Blancpain has some history with making tool watches for the military. It famously created the Fifty Fathoms diver’s — among the first dive watches to hit the market during the mid-19th century — for the French Navy in 1953. The Fifty Fathoms was the first diver with a uni-directional bezel, a critical feature of dive watches today.
This year, Blancpain has introduced two models that pay tribute to this unique diving legacy, two watches that honor the long history of military partnerships and scuba diving which have formed the foundation of the collection’s legacy. The first of these watches is the “Nageurs de Combat” watch, a 300-piece limited-edition run designed to evoke the origins of the Fifty Fathoms line.
The second of these pieces is the Fifty Fathoms Barakuda re-edition that is limited to 500 pieces. This neo-vintage piece is inspired by a Fifty Fathoms model that was supplied for the German Bunesmarine and civilian market in the late 1960s via Barakuda – a company which specialized in the production and marketing of technical diving equipment in the country.
The 300-meter water resistant watch uses a 40-mm brushed steel case with a unidirectional bezel that features a domed sapphire insert. On its black dial, the Barakuda uses rectangular markers for each of the hours, with larger markers for the quarter positions and white tick marks to indicate the minutes. At the 3 o’clock position is a white outlined date window, while pencil hour and minute hands and an arrow tipped seconds hand sweep over it for the time. Throughout the design is the use of red and “old-radium” Super-LumiNova accenting, drawing influence from the aged look of vintage models.
Powering this model is automatic Caliber 1151, an automatic movement beating at 3Hz (21,600 vph) and a 100-hour power reserve thanks to a twin-barrel architecture. This model is limited to 500 pieces and is priced at CHF14,500.