The Blancpain Fifty Fathoms was the first modern diving watch launched in 1953. The original Fifty Fathoms was housed in a steel case with a domed crystal strengthened to withstand the pressure at a depth of at least fifty fathoms —approximately 91 meters. After a few years, the Fifty Fathoms quickly became recognized by divers outside the French Navy and was also adopted by the U.S. Navy Seals and the German and Israeli Navies. In the mid to late 60s, the 'No Radiations' symbol was added to the Fifty Fathoms as a safety measure to differentiate watches made for civilians and those made to meet military standards —in order to meet military standards and achieve the highest luminosity in dark conditions, the watches were typically fitted with a radioactive luminous material.
The Blancpain 'Tribute to Fifty Fathoms' Limited Edition ref. 5015B-1130-52A comes with the same case and movement specifications as the traditional black polished model ref. 5015-1130-52 reviewed here. The two main differences between this limited edition model —besides the obvious 'No Radiations' symbol on the dial— and the traditional Fifty Fathoms, are the bezel and dial configurations. The 'Tribute to Fifty Fathoms' Limited Edition features a bezel with almost an identical configuration to the original Fifty Fathoms No Radiations from the late 60s —different font on the numbers— and the same type of dial configuration with no Arabic numerals at 12, 3, 6 and 9. Additionally, the dial features round superluminova markers instead of applied arrow-shaped markers and date aperture at 3 o'clock with white calendar disc.
The beating heart inside this watch is also the Blancpain calibre 1315 with a 5-day power reserve. The 'Tribute to Fifty Fathoms' is fitted with the same sail-canvas strap —leather lined— equipped with pin buckle. Just like on the traditional Fifty Fathoms, the 'Tribute to Fifty Fathoms' is fitted with an anti-magnetic protective casing to protect its complex calibre from any magnetic fields. The case back is engraved 'Tribute to Fifty Fathoms'.
For those of you always looking for the most interesting limited edition watches, this is a watch that comes with rich history and tradition. If you are tired of wearing common run-of-the-mill diving watches, then it's time for you to add the Blancpain 'Tribute to Fifty Fathoms' Limited Edition to the collection. Now, you better hurry up because finding a brand new one is like finding a needle in a hay stack. Now, just in case you are interested, there's a brand new one sitting at the Tourbillon Boutique Chicago.
Sticker Price $16,100 USD. For more info on Blancpain click here.