I’d like to tip my hat to Blancpain for bringing out their newest interpretation of their dive watch classic – the Fifty Fathoms timepiece. Except that this “newest” interpretation is really a tribute to the OLD Blancpain Fifty Fathoms watch, a divers tool which in horological lore is one of THE first two modern divers watches ever made. (The other being the Rolex Submariner) One of the great watches of the 1950’s, the Blancpain Fifty Fathoms watch vies with the Rolex as being “THE” original divers watch, and was a favored companion of the legendary Jacques Cousteau.
I love the fine details of this “new-old” Blancpain Fifty Fathoms watch, like the elegantly simple dial that is functional, easy to read in any light condition, yet exudes the classic “tool watch” aesthetic back from the bygone day when a mechanical dive watch was an essential part of a diver’s equipment. The highlight of the watch, however, is that stunning black rotating bezel, which is made from sapphire–it has an amazing lustre to it, while being a respectful homage to the original, right down to the diamond marker at the 12 o’clock position. The Frederic Piguet movement has been given a subtle, satinated finish (rather than decorated with Geneva stripes), that reflects the more sporty character of the watch; even though you won’t see this, since its covered by the engraved case-back, it’s still a really nice touch.
Of course, not ALL is the same. This Blancpain is much more finely finished, expensive and big (45mm) than the original Fifty Fathoms watch, and probably won’t be scraped against coral by many owners, even though it might be capable of such exploits. However, no matter how you might intend to wear it, if you are looking for a high luxury dive timepiece, this new Blancpain Fifty Fathoms watch is the cream of the crop.