Primary Navigation

A Week On The Wrist: The Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe -

A Week On The Wrist: The Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe –

The Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe

History of Fifty Fathoms

The Blancpain Fifty Fathoms was the first present day jump watch. Indeed, you read that accurately. While numerous individuals would naturally give this title to the more well-known Rolex Submariner, the Fifty Fathoms really appeared various developments a year prior to the Submariner. While the first commerical Fifty Fathoms was delivered in 1953, the story goes somewhat further back than that. Chief Robert Maloubier and Lieutenant Claude Riffaud, commanders of the French Combat Diving School, were searching for a reason assembled watch to put on the wrist of the best jump officers on the planet and couldn’t discover anything to suit their requirements. Keep in mind, as of now there were no jump computers and a watch was totally essential for guaranteeing both individual wellbeing and composed planning during troublesome missions. They drew up certain requirements for this ideal watch and shopped it around to different companies, however none wanted to put resources into what they saw as a niche market. Fortunately, Blancpain CEO Jean-Jacques Fiechter was an ardent jumper and chosen to collaborate with the commanders to make the watch they needed.

Early Blancpain Fifty Fathoms via

This watch resembled nothing that had come previously. For one thing, it was 41mm in measurement – totally huge for the time. Part of the explanation behind this size was to prepare for the outer pivoting bezel, the first of its sort. This bezel would allow the jumper to fix up the 12 o’clock triangle with the minutes hand when beginning a plunge, making it simple to see the quantity of passed minutes underwater. The splendid, enormous markings were vital to intelligibility at depth.

Readability was justifiably perhaps the main rules for the Fifty Fathoms. The dull dial had enormous iridescent markings in various shapes to make perusing initially simple. There was an enormous arrow at 12 o’clock, square shapes at 3, 6, and 9, and circles in between, in addition to the wide hands and pointed seconds hand. Not much and nothing to occupy from the time display.

Fifty Fathoms 

Water obstruction was additionally a genuine concern. The huge case had a screw down case back that held an automatic development inside – another first for a jump watch. The thought here is that a physically wound development required tinkering with the crown, which would make wear the twofold o-ring lock on the crown. By making the watch self-winding, Blancpain guaranteed jumpers would not need to open the crown but to reset the time, and the pair of o-rings would be more dependable after some time. The first Fifty Fathoms couldn’t utilize a screw-down crown, which you may have expected to see, on the grounds that at the time Rolex actually held the patent on the mechanism. As the name infers, the watch was water impervious to Fifty Fathoms, which is about 91m or 300ft. At that point, this was probably as profound as possible securely go with a compressed air tank, so this watch was appropriate for essentially any plunge application. An enemy of magnetic development defender polished things off inside the case to guarantee precision around hefty combat machinery.

It is from these initial 1953 Fifty Fathoms that most current plunge watches spring. In any case, even within the Fifty Fathoms family itself, there have been numerous varieties throughout the long term, utilized by everybody from worldwide exceptional powers to regular citizens working work area occupations. Military details during the 1950s and 60s required the brilliant materials on the watch dials to be radioactive so it would always glow, despite the fact that this was knowingly hurtful to the wearer. For the non military personnel models, Blancpain obviously denoted the dials at 6 o’clock with the now-popular “No Radiation” logo to comfort clients’ brains. On about Fifty Fathoms you will see a comparative circle without the logo – this is a stickiness finder, which turns blue in the event that it gets wet, making the wearer aware of a breach for the situation’s seal.

Jacques Cousteau through The Washington Post

Jacques Cousteau wore a Fifty Fathoms in “Quiet World,” his generally renowned (and award winning) film. A progression of “Aqua Lung” Fifty Fathoms were delivered and sold close by the Cousteau Aqua Lung jump equipment and a recognition Aqua Lung is in the current Blancpain line-up. There are likewise Blancpain Fifty Fathoms bearing a Tornek-Rayville signature on the dial, made explicitly for the US Navy. Just around 1000 at any point existed and finding a genuine one fit as a fiddle can be truly troublesome. There are numerous different varieties and irregular references, however these are the most well known and collectable.

The Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe

But the watch this 60th commemoration accolade depends on is the Bathyscaphe, first delivered at some point in the last part of the 1950s and named for the submarine lodge in which jumpers could investigate portions of the sea excessively profound for an uncovered jumper. The Bathyscaphe was enlivened by Jacques Piccard, the Swiss wayfarer who slid into the Marianas Trench in 1960 in the bathyscaphe Trieste with fellow pioneer Don Walsh. Expected for use in a sub, the Bathyscaphe was made in a more modest size more demonstrative of the style of the time (35-38mm) however was as yet a vigorous jump watch. The new Bathyscaphe combines various highlights from these firsts with present day jump watch technology to bring about a watch that is plainly an accolade without being a straightforward rerelease.

The Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe

The Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe

The Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe was revealed back in April at the Basel World reasonable in Switzerland and promptly we knew this was a watch worth investigating. It brings something new to the current Fifty Fathoms family by reviewing some critical highlights from the first Bathyscaphes without absolutely surrendering the signs of the cutting edge collection. 

13.4mm Thick 43mm Case With Faceted Lugs And NATO Strap

Let’s beginning with the general size. At 43mm in width and 13.4mm thick, this is in no way, shape or form a little watch. All things considered, it is a recognizable 2mm more modest than the current essential Fifty Fathoms, which comes in at 45mm. The example we have here is brushed treated steel, which gives a more vintage look than the cleaned steel cases you’ll discover on numerous cutting edge jumpers. There is additionally a ceramised titanium variant accessible. The drags are pleasantly inclined and faceted, with sharp edges that catch the light barely enough to add some intrigue to the general profile of the Bathyscaphe. 

Bathyscaphe Signature And Date Window

The Bathyscaphe’s dial is a radially brushed dim and it bears basic white marks – “Blancpain Fifty Fathoms” at 12 o’clock and “Bathyscaphe” at 6 o’clock. The hour markers are elongated square shapes at 3, 6, 9, and 12, and circles at different hours. All are iridescent with cleaned white gold encompasses, impersonating the round markers on the first Bathyscaphes . The hands are also vintage-roused, with radiant rectangular shafts and slim metallic tips. The seconds hand has an iridescent spot that sits right inside the hour markers and a splendid red tip for improved clarity. A date window is wrapped up between 4 and 5 o’clock and it mixes pleasantly into the dial except if you’re searching for it.

The Blancpain Bathyscaphe Bezel

The bezel is a significant piece of any Fifty Fathoms watch. On this Bathyscape there is a unidirectional bezel with one-minute graduations, longer hash denotes like clockwork, numerals at 15, 30, and 45, and a glowing speck in a jewel at 60/0. The metallic numbers and markings are a compound considered Liquidmetal that sits flush in the fired bezel embed, housed in a steel bezel. Polishing no longer working on this issue is a huge crown with no gatekeepers that screws down for security.

Calibre 1315, Through The Sapphire Caseback

Powering the Bathyscaphe is Blancpain’s in-house automatic Caliber 1315. The 227 component development has a power hold of 120 hours (5 days). It is somewhat Spartan looking with spotless, insignificant enrichment. This unquestionably appears to be intentional instead of a side effect of lethargy, and many would say returning a sapphire on a jump watch like this is pointless out and out. The silicon balance spring gives assurance from magnetic interruption, giving recognition to the first enemy of magnetic Fifty Fathoms with a new technological development.

Nato Strap With Leather Reinforcement

The last touch here is the lash. While an essential cushioned material tie is an alternative, we went for the unique Blancpain NATO, addressing the military legacy of the Fifty Fathoms. The NATO is thick and tough, with cowhide encompassing the clasp openings, and the actual hardware is thick brushed tempered steel with Blancpain marking. This is one genuine strap. 

On The Wrist

While on paper the Bathyscaphe looked incredible, the genuine question was how this watch would wear. I took the watch with me out traveling to the Cote d’Azur, home of the combat plunging school for which the first Fifty Fathoms was considered. There could have been no more excellent spot to get a feeling of what this watch is about and to perceive how it performed both all through water.

The Bathyscaphe On The Wrist

When I previously tied the Bathyscaphe to my wrist, the size promptly appeared as though it planned to be an issue. Customary HODINKEE perusers will probably know at this point that I have tiny wrists and that 43mm is a great deal of watch for me. However, the drags are pleasantly molded and combined with the adaptable NATO tie keep the Bathyscaphe quite consistent. Wearing the watch for a week, I began to become accustomed to the bigger case size, yet I would in any case have favored a more modest size, particularly for a vintage-enlivened piece this way. However, 43mm is in no way, shape or form upsettingly huge for most buyers of plunge watches. Indeed, it’s likely the norm.

The finish on the dial is truly wonderful. In the sun the brushing looks truly striking and has a great deal of surface, while in the shade and inside it’s more inconspicuous and controlled. This is one of those dials that you can continue taking a gander at again and again, finding new things each time. I’m not ordinarily an aficionado of putting white gold around hour markers, inclining toward matte dials all things considered, however on this watch these markers bode well. The first Bathyscaphes were a portion of the main watches to utilize this style and it would do the recognition an injury to forget about them, yet customer buzz would say that individuals as a group would favor this dial with somewhat less flash. 

The Bathyscaphe’s Dial In The Sunlight

Readability during the day is incredible and the cleaned encompasses and hand edges nearly glow when the sun is sparkling. All things considered, this watch endures somewhat in obscurity. The white gold encompasses imply that you get less lume in each hour marker, so perusing them as they become dimmer is extreme. Also, the hours and minutes hands are close fit as a fiddle, which, while not an immense issue during the day, implies you frequently need to look somewhat nearer in obscurity. A few times I wound up eating outside and having to truly squint to determine what time it was.

My greatest complaint with the Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe is the bezel. Perhaps the most particular highlights of the vintage Fifty Fathoms is the strong bezel and this one appears to be a little weak in comparison. The 60-minute degree (rather than just enormous hashes at 10-minute spans in addition to numerals at 15, 30, and 45) has recorded point of reference, so I’m not as much worried about that as I am with the extents and the wrapping up. Notwithstanding being a little slight, the combination of Liquidmetal and Ceramic is amazingly glossy. While it is planned to be completely scratch and scraped area safe, this removes a portion of the crude character that makes the Fifty Fathoms so cool. In conclusion, the lock mechanism is amazingly secure however this makes tapping the bezel on the uproarious side.

The Bathyscaphe On NATO Strap

One of the highlights that drew us to the Bathyscaphe at Baselworld was certainly the very good quality translation of the NATO tie. You know that group HODINKEE are enormous fanatics of these essential nylon ties, particularly on vintage plunge and military watches. The Fifty Fathoms is here and there the ideal NATO watch. The Blancpain NATO is incredibly well made, with stitched cowhide around the openings to forestall fraying and substantial hardware that you know is going to last. It is difficult to envision a preferable made NATO over this.

At $10,500 in steel and $12,000 in titanium, the Bathyscaphe positively falls into the extravagance sport watch class, however walking along the beaches of Nice, Cannes, and Villefranche, it seemed like simply the watch for the event. However, as I referenced above, I would incline toward a marginally closer similarity to the prior Fifty Fathoms, this watch does in any case have a ton of that cool-factor that individuals love such a great amount in the firsts. There is certainly something about this watch that causes it to appear to be a cutting edge jump watch for the man aware of everything, instead of something more commercial or commonly worn. 

The Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe On The Wrist

The Competition

The most recent couple of years have seen a small bunch of brands thinking back and delivering present day forms of their most praised vintage pieces, and a few of them can be viewed as immediate competitors to this watch. Jaeger-LeCoultre has the Deep Sea Chronograph , which at $10,800 could be viewed as the most immediate competitor with the Bathyscaphe when it comes to the combination of styling and cost. This offers a ton of a similar vintage bid, however with an alternate combination of matte and cleaned surfaces. Besides it’s a chronograph.

Looking to other value classes however, there is obviously the Tudor Pelagos . At $4,125, it comes in at not exactly a large portion of the cost of the Bathyscaphe. Without a doubt, it is powered by an ETA development and does not have the hand-completing you’ll discover on the Bathyscaphe, yet it’s hard to completely disregard the Pelagos in case we’re taking a gander at present accessible jump watches with vintage styling. For a marginally closer comparison there is the current Rolex Submariner Date, retailing for $8,850. This is as yet about a 10% value distinction, which while not enormous, is sufficient to inspire a subsequent look, particularly when we’re discussing such a benchmark product.

In expansion to the vintage claim, the Bathyscaphe is by all accounts situated as an extravagance jump watch, which presents various different comparisons. Despite the fact that it is discernibly more costly at $16,900 in tempered steel, there is the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak, the first extravagance sport watch. Without a doubt, it is certainly an altogether different look and feel, however it is one you need to at any rate consider when discussing very good quality game watches. Furthermore, of there is the Royal Oak Offshore Diver, as well .

So what does the Bathyscaphe bring that separates it from the competition? Well, it is a Fifty Fathoms. It is the most recent individual from a line that stretches back to the actual rise of the cutting edge plunge watch. This watch takes those spearheading watches and gives them new life. There is surely a great deal to be said for that. It likewise combines little touches that make it plainly an extravagance watch – white gold encompasses, hand-completed development and case, and lovely dial – with all the utility and solidness you anticipate from an apparatus watch.


The Blancpain Fifty Fathoms has a stunning history and is actually an overlooked symbol in the watch world. It started as a genuine military plunge instrument and afterward proceeded to investigate the most profound profundities of our planet’s seas. It doesn’t get much cooler than that. It’s incredible to see Blancpain commending the 60th commemoration by honoring these early jumpers. Also, it’s extraordinary to see marks when all is said in done paying attention to authorities and starting to reach once more into the archives to create watches that all the more intently take after those made during the game watch greatness days of the 1960s and 70s. 

Even with the reactions referenced over, this is as yet a pleasant delivery from Blancpain and one that checks the cases in case you’re searching for a combination of present day highlights and vintage styling in a plunge watch. This is likewise certainly my #1 individual from the current Fifty Fathoms family. Is this a plunge watch for everybody? No. In any case, for the person who sees himself wearing the Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe, that is definitely essential for the appeal.

The Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe as reviewed here is accessible for $10,500 with a titanium choice additionally accessible for $12,000. You can locate all the subtleties from Blancpain here . 


-Vintage-Inspired Styling

-Brushed Steel Case With Nice Faceted Lugs

-Faithful In Many Ways To Original Bathyscaphe

-Fun To Wear 

-Superlative NATO Strap

-In-House Blancpain Movement With Silicon Balance Spring


-Shiny Bezel A Little Thin And Loud

-43mm Size Too Big For Some

-Can Be Difficult To Read At Night

-High Price Relative To Competition

-Dial And Hand Design A Little Clumsy