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Blancpain Launch Fifty Fathoms 70th Anniversary Act 1 with Exclusive 42mm Case

Blancpain Fifty Fathoms 70th Anniversary

Is the Blancpain Fifty Fathoms the most iconic diving watch in history? It’s quite possible, after all it was the favoured watch of the most iconic diver in history, Jacques Cousteau. Admittedly there’s stiff competition from the likes of the Rolex Submariner and Doxa Sub, which were also Cousteau staples, however in 2023 the Fifty Fathoms holds a special place in watchmaking as it celebrates its 70th anniversary. In honour of the occasion, Blancpain has launched the new Fifty Fathoms 70th Anniversary Act 1, a limited edition in three series.

The big headline is that this is the first modern Fifty Fathoms with a 42mm diameter case. It’s a midway point between the 45mm dimensions of the standard version and the 40mm of the limited editions. It’s a major step forward for the collection as 42mm is an incredibly popular size for dive watches, balancing wearability and practicality. Larger watches are easier to read underwater but tend to be cumbersome on land, so 42mm is the best of both worlds.

Blancpain Fifty Fathoms 50th Anniversary

The original Fifty Fathoms, 1953.

Aesthetically, it pays homage to the 2003 50th anniversary model, which was itself a tribute to the original 1953 Fifty Fathoms. What that means is a stainless steel case topped with a unidirectional rotation domed sapphire bezel. The bezel’s diving scale and the block hour markers on the black sunburst dial are slightly faded to give a vintage impression. They’re also coated with luminescent material for superb legibility in the dark.

Across the dial, it features the inscription “70th Anniversary Series I”. Naturally, this changes to “Series II” or “Series III” depending on which 70-piece set it comes from. Each of the series is dedicated to a global region, EMEA, Asia-Pacific and the Americas. Unless you intend to add all three to your collection, this feels like an irrelevant detail and a nice clean inscription would serve just as well, such as that engraved on the rotor.

Blancpain Fifty Fathoms 70th Anniversary (4)

Speaking of the rotor, flipping the watch over reveals a sapphire exhibition caseback, highlighting the Calibre 1315. Originally launched in 2007, the 1315 continues to be an exemplary movement with its anti-magnetic silicon balance spring and spectacular triple barrel 120-hour power reserve. For the Fifty Fathoms 70th Anniversary Act 1 edition it has a commemorative rotor made from platinum with a slit across the middle. Platinum is the signature material of 70th anniversary celebrations and the slit is a reference to a 1950s innovation that improves the rotor’s shock resistance.

Blancpain Fifty Fathoms 70th Anniversary (1)

The watch is presented on a NATO strap, but this being Blancpain there’s more to it than that. Specifically, it’s a NATO YTT+ strap produced from 100% recycled and recyclable material reclaimed from discarded fishing nets in the ocean. Blancpain are one of the leading watchmakers in the arena of sustainable watchmaking and this sustainable NATO strap initiative will eventually expand to their entire NATO range.

Pre-orders for the three sets of 70 watches go live this month, although you can sign up for early access right now. Additionally, this is only Act 1 of Blancpain’s anniversary watches and more acts are sure to follow, a tantalising prospect to be sure.

Price & Specs:

  • Model: Blancpain Fifty Fathoms 70th Anniversary
  • Ref: 5010A/B/C1130-NABA
  • Case/dial: 42.3mm diameter x 14.30mm thickness, stainless steel case, black dial
  • Water resistance: 300m (30 bar)
  • Movement: Blancpain calibre 1315, automatic, 35 jewels, 227 parts
  • Frequency: 28,800 vph (4 Hz)
  • Power reserve: 120h
  • Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds
  • Strap: Black NATO fabric
  • Price/availability: TBC, limited edition of 210 pieces (70 pieces for each region: EAMA, Asia-Pacific and the Americas), exclusively available for pre-order January 2023 at Blancpain’s website.

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About the author

Michael Sonsino

As Digital Editor for Oracle Time, Michael needs an eye for detail, which makes it a good thing that his twin joys in life are miniatures and watches. He's a lifelong fan of fine timepieces, especially those of a more historic nature - if it has a twist of Art Deco, all the better. Recent purchase: Seiko Prospex 1959 Alpinist Modern Re-Interpretation. Grail watch: Vacheron Constantin Historiques American 1921.