Category: Blancpain Watches

Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe

I’ll admit my bias up front: I have a serious soft spot for Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe. I don’t think enough people give the company the credit it deserves for the role it played in the late 1980s revival of the mechanical watch industry.

I recently backed up that belief by purchasing an early-2000s Leman Ultra-Slim, from HODINKEE Pre-Owned. Four months later, I’m still absolutely smitten with my new-to-me watch, but I’ll admit that I never expected a Leman to be the first Blancpain to make its way into my collection. I assumed it would be a Fifty Fathoms dive watch, because – like many collectors today – that’s the product I most associate with Blancpain.
Thirty years ago, you would have thought that statement was crazy. A watch collector in 1992 would only know vintage examples of the Fifty Fathoms. It’s true – the Fifty Fathoms has only recently held a permanent place in Blancpain’s catalog since 2007, when it re-emerged after disappearing from production at some point in the 1970s, following its heyday in the ’50s and ’60s.

The design and technical principles of the original 1953 Fifty Fathoms laid the groundwork for the ISO 6425 standard, which now governs whether or not a watch is suitable for professional diving – and yet, the Fifty Fathoms collection laid mostly dormant for decades. Since 2007, however, Blancpain has made up for lost time. The current selection of Fifty Fathoms watches is more diverse and accessible than at any other point in its history.
That’s alright with me. I own more dive watches than I know what to do with, something I’m sure I’m not alone in, and the Fifty Fathoms has always represented an endgame in appreciating the category for me. (In other words, while some collectors go crazy for MilSubs, I’ve generally been the guy jabbering about moisture indicators.)

But it took me a while to realize just how cool the latest addition to the Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe is. It’s not a precise reissue of some forgotten Bathyscaphe, which is a secondary line within the greater Fifty Fathoms family, and it’s not a collaboration with the HODINKEE team. What it does do, however, is adjust the course that the already smooth-sailing Fifty Fathoms is on to reach even greater heights.
The Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe is the younger, slimmer (and debatably hotter) sibling to the original mainstream Fifty Fathoms watch. Named after the deep-diving submersible invented by the Swiss physicist and explorer Auguste Piccard, the original Bathyscaphe dive watch was introduced in 1956 as the civilian complement to the more professional Fifty Fathoms. It came in a smaller size and was targeted toward the recreational diving market. After officially reintroducing the Fifty Fathoms into serial production in 2007, Blancpain continued to build out the collection. Six years later, for the 60th anniversary of the first Fifty Fathoms, in 2013, Blancpain unveiled an entirely new production series within the Fifty Fathoms line – the Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe. These watches maintained the core conceit of the original Bathyscaphe, with a smaller diameter and more accessible price point, and zero loss in technical proficiency or professional specification.

Using the Bathyscaphe’s now-signature 43mm × 13.45mm case profile, Blancpain has once again retrofitted the dive watch by introducing a grade 23 titanium case and topping it off with a sleek grey dial featuring some serious vertical brushing.

It’s not just the dial that’s grey. The whole watch has been rendered in a monochromatic greyscale, except for the use of off-white Super-LumiNova (it’s a lighter shade than what I’d typically characterize as faux-patina) on the hands and hour markers and the red tip of the seconds hand. The case has a slightly darker grey tone compared to the anthracite shade on the dial, featuring a completely matte decoration. The self-winding caliber 1315 inside has the same soft satin sheen, with a soleil finish on the bridges, plus the gunmetal-tone solid-gold rotor. Over on the dial side, even the date aperture is completed by a grey background! Grey is great – but let’s revisit that case metal. The choice of titanium is a fun one for Blancpain fans. It could be considered a bit of an inside-baseball nod to the first year of production for the current-gen Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe , when a 43mm ceramicized (AKA, ceramic-coated) titanium edition, the ref. 5000-12C30-NABA, debuted alongside the original 38mm and 43mm stainless steel models. Although it was included as part of the Bathyscaphe’s initial 21st-century revival, it was only produced for a short period and very few ended up in the hands of collectors. As a result, it’s become one of the most sought-after and collectible Blancpain watches of the 21st century.

Blancpain Fifty Fathoms No Radiations

Perhaps no other segment of watches generates more debate, more snobbery, or higher prices than vintage dive watches. Even within a single brand, the different models and variations seem to be endless, and this creates a hierarchy from most to least desirable. While Rolex often dominates the conversation, Blancpain’s Fifty Fathoms has a more substantial historical claim, and the Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Aqualung “No Radiations” version is one of the most sought after.
The Blancpain Fifty Fathoms is the progenitor of the modern dive watch. The watch was developed as a collaboration between Blancpain and elite French divers—nageurs de combat—who required a watch with perfect legibility, robust construction, and the ability to measure dive times precisely. Prior to its introduction in 1953, watches had featured luminous dials and ever-increasing water resistance, but the Fifty Fathoms was the first to affix a unidirectional rotating bezel to meet the dive timing requirement. As an added perk, the watch featured an automatic movement, another first for such a watch.
When the Blancpain Fifty Fathoms was introduced, radium paint was used on the dials as its radioluminescence allowed for a bright, constant glow. By the 1960s, knowledge of the dangers of radium coupled with the Cold War pushing the world to the brink of nuclear disaster, the use of radium as no longer acceptable in the public eye. While radium remained in use in military applications, tritium paint became the preferred material for civilian watches. When Blancpain made the Fifty Fathoms commercially available in the 1960s, they wanted to make clear that the watch was safe, and so created a dial that boldly showed just that.
The Blancpain Fifty Fathoms “No Radiations” features a 41mm case that is fully polished. The design of the case itself is rather unremarkable: flat sides with gently downsloped lugs that feature blocked ends. While one might expect a screwdown crown, Rolex still had the patent to that technology in the 1960s. So Blancpain achieved its roughly fifty fathoms of water resistance (roughly 91m or 300ft) by installing a pair of gaskets in the crown. Furthering the water resistance is a screwdown caseback, with the usual branding and text. Around the acrylic crystal is a knurled bezel with a Bakelite bezeinsertl. Unlike many of its contemporaries, the Fifty Fathoms’ bezel is not graduated and features a combination of short and long hashes, Arabic numerals, and a triangle at 60/0. Finding an example with an intact bezel can be a challenge, as Bakelite was notoriously brittle and prone to cracking (while it was used on dive watches well into the 1970s, Rolex had already discontinued its use by 1956).
The “No Radiations” features a glossy black dial with a minute/second track and tritium hour indices in a combination of batons, circles, and a 12 o’clock diamond. Just outside of the minute/second track at 5 o’clock is the tritium indication, “T<25 MC.,” meaning that the watch emits less than 25 millicuries of radiation—a harmless amount. The white, pencil-style hands are also infilled with tritium, and the seconds hand features a lumed tip. As is common with vintage luminescent paint, one can expect the material to discolor from its original white to a brown-yellow tone (modern reissues often try to imitate this with “Old Radium” lume).
At 12 o’clock, the Blancpain name and Fifty Fathoms model are applied in block letters and script, respectively. Just below, the “Aqua-Lung” branding is printed in white script. The Fifty Fathoms was primarily made available to professionals, and as such was commonly sold through dive equipment outlets, which often cobranded their pieces. The most famous of these was Aqua-Lung, owned by Jacques Cousteau. At 6 o’clock is the namesake mark, a crossed out radioactive warning symbol with “NO RADIATIONS” printed on the lower arc.
The Blancpain Fifty Fathoms “No Radiations” features an automatic Blancpain R310 automatic movement, chosen to avoid the unnecessary crown and gear wear a handwound movement would cause. The R310 was in fact a Blancpain-branded A. Schild AS1700 movement. A. Schild was a massive movement manufacture all the way through the 1970s and created exceptionally reliable calibers (it’s not unheard of to encounter an old unserviced A. Schild movement running without issue). The Blancpain R310/AS 1700 movement features 17 jewels, a 41-hour power reserve, and antishock protection while beating at 18,000 vibrations per hour. Further, the movement is protected by an antimagnetic shell, hidden by the solid caseback.
The 1960s saw a surge in dive watches, and as such, vintage pieces are widely available. That said, finding the right watch in the right condition can be a challenge. As it was with Blancpain, Rolex and Omega shifted to tritium dials (in 1963 and 1964, respectively). The closest contemporary that isn’t simply another Fifty Fathoms, would be either a Rolex Submariner or an Omega Seamaster from the same era. Of course, Blancpain has revisited many of their original Fifty Fathoms designs with modern recreations.
The Blancpain Fifty Fathoms “No Radiations” is a historical piece not just as a dive watch, but on a larger scale as well: It acted as a symbol of an age when public fear of radiation was at its height and overtly marked the watch industry’s shift away from radium. Such a watch would be a perfect fit in the collection of a watch lover who not only treasures the early days of dive watches and unique dials, but also has an interest in that Cold War era.
The Blancpain Fifty Fathoms “No Radiations” is perhaps the most engaging Fifty Fathoms model ever released, and obtaining one is no easy task. With its timeless design, list of firsts, and historic importance, one simply can’t go wrong.

BlancpainAir Command Flyback Chronograph

The Air Command collection is inspired by a highly sought-after 1950s Blancpain chronograph that was produced in tiny quantities. In the slipstream of its predecessor, the new Air Command model features sophisticated styling and offers two distinct timing modes: a chronograph with flyback function and a countdown bezel.

Born in the mid-1950s, the Blancpain Air Command Flyback Chronograph is probably the rarest Blancpain watch of its era. The only existing traces of its past are the few snippets of information sporadically gathered at auctions – where Air Command pieces have fetched stratospheric prices – and the scattered memories treasured by the descendants of the great 1950s Blancpain “family”.

Blancpain’s new Air Command, which is joining the eponymous collection, fully reflects the spirit of the vintage pilot’s watch. It features a flyback chronograph and a countdown-type rotating bezel. The flyback function is a valuable element for pilots, as it enables them in a single press to reset the current timing operation and start a new one while the chronograph is running. With a conventional chronograph, each new measurement requires three presses – on two separate pushers – to stop, reset and restart the mechanism. The purpose of the countdown bezel is to indicate the time remaining until the destination is reached. Its numerals or hour-markers run counter-clockwise, unlike those on the bezel of a diver’s watch. The Blancpain Air Command Flyback Chronograph Command also has a tachymeter scale indicating ground speeds, a 30-minute counter with three elongated markers marking three-minute increments and a 12-hour counter.

Blancpain has chosen to highlight these indications by means of a deep blue colour that energises the character of the watch, instilling the perfect touch of modernity. The dial is enhanced by a fine sunburst pattern, while the chronograph counters are finely snailed. This contrast heightens the legibility of the timepiece, which is optimal for both day and night thanks to the use of Super-LumiNova on the hands and hour-markers. This luminescent material is also found on the watch’s bezel, which incorporates a scratch-resistant ceramic insert matching the dial colour. Further intensifying the emotions procured by a timepiece of this nature, Blancpain Air Command Flyback Chronograph has equipped both sides of its Air Command model with a “glass box” sapphire crystal, a strong aesthetic element of 1950s models.

The back of the watch reveals the Manufacture F388B movement (a variant of the F385), distinguished by a free-sprung silicon balance oscillating at a frequency of 5 Hz. The design reflects Blancpain’s philosophy of both precision and robustness. The free-sprung balance-and-spring assembly regulated by inertia screws was conceived to facilitate fine adjustments and increase shock-resistance. Compared to generally used metal balance-springs, the silicon balance-spring is insensitive to magnetic fields and guarantees greater precision throughout the power reserve. The 5 Hz frequency not only contributes to improved accuracy, but also enables a clear division of the seconds into 1/10th intervals. The F388B movement comprises a column-wheel system with a highly advanced Blancpain vertical clutch ensuring perfect starting and stopping without the jerks that occasionally occur with horizontal constructions. It is self-winding and topped by an openworked gold oscillating weight with a snailed finish identical to that of the calibre’s bridges. This aesthetic coherence is accentuated by the colour of the rotor, which matches that of the watch case.

Available in red gold or grade 23 titanium – a high-end variety rarely used in watchmaking – the 42.5 mm-diameter case is water-resistant to 3 bar (approximately 30 metres). Alternating between satin-brushed and polished surfaces, such as on the outer edges of the lugs and the contact surfaces of the pushers, it reveals a refinement that confirms the prestigious character of the new Air Command. The model is paired with a blue calfskin strap featuring white stitching and setting the final touch to the sporty look of this pilot’s watch.

Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Tourbillon 8 Jours

There’s no shortage of history when it comes to Blancpain, the Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Tourbillon 8 Jours line is an embodiment of that statement. Originally conceived and coming to fruition in 1953, this dive watch has a status of legendary proportions. Revived in 2003, it’s not until 2007 that the Tourbillon 8 Jours was introduced. Now Blancpain introduces new models in the Tourbillon 8 Jours collection, one in titanium and the other in a red gold case with varying options for strap and bracelet.
The Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Tourbillon 8 Jours case in the titanium version is built with lightweight grade 23 titanium, which is pleasantly lightweight. The red gold version has an aura of warmth and tradition around it. The case in both the models, being in hefty 45 mm diameter, has a satin-finished, giving the watch a very sporty look.
A tourbillon in a dive watch is unusual, but regardless, it’s presented beautifully via a dedicated opening at noon, or where a 12 o’clock numeral would’ve been if not for the tourbillon display opening. The dial has a charming blue color that has a sunburst effect for some added charisma. Unlike the earlier models, the new Tourbillon 8 Jours has done away with a power reserve and it results in a cleaner and more clutter-free dial. The 60-minute domed sapphire bezel is unidirectional, the domed sapphire crystal serves well to protect the dial. The bezel displays the large Arabic numerals at 3, 6 and 9 o’clock and the numerals and the hands are applied with lume for clear readability in darkness or in low light conditions. The notched edge gives bezel added grip with a unidirectional rotation system. The models are water-resistant to 30 bar, which is approximately 300 meters.
Housing inside the case is Calibre 25C, which is a self-winding movement with thickness of 4.85 mm and with a diameter of 26.20 mm. The movement beats at 3Hz and has a healthy power reserve of 192 hours or 8-days. The Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Tourbillon 8 Jours sapphire crystal caseback reveals the movement, which features Côtes de Genève decoration on the bridges and has 29 jewels.

Blancpain Ladybird

Color is coming back to luxury watches in a big way, infusing even high-end mechanical collections like Blancpain’s Ladybird Colors with a fashion-watch feel. The fashion flair is all in the alligator straps, which come in a candy-store selection of colors: peacock green, midnight blue, satin white, lemon yellow, tangerine orange and lilac.
The dials are, by contrast, fairly minimalist in the tradition of dress watches. A mother-of-pearl background is topped by applied Arabic numerals and leaf-shaped hands. But there is some dazzle. The watch is decorated with 59 diamonds weighing more than two carats, including an inner ring of small diamonds on the dial, and larger diamonds set into the bezel and lugs. The diamonds on the bezel are bead-set between rows or “fillets” of hollowed out metal, to allow the maximum light return – so the diamonds really sparkle. The crown is set with a single rose-cut diamond. The 34.9mm case comes in either red or white gold.
The collection is Blancpain Ladybird tribute to its heritage as a maker of ladies’ mechanical watches and its support of women. As an example, the brand cites its appointment of Betty Fiechter in 1921 as the first female CEO of a leading watch company. “Her love of watchmaking was matched only by her belief that a woman needs finery to be properly dressed,” says a Blancpain statement. “She paved the way for the creation of the first automatic wristwatch for women, the Rolls, and the original Ladybird model in 1956.” It contained what was, at the time, the world’s smallest round movement.
The collection is Blancpain Ladybird tribute to its heritage as a maker of ladies’ mechanical watches and its support of women. As an example, the brand cites its appointment of Betty Fiechter in 1921 as the first female CEO of a leading watch company. “Her love of watchmaking was matched only by her belief that a woman needs finery to be properly dressed,” says a Blancpain statement. “She paved the way for the creation of the first automatic wristwatch for women, the Rolls, and the original Ladybird model in 1956.” It contained what was, at the time, the world’s smallest round movement.
The Ladybird has an important place in Blancpain Ladybird history. It was introduced in 1956 as the smallest round watch for Ladies quickly becoming a worldwide hit (for more you can read our “The History of Blancpain” feature article).

In 2021, Blancpain is presenting the Ladybird Colors, 7 new variations characterised by white mother-of-pearl dials adorned with slightly rounded applied gold Arabic numerals forming an asymmetrical hour circle crowned by the number 12 and highlighted by a band of diamonds. The hours and minutes hands are shaped like hollowed-out sage leaves.

Blancpain Tribute to Fifty Fathoms No Rad for Only Watch

The Tribute to Fifty Fathoms No Rad watch revisits a Blancpain diving instrument from the mid-60s, which was notably used by the German Navy’s Combat Swimmers. The latter has the characteristic feature of a stamp on the dial with a “no radiations” logo indicating that Blancpain did not use luminescent materials composed of radium – a highly radioactive element declared harmful to health. This distinctive symbol has forged the success of this timepiece, which has become one of the most sought-after Fifty Fathoms watches among collectors.

The model created for Only Watch is characterised by a chapter ring, hands and a bezel time scale featuring orange-coloured Super-LumiNova. Bespoke to this special piece, this acidulous shade refers to the colour representing the 2021 edition of Only Watch. The dominant element on the dial remains the “no radiations” logo, whose original yellow and red colours have been replaced by orange and yellow, respectively.
Founded in 1735 by Jehan-Jacques Blancpain in the Swiss Jura, Blancpain is known as the world’s oldest watch brand. Loyal to its tradition of innovation and confirmed by countless horological complications invented over the years, the Manufacture is constantly pushing the boundaries of watchmaking to take this art to places where it has never been before. Today, Blancpain pursues its enduring commitment to the renewal of mechanical horology. From creating components to designing watches, Blancpain is distinguished by its capacity to develop exceptional timepieces, which are the results of its master-watchmakers’ creativity and passion. This philosophy is conveyed through each of the brand’s creations and all its collections, including the classic Villeret, the legendary Fifty Fathoms diver’s watch or the delicate women models.

Blancpain Tribute to Fifty Fathoms No Rad for Only Watch

blancpain léman tourbillon semainier

Blancpain Léman Tourbillon Semainier

Programmi sempre più fitti, una serie continua di meeting, agende piene di appuntamenti scandiscono il ritmo della società in cui viviamo. Le ore passano e i tempi cambiano. Il ritmo della vita accelera e riduce l’orizzonte temporale.

Il meglio in orologeria si riassume in tre elementi: complessità meccanica, semplicità d’uso e utilità delle indicazioni. Il Léman Tourbillon Semainier, nato dal know-how della Manifattura di Le Brassus, risponde perfettamente a questi requisiti, con una ‘combinazione di complicazioni’ introdotta dal Calibro 3725G e dai 356 elementi che lo compongono.

Più che un orologio è un concentrato della filosofia di ‘tradizione di innovazione’ applicata dai maestri orologiai Le Brassus, riflettendo pienamente questa realtà contemporanea.
Un calibro inedito e complesso, dato dall’abbianmento di complicazioni orologiere di Blancpain, offre indicazioni utili nel quotidiano e soddisfa le esigenze di una vita attiva. Alla visualizzazione di ore, minuti e secondi, all’indicazione della riserva di carica e al tourbillon volante visibile al 12, il Léman Tourbillon Semainier affianca il giorno della settimana, il grande datario e la ripartizione dell’anno su scala settimanale. Quest’ultima informazione, davvero molto apprezzata, è riportata da una lancetta centrale che punta su uno dei numeri posti all’esterno del quadrante.

Per creare tale danza meccanica del tempo, gli artigiani della Manifattura hanno sviluppato il Calibro 3725G, un movimento a carica automatica con tourbillon e riserva di marcia di 7 giorni. Un
concentrato di ingegnosità, che riunisce in uno spazio ristretto ben 356 componenti. Caratteristiche
esclusive dei pezzi di alta orologeria, l’anglage di ponti e platine, le decorazioni Côtes de Genève e il perlage, tutte lavorazioni svolte manualmente all’interno degli atelier di Blancpain.

Il Léman Tourbillon Semainier è presente in due versioni in edizione limitata; della versione in platino, abbinata al quadrante nero, sono disponibili 88 pezzi mentre di quella in oro rosa, con il quadrante opalino sono 188 i pezzi prodotti.
Entrambe le versioni hanno la cassa di 40 mm, sono impermeabili fino a 100 metri e sono dotati di fondello con oblò in vetro zaffiro, che consente di ammirare le accurate finiture dei componenti. Il cinturino in coccodrillo nero è completato da una fibbia déployante rispettivamente in platino o in oro rosa.
The prime qualities one expects from horological complications are mechanical complexity, user-friendliness and useful information. These three criteria are fully met by the new Tourbillon Semainier in the Léman collection, born from the know-how of the master-watchmakers of the Manufacture in Le Brassus. This unusual combination of complications beats to the rhythm of the new Calibre 3725G and its 356 components.

These days the hours simply rush by and times are rapidly changing. The rhythm of active life is accelerating, and the time line is shrinking. Schedules are full, appointments follow each in other quick succession and diaries are packed. All these elements mark the cadence of the typically hyper-active society in which we live.

Taking account of this contemporary reality, the new Blancpain Tourbillon Semainier in the Léman collection is a concentrated blend of the “tradition of innovation” philosophy consistently applied by the Manufacture in Le Brassus. This combination of horological complications, unusual for the brand, merges tradition with contemporary requirements. It draws upon the know-how cultivated by the master-watchmakers of the venerable House in order to offer a new complex calibre providing indications that are useful in everyday activities and meet the demands of an active lifestyle. In addition to showing the hours, minutes and seconds, the power-reserve and featuring majestic flying tourbillon placed at 12 o’clock, the newcomer to the Léman collection also displays the day of the week, the date (Grande Date) and the week of the year. Much appreciated in today’s world, the latter item of information is indicated by a central hand pointing to one of the numbers appearing around the rim of the dial. Its numbering from 1 to 53 serves as a reminder that some years have 53 weeks according to official schedules; this will be the case in 2009 and then in 2015, 2020 and 2026, to mention only the nearest dates.

To give life to this mechanical dance of time, the master-watchmakers of the Manufacture have developed the new calibre 3725G, a mechanical self-winding tourbillon movement with a 7-day power-reserve. This spectacular embodiment of ingenuity comprises 356 parts. As one would expect from Haute Horlogerie creations, Blancpain’s master-craftsmen perform the delicate finishing operations – bevelling of the bridges and plates, the Côtes de Genève decorations and circular graining – entirely by hand.

The Tourbillon Semainier cornes in a case with a 40 mm diameter for enhanced legibility, crafted in 950 platinum with a black dial or in 18-carat red gold with a opaline-white dial. Its water-resistance is guaranteed to 100 metres and its sapphire crystal case-back enables one to admire the finishing work lavished on all the components. The black or brown crocodile leather strap is fitted with a platinum or red gold folding clasp.

Blancpain Léman Chronograph Flyback

The Blancpain Leman Flyback Chronograph Mark was kind enough to provide another guest review, this time he was kind enough to share some thoughts on his Blancpain Flyback. It’s a story I’m sure you’ve all heard a million times. Boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy ends up with girls roommate. So here are the details on how I ended up with this Blancpain.
A watch buddy of mine (we’ll call him Ale-Alejandro) said he had
the perfect watch for me. Her name was Roadster, as in Cartier!
Wow, I was excited. I’d never seen a Roadster outside of pictures – “in the flesh” as it were.
I arrived at the agreed upon meeting point, and as I saw that
Roadster start to emerge from her leather bound home, a funny thing
happened. Out of the corner of my eye I spotted the exotic roommate.
Now mind you that I was taught, by watching Seinfeld, that your eyes
should never linger. “It’s like staring at the Sun, get a sense of it and move on”.

Well, I pulled a “George Costanza” – I was caught in a linger.
At this point, Ale-Alejandro was getting a little nervous, and
fidgeted around a bit. I could see from that lost look in his eye,
that the exotic beauty strapped around his wrist had a spell on him too.
“Oh this?”, he stammered. “I don’t really want to sell this”, Ale-Alejandro said.

“Good. Because I don’t want to buy it”. I exclaimed. “How about a
trade”? As I reached into the pocket of my mystery robe and whipped
out the girl I dated, but never brought home to Mom.
As Ale-Alejandro is at least ten years younger than your humble narrator,
I knew he’d be immediately smitten by her initial shiny, dazzling brilliance.

Well needless to say, the trade was made, and now we’re both happy.
In truth, the Roadster looked better on him anyway.

Here are my initial thoughts on this little treasure – Blancpain Léman Chronograph Flyback

The build quality is really amazing. Starting with the bracelet, which is
constructed of solid steel, and secured by screws. The bracelet model is
X-71. As you see from the pictures, the watch is not camera shy.
The dial is one of the nicest chronograph layouts I have seen. The fly back
feature, which I never really knew existed, works the following way:
The top chrono button behaves like a typical chrono button, it starts
and stops the chronograph. The bottom button however, behaves
differently. While the chrono is running, a press of the bottom
button, resets back to zero, and the chrono begins again. Of course
pressing the top button to stop, and bottom button resets and stops
like a normal chronograph.

The case is 38 mm, however the watch wears larger than that. Perhaps
it’s the wide band, and beveled bezel that gives it that larger
appearance. Also it’s fairly heavy. And the wearing comfort is amazing.
I know that It’s cliche, but I don’t even know I have it on.
The accuracy is within a second or two a day on my wrist.
It has zero time on the winder so far, which I suppose is a good thing.

Blancpain uses their in-house movement for the Leman Flyback –
the F185 Calibre chronograph movement, developed with
their famous movement Manufacture, Frederic Piguet.

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.
Elsewhere in watches, Vault offers up watch industry’s first NFT artwork for sale.
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.

Blancpain Women Diamond

Equipped with an exclusive movement incorporating two retrograde indications, the Day Night distinguishes itself with substantial technical innovations and by the fine crafts- manship of its disk. Once more Blancpain has reinforced its DNA and its tradition of innovation with this demonstration of savoir-faire in a new caliber created especially for its collection Women.

Based upon the caliber 1150, the movement of the Day Night is larger in diameter. The winding rotor, decoratively engraved and polished, has been enlarged to enhance the view of the complex movement through the sapphire case back. With a diameter of 40 mm, this timepiece offers an harmonious balance between its diameter and thickness as its height is less than 12 mm. The dial is fashioned entirely in mother of pearl and is divided into three parts on four levels. The differences in height create an impression of great depth. Careful work was called for to fashion the mother of pearl surface upon progressively descending levels, as the mother of pearl material on a base of German silver becomes progressively thinner with each level and, therefore, more fragile.

The Day Night disk turns twice per day. Each rotational change takes place over approximately four minutes, as the decoration presents itself, allowing the discovery of all of the details of the day and the night. Many different artistic techniques were used in its creation: (depositing material), (contour forms in relief), and (integration of superimposed motifs in mother of pearl). Gradations in the color blue, achieved by deposit upon the mother of pearl, marks the change from day to night. The moon is composed of 50 diamonds; the sun is fashioned with 50 yellow sapphires. Placed upon the surface are several yellow colored mother of pearl dots as well as 14 diamonds which represent the stars.

One of the unique features of this piece is the way that the two retrograde indications (seconds and hours) are combined with the minute hand. The minute is displayed with a regulator hand which continuously sweeps over its circle of rotation. As it completes its 60 minute march, the seconds hand is retrograding, which is to say that it has progressed along its arc and returns instantly to its point of departure to begin anew its progression. Similarly, the hour hand retrogrades twice per day, again in synch with the minute hand.

Blancpain has perfected the design of retrograde indications. Based upon snail shaped cams, Blancpain’s design ensures smooth movement of the hands along the arc of travel and a positive, swift, yet vibration free return to the starting point.
The gear train of the Day Night disk is secured, meaning that it can be set at any time of day. The setting of the time and the disk are independent. The setting of hours and minutes by the crown, through a lever, disconnects the indication from the running train of the watch.
Blancpain’s signature design elements such as the double stepped case with its rounded shoulders are found in this timepiece. The bezel is set with two spiral shaped rows of 140 diamonds around its exterior. The Day Night is fitted with a white ostrich strap.
A pioneer since 1930 in the creation of ladies’ watches equipped with self-winding movements, Blancpain pursues this path and regularly introduces models developed for women sensitive to watchmaking complications. Loyal to tradition, the new Chronograph Large Date associates a dainty mother-of-pearl face and a self-winding heart with several complications within a model featuring generous gem-set lines.

Right at first glance, the shimmering mother-of-pearl dial surrounded by a minute track reveals a two-part composition delineated by two waves of 17 variously sized diamonds rippling out from the centre with its chronograph seconds hand. At 12 o’clock the off-centred time display featuring Roman hour and minute numerals on a mother-of-pearl subdial creates a dynamic counterpoint to the Arabic numerals on the chronograph counters; while the double-disc large date display appears through twin apertures 6 o’clock.

The new Chronograph Large Date houses Blancpain Calibre 26F8G, a mechanical self- winding movement composed of 495 parts.

The 38.6 mm-diameter case in 18-carat red gold set with 40 diamonds is water-resistant to 3 bar. Its sapphire back provides an opportunity to admire the finishing lavished on all its parts and reflecting that of all Blancpain movements, as well as to admire the graceful femininity of the petal-shaped oscillating weight. The crown is set with a diamond.

This model, also available in white gold and steel versions, is fitted with a white ostrich leather strap and also comes complete with a second strap in a different colour and material.
While Blancpain has been a pioneer in the history of mechanical ladies’watches, the latest launches from the Manufacture in Le Brassus focus more specifically on finesse and elegance. Conceived, devised and developed in a resolutely feminine spirit,the new BLANCPAIN WOMEN collection unveils new timepieces dedicated to beauty,subtlety and grace.

Ever since 1930, Blancpain has been firmly convinced that women are well able to appreciate the know-how and the magic of mechanical horology. The Blancpain tradition of feminine Haute Horlogerie timepieces is thus no recent development, but instead boasts a rich and diverse history. Over the past 75 years, Blancpain’s numerous achievements in this field have included the first ladies’self-winding wristwatch, the smallest round movement and more recently the world’s thinnest perpetual calendar. For the past few years, Blancpain has also regularly made its mark on lovers’calendars by designing exclusive limited edition Valentine’s Day timepieces. From an initial role as a purely functional object, the wristwatch has become a piece of jewellery or an accessory accompanying a particular clothing style. This graceful transformation has proved fundamental to contemporary watchmaking. And it is obviously not by chance that many women’s hearts have for decades been beating to the gentle rhythms of mechanical Blancpain movements.

While the Blancpain ladies’models created in the past can lay claim to many world firsts, the Manufacture had never yet dedicated an entire collection to women. For the very first time and coinciding with the arrival of spring, Blancpain is revealing how it has imagined and developed its approach to feminine mechanical timepieces. Far from being mere reductions or adaptations of existing men’s watches, the three first models making up this collection were specifically developed to meet the expectations and desires of contemporary women. The hours of the BLANCPAIN WOMEN collection are exclusively feminine. Remaining steadfastly faithful to its roots in the Vallée de Joux, Blancpain has endowed each of its women’s watches with a meticulously hand-finished and decorated mechanical self-winding movement. Nonetheless, the Manufacture is now exploring an entirely new path by creating a collection that is completely innovative in terms of its aesthetics.

Meeting a broad range of aspirations

Entirely certain of women’s deep-felt attachment to these marvels of mechanical miniaturisation, Blancpain has expended a good deal of energy in developing this new collection. While undeniably unique, BLANCPAIN WOMEN seeks to capture the diversity of modern women’s daily lives through the variety of its expressions. In defining this array of different spirits and characters, Blancpain almost instinctively looked to nature for inspiration. The wondrous perfection and diversity of the floral universe fired its imagination and determined the themes for the collection dedicated to femininity. Several flowers thus became the expression of a symbolic design within the collection. Convinced that women will appreciate the hand-crafted finishing and fine decoration that Blancpain lavishes upon its movements, Blancpain has outfitted all models in the BLANCPAIN WOMEN collection with a sapphire crystal case-back. As on all Blancpain movements, decorative operations such as “Côtes de Genève” circular graining, bevelling, polishing and engraving are all performed entirely by hand, in keeping with the noblest traditions of horological excellence.

BLANCPAIN WOMEN “Camélia”:The vivid charms of the camellia

For a woman who desires a timepiece to express a more informal and dynamic lifestyle, Blancpain offers three bold and exuberant flyback chronographs. The fact that the chronograph is one of the most attractive mechanical complications owes less to the use one actually makes of it than to the sheer pleasure it procures. Measuring time, pretending to stop it and playing with the passing seconds bring an immediate sense of satisfaction! Since time is such a rare commodity these days, one might as well enjoy taming it in style and mastering it in entertaining ways. Heralding spring and the bursting of new life, the camellia breathes a heady fragrance through this chronograph. Broad and robust, its sheer magnificence expresses the vigorous side of this collection. While these timepieces incorporate traditional Blancpain styling cues and accents, the chronographs in the collection deliberately steer away from their masculine counterparts by adopting new stylised Arabic numerals and elegant hollowed hands. Displaying round, generous forms enhanced by its classic characteristic double stepped motif, the steel case measuring 34 mm in diameter is water-resistant to 100 metres. This same motif, replicated around the counters at 3, 6 and 9 o’clock, highlights the overall effect. A fine circular pattern decorates both the counters and the rim of the dial. Subtly highlighting the femininity of these flyback chronographs, the hand-sewn crocodile leather strap is cut at right angles so that the principle line of the scales flows along the length, rather than across the band. Like the camellia, a symbol of excellence and longevity that is reputed for its perfect shapes, the new “Camélia” Flyback Chronograph houses a precious heart. Women who love the great outdoors will also appreciate the fine hand finishing of the calibre F185 movement which offers them the smooth chronograph pusher feel which only a column wheel system, bearing the exclusive stamp of Haute Horlogerie chronographs, can procure. In addition to displaying the chronograph functions and indications, this complex mechanism also shows the hours, minutes, small seconds and a date window at 6 o’clock.

Perfect finishing touches

The entire BLANCPAIN WOMEN collection is equipped with the brand-new folding clasp system for the straps. Built with double folding arms engraved with the decorative Blancpain logo, each side is guided into place by a cleverly integrated spring, making the clasp look exactly like a classic pin buckle. To further integrate these fine timepieces into the lifestyle of today’s women, Blancpain has re-invented the presentation box that accompanies each watch. Fashioned out of marbled maple wood, this elegant showcase also provides storage space for other fine jewellery creations.

With the launch of its new BLANCPAIN WOMEN collection, the Manufacture in Le Brassus is clearly expressing its perception of the multiple facets of modern women, while leading Haute Horlogerie to the place where traditional mechanical watchmaking values and the aesthetic demands of contemporary femininity meet and mingle in perfect harmony.

Next page →