Blancpain Fifty Fathoms No Rad
Blancpain has released a limited-edition tribute to arguably the most eye-catching Fifty Fathoms diver ever released, the ‘No Radiations’.
Originally produced for the German Navy’s ‘Kampfschwimmer’ Marines in the mid-1960s as the RPG 1 or BUND No Rad, after the engraved designation on the caseback, the dial was printed with the reassuring ‘no radiations’ logo at the six o’clock position.
While these days that might seem like the very least a watch might promise, in the 1960s the horrors of radiation would have still been fresh in the mind, certainly within the military, not only from the Second World War but from the earlier scandalous use of Radium in everything from toothpaste to face cream.
This was only brought to the public’s attention when The Radium Girls, who were paid by the United States Radium Corporation to paint watch dials with luminous Radium paint, began to die. So the assurance appearing on a watch dial is particularly apt and understandable.
This 500-piece limited edition uses a 40.3mm polished stainless steel case, which is actually smaller than the 41mm original, but certainly more appropriate historically-speaking, than the oversized 45mm Fifty Fathoms ‘No Rad’ tribute released in 2010. There is definitely something about the Fifty Fathoms that lends itself to a circular ‘logo’ in this position, with the other famous example being the Fifty Fathoms Mil Spec, which originally featured a moisture indicator to warn divers if water had penetrated their watch.
Water resistant to 300m, the 2021 Blancpain Tribute to Fifty Fathoms No Rad uses a Blancpain Calibre 1151 four day automatic movement with silicon hairspring and the watch is supplied on a period correct ‘tropic’ rubber strap.
Curiously for a watch bearing the words ‘No Radiation,’ Blancpain has opted to coat its hands, hour markers and minute scale on the sapphire crystal-topped bezel with a ‘fauxtina’ shade of Super-LumiNova called “Old Radium’. The color certainly suits the watch but the name sticks out like a sore thumb.
The 2021 Blancpain Tribute to Fifty Fathoms No Rad is available now, priced $14,100 USD. Head over to Blancpain for more information.
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Blancpain’s newest exclusive watch isn’t just a tribute to one of its most memorable releases, it’s also a reminder of how much life has changed since the middle of the 20th century.
The Swiss company has just announced the limited-edition Tribute to Blancpain Fifty Fathoms No Rad replica timepiece. Filled with period references, the watch is a modern reinterpretation of one of the most head-turning diver watches of all time.
Used by the German Navy’s combat swimmers during the mid-1960s, the Blancpain Fifty Fathoms No Rad has risen to cult status thanks to its dial. That’s thanks to the “No Radiations” symbol stamped at 6 o’clock, an element that has become the watch’s trademark. The striking figure may seem like an odd design flourish today, but it wasn’t at the time. People were still very terrified by radiation poisoning, not just because of World War II, but because of the mid-century radium scare. That symbol was Blancpain’s way of letting divers and watch enthusiasts know that the watch was radium-free and safe to wear.The tribute watch features a 40.3mm stainless steel case, which is slightly smaller than the original 41mm case. That’s topped by a unidirectional rotating bezel that allows divers to keep track of how long they’ve been underwater. Underneath the bezel and its glassbox-type sapphire crystal insert, you’ll find a matte black dial with the “No Radiations” symbol just above the six o’clock marker and a date aperture sitting at 3 o’clock. Interestingly, considering the story behind the watch, the hour markers, hands and time scale on the bezel are all coated in a hue of Super-LumiNova called “Old Radiation.” Rounding off the package is a period-appropriate, Tropic-style rubber band, a favorite of the era’s divers because of its comfort and durability.The watch’s 300-meter water-resistant case houses a Blancpain Calibre 1151 self-winding movement. It’s equipped with a silicon balance spring and a four-day power reserve. Both barrels in the movement are wound by a rotor that features a “cartouche-shaped aperture,” according to the watchmaker. Although this detail is rare on today’s watches, in years past it was used to make the oscillating weight a more supple, offering added protection for the movement in case of impacts.