Classical sport-luxury watches on bracelets are having a moment in today’s trend-centric watch world, and one of the category’s pioneers, the Blancpain Fifty Fathoms, joins the party with three new models whose lightweight yet robust brushed titanium cases are mounted on specially created link bracelets in the same material.
Two of the new references hail from the mainline Fifty Fathoms Automatique series, with their traditional three-hand time display and an unobtrusive date window at 4:30; the third is a new version of the Fifty Fathoms Grande Date, whose date indicator is more prominent and placed in a double aperture at 6 o’clock. All the models, whose 45-mm titanium cases have previously been available on sailcloth NATO straps, are attached to new three-row titanium bracelets whose satin-brushed links are connected through a series of transverse pins, allowing a high degree of fluidity and flexibility on the wrist. Based on a patented system, the mostly lateral screws are placed on the back of the links to preserve the smoothness of the bracelet edges. The sunburst dials of the new Automatique models are in black or blue; the Grande Date’s dial is black.
All three watches feature the Fifty Fathoms collection’s hallmark unidirectional dive-scale bezel, with a scratch-resistant sapphire insert, and familiar dial elements such as the wedge-shaped hour indices and large, syringe-shaped hands, all coated with Super-LumiNova. Inside the Automatique models is Blancpain’s Caliber 1315, an automatic, in-house movement notable for its five-day power reserve stored in three series-coupled barrels and its antimagnetic silicon balance spring. The Caliber 6918B inside the Grande Date model is a modified version of the 1315, replacing the conventional 4:30 date display with the larger date numerals at 6 o’clock.
The Blancpain Fifty Fathoms, first brought to market in 1953, is regarded by many as “the first modern divers’ watch” due to its then-unprecedented water resistance and its pioneering unidirectional bezel. Less widely known is that Blancpain is one of the first watch firms to use titanium, as early as the 1960s. The MIL-SPEC models Blancpain made for U.S. Navy minesweeper teams during that era had cases of nickel silver and casebacks made of titanium, which was used at the time mainly in the aerospace industry and very rare in watchmaking.
The new Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Automatique and Grande Date models on bracelets are priced at $18,300. For more detail on the original Fifty Fathoms Automatique in titanium, click here.
Do these have a display case back?
The Fifty Fathoms certainly deserves it’s place in history. Rolex had already sent it’s watch to the bottom of the Mariana Trench and then later released the Submariner which I think had trumped anything the Fifty Fathoms had done – albeit both developed independently…
The Oyster case was already well proven in 1926…
The Fifty-Fathoms has always had an iconic presence. The new models retain that look. However, at the price they are being offered they become a parody of themselves. Blows any interest. $18,300, really? Stupidity destroys common sense once more. Good going Swatch.
I like Swatch Group brands like Blancpain and Glashütte Original SeaQ Panorama Date. I think the bracelet is the X-71 for the Automatique and X-70 for Bathyscaphe. The only problems is the clasp not having any tool-free adjustment (micro-adjust like the 5mm Rolex ‘Easylink’ or the 20mm in 10 X 2mm increments Glidelock.
They are better at 45mm for dial visibility: the Rolex disks are too small on the 40mm Submariner and not a lot larger on the 43mm Sea-Dweller and 44mm Deepsea.