polished exterior. The simplicity of its design makes the watch easy to read and use. The basic design is also very easy on the eyes and has made the watch popular even among those who do not wear watches for diving purposes, but just as a lifestyle accessory.

Original Blancpain Fifty Fathoms - A Rare Watch

The original Blancpain Fifty Fathoms is a rare watch today with only around 500 being produced by Blancpain after they were first released in 1953. The value of the original 1950's Blancpain Fifty Fathoms is a highly regarded collector watch and sells expensive. The French Navy adopted the Fifty Fathoms in 1953 through COMEX which was also the company that supplied all French Army equipment at that time.

A Rich History

The first 50 Fathoms Marine Nationale was delivered in 1955 under the reference number 5016. The French Navy went on to purchase approximately 2000 Blancpain Fifty Fathoms watches over the next ten years which were used by them until late 1960's when they switched over to digital timepieces. The original Blancpain Fifty Fathoms was also a favorite among military men and explorers as it could easily fit into their large pockets. The watch is the choice timepiece of French Navy frogmen and also American and British divers during World War II. The watch was worn by both famous explorer Jacques-Yves Cousteau and his lifelong companion and partner, Engineer Emile Gagnan who were among pioneers of modern diving equipment.

Consistent Features

All Fifty Fathoms models feature the main signature elements that forged the reputation of their legendary ancestor and established it as the archetypal diver’s watch. The same professionalism is apparent in the decisive design choices, dictated by a wealth of experience in the field of diving, its risks and its imperious necessities.

Upgrading Fifty Fathoms

The latest additions to the collection are extraordinary technical achievements as well as a tribute to the pioneers who made scuba diving possible. It is their passion and dedication which opened up whole new vistas for underwater exploration and that continue to inspire Blancpain in using innovative materials and new technical solutions in order to push the limits of its timepieces and to fulfil the most sophisticated demands.

Common Features of Modern Fifty Fathoms

  • In-house mechanical movements
  • Silicone balance springs
  • Unidirectional sapphire or ceramic timing bezels
  • At least 300 meters (30 bar) of water resistance
  • Relatively thin cases (for a dive watch) coming in around 13mm on most models

Fifty Fathoms - The Vintage-Inspired Models


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Bathyscaphe Limited Edition (with Hodinkee)

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500 Fathoms & 500 Fathoms GMT

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Fifty Fathoms Automatique 40mm

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Fifty Fathoms Automatique 45mm

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Fifty Fathoms Grande Date

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Fifty Fathoms Chronographe Flyback

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Fifty Fathoms Chronographe Flyback Quantième Complet

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Tourbillon 8 Jours

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The X Fathoms

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The Fifty Fathoms Jour Date 70s

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The Modern Fifty Fathoms

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Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe

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Bathyscaphe 38mm

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Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe Quantième Annuel

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Fifty Fathoms Quantième Complet Phase de Lune

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Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe Chronographe Flyback

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Blancpain SA is a Swiss luxury watch manufacturer, having its head office in Paudex/Le Brassus, Switzerland. It has earned a high degree of repuation for its designing, manufacturing, distributing, and sales of quality luxury watches.


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