Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Automatique
Since the launch of the first modern diver’s watch more than 65 years ago, Blancpain has continued to innovate by combining state-of-the-art materials and watchmaking techniques. This year, the Brand is equipping three versions of the iconic Fifty Fathoms with a titanium bracelet. These models featuring a sporty yet chic allure are also characterized by their outstanding performance and lightness.
The Blancpain Fifty Fathoms collection is based on a rich heritage dating back to 1953, when Blancpain presented the first modern diver’s watch. The Fifty Fathoms stood out thanks to its avant-garde technical and aesthetic features. Its large luminescent black-grounded hour-markers and hands, its robustness, water-resistance and secure rotating bezel all rapidly became benchmarks for the entire watchmaking industry. While Blancpain played a pioneering role in the definition of diver’s watches, the Maison also made early use of innovative materials in creating its timepieces. Indeed, Blancpain’s use of titanium dates back to the early 1960s, when it produced a special series of MIL-SPEC II models for US Navy minesweeper teams. Witness the “US Navy” timepiece purchased by the Brand at an auction in 2015: its case made of nickel silver – a non-magnetic copper, zinc and nickel alloy – is fitted with a titanium back, undoubtedly used for its greater resistance to pressure. At that time, titanium was mainly reserved for the aerospace industry and rarely seen in watchmaking. Blancpain was probably the first Manufacture to use this material in producing its watches.
Blancpain’s must-have Fifty Fathoms Automatique and Grande Date models reflect the Brand’s history and tradition of innovation. Their remarkably light new titanium bracelet complements the sail canvas and NATO straps with which these timepieces have been fitted until now. Its production involves a series of demanding assembly and finishing processes. The hand satin-brushed links are joined together by means of transverse pins, endowing them with a fluidity and flexibility that ensure a perfect fit on the wrist. Based on a patented system, the (usually lateral) screws are placed on the back of the links so as to preserve the smooth look and feel of the bracelet edges. Combining these skills guarantees seamless cohesion between the case and bracelet. The latter highlights the emblematic face of the watches, endowed with all the attributes of a diving instrument, such as Super-LumiNova hour-markers and hands that remain easily legible in all circumstances, as well as a unidirectional rotating bezel with a scratch-resistant sapphire insert.
Equipped with a 45 mm titanium case that is water-resistant to 30 bar (approx. 300 meters), the Fifty Fathoms Automatique and Grande Date models respectively beat to the rhythm of the Manufacture 1315 movement – a mainstay of the contemporary Fifty Fathoms collection since its launch in 2007 – or the 6918B. Insensitive to magnetic fields thanks to the use of a silicon balance-spring, these calibres deliver a comfortable five-day power reserve provided by three series-coupled barrels. Their meticulous finishes are visible through a sapphire crystal case-back.
The Fifty Fathoms Automatique remains available with a black or blue sunburst dial, while the Fifty Fathoms Grande Date continues to be offered with a black dial. These light and robust models will doubtless appeal to lovers of sporty and elegant watches keen to enjoy daily wear of a generously sized timepiece with a pleasingly light aesthetic.
Blancpain presents a world-first preview of its new Fifty Fathoms watch in a special limited series of 50. This exclusive edition is clad in a deep blue colour celebrating the inseparable ties binding the Manufacture in Le Brassus to the splendours of the ocean depths. It plays the starring role in an exhibition that is unique in Switzerland and is on show in the Cité du Temps in Geneva from January 19th to February 28th 2009. For the first time ever, the most significant models of this legendary diver’s watch – from 1953 to the present day – are united under one roof.
Faithful to its immediately recognisable design, this new Fifty Fathoms is adorned in subtle shades evoking underwater mysteries. The contrasting numerals, hour-markers and hands coated with a luminescent substance stand out beautifully against the cobaltblue dial background. Ideal for ensuring readability in all circumstances, this coating is applied to the markings on the bezel and to the graduation of the last 15 minutes. A slightly cambered scratch-resistant sapphire crystal and a unidirectional rotating bezel with a notched raised pattern set the finishing touch to the high-tech face of this elegant sports watch.
The 45 mm-diameter case in white gold, equipped with a crown guard, houses the sturdy Blancpain Calibre 1315 with its five-day power reserve. The sapphire crystal enables one to admire the meticulous finishing of the self-winding movement and its unique oscillating weight engraved with a diving mask motif, yet without compromising the water resistance to 300 metres. This new-look Fifty Fathoms is fitted with a blue sail canvas strap lined with rubber and completed with a white gold pin buckle.
Issued in an exclusive limited edition of 50, this prestigious timepiece comes with a stunning book of art photographs dedicated to the underwater world. This work vividly reflects the qualities of the diver’s watch after which it is named and uses cutting-edge printing techniques. These fascinating subaquatic pictures are also on show for the first time in Switzerland, in the Cité du Temps, from January 19th to February 28th 2009.
A fiery temperament and a passion for speed are the signature features of the latest Blancpain sports watch: the Speed Command Chronograph. The exterior of this distinctive chronograph highlights new materials,while its technical functions are driven by a self-winding flyback chronograph movement.And since it hates not to be noticed, this Speed Command Chronograph is clad in black with a choice of yellow or orange accents.
Power, speed and mechanical engineering: the cocktail is generally explosive and the Blancpain Speed Command Chronograph is no exception. This ruggedly virile, dynamic and resolutely contemporary watch is a tribute to speed and mechanical performance, inspired by the thrills of racing on land or at sea amid these fascinating worlds of freedom and excess. The 45 mm-diameter case made from brushed DLC steel is water-resistant to 300 metres and topped by a bidirectional “countdown” type black sapphire rotating bezel. The chequered effect carbon fibre dial features stylised orange or yellow Arabic numerals inspired by the dashboards of legendary sports cars. For the first time at Blancpain, a sloping inner dial ring bears a tachometric scale that facilitates read-off. In the same spirit, red Superluminova touches are applied to the hour and minute hands and the central chronograph seconds hand, ensuring optimal legibility in all circumstances.
At the heart of this sophisticated performance-dedicated case, the Blancpain Speed Command houses Calibre F185, a 308-part mechanical self-winding chronograph movement with a 40-hour power reserve. Calibre F185 drives the hours, minutes, small seconds at 6 o’clock, a window-type date display as well as the chronograph functions: the central chronograph seconds hand, along with 30-minute and 12-hour counters at 3 and 9 o’clock respectively. Providing an additional feature bound to appeal to instant measurement enthusiasts, Calibre F185 is also distinguished by its “flyback” chronograph function that Blancpain has significantly contributed to popularising over the past two decades. Historically used by pilots, this function enables resetting and instant restarting of the chronograph by a single press on the “start” pusher. A question of saving time… or gaining a bit of speed!
Exclusively designed for the Blancpain Speed Command Chronograph, a new extremely technical oscillating weight in rhodium-plated yellow gold further enriches the overall performance of the movement. This raised five-arm rotor is inspired by racing-car wheel rims.
Asserting its sporting nature all the way through to its smallest components, the Speed Command Chronograph by Blancpain is fitted with a rubber-lined Barenia leather strap secured by a steel pin buckle. This use of several materials for a single element is strongly reminiscent of the world of motor racing and clearly designed to enhance both performance and efficiency.
A powerful timepiece boldly displaying its strong personality, the Speed Command Chronograph by Blancpain is revving up to begin a successful career, following in the tracks of the sports watches that have made their mark on Blancpain’s rich history for over half a century.