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Blancpain Unveil Bronze Gold MIL-SPEC Inspired Fifty Fathoms 70th Anniversary Act 3

Blancpain Fifty Fathoms 70th Anniversary Act 3

The story of the Fifty Fathoms is one often associated with the golden age of underwater exploration and the figures like Jacques Cousteau who built its reputation for deep diving excellence. It’s a story that started with Jean-Jacques Fichter, the then-CEO of Blancpain, almost running out of air and has led to one of the strongest legacies in watchmaking. But like many an iconic tool watch, there’s more to the Fifty Fathoms than its civilian applications. So, while Blancpain may be celebrating its legacy in a very different way with its Swatch collaboration, the latest Fifty Fathoms 70th Anniversary Act 3 in its ongoing anniversary series takes a very different, military angle.

Blancpain Fifty Fathoms 70th Anniversary Act 3
Blancpain Fifty Fathoms 70th Anniversary Act 3

The original Fifty Fathoms made a splash in 1953, but by 1957 it was the focus of the US Navy. They needed a watch that went beyond capable, a watch that could provide accurate, reliable timekeeping no matter where their divers went or what they had to do. The Fifty Fathoms was to all intents and purposes, the only watch to meet all their criteria – except for one feature that they demanded were added to the watch: a moisture indicator.

Blancpain Fifty Fathoms 70th Anniversary Act 3

Above water, you can usually tell if there’s moisture in your watch from condensation, but deep down it’s much less simple. And so Blancpain added the moisture indicator, something you never want to see go off. On the Fifty Fathoms, it’s the two-part disc at 6 o’clock and shows whether water is getting into your timepiece, thus ruining any semblance of timekeeping. It means that you can cut your losses and get out of the water before you run into trouble – a potentially life-saving element.

Blancpain Fifty Fathoms 70th Anniversary Act 3

That indicator is the focal point of the new Blancpain Fifty Fathoms 70th Anniversary Act 3, a tribute to the non-magnetic MIL-SPEC watches of the US Navy. The black dial and bronze gold case (a version of bronze that won’t discolour your skin) illustrate its prestige nature, but the overall look of the watch is distinctly utilitarian. There’s no superfluous information here, nothing unnecessary.

Blancpain Fifty Fathoms 70th Anniversary Act 3

That case puts 300m of water resistance around the calibre 1154.P2 automatic movement, a 1,000-gauss anti-magnetic calibre with both a silicon balance spring and a superb 100-hour power reserve via its double mainspring. You can see it all through the exhibition caseback.

Blancpain Fifty Fathoms 70th Anniversary Act 3

Seventy years is worth an anniversary – and something like the Fifty Fathoms deserves more than one. It started with a vintage throwback in the Act 1, then delved into modern performance with the Act 2; now Blancpain is exploring its military heritage and the result speaks for itself.

Price & Specs:

  • Model: Blancpain Fifty Fathoms 70th Anniversary Act 3
  • Ref: 5901-5630-NANA
  • Case/dial: 41.3mm diameter x 13.3mm thickness, 9k bronze gold case, matte black dial, moisture indicator
  • Water resistance: 300m (30 bar)
  • Movement: Blancpain calibre 1154.P2, automatic, 28 jewels, 192 parts
  • Frequency: 21,600 vph (3 Hz)
  • Power reserve: 100h
  • Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds
  • Strap: Two-tone NATO fabric with pin buckle
  • Price/availability: £28,200, limited to 555 pieces

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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.