Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Tourbillon - a Dive into Horological Luxury

Oct 03, 2007
Really knowledgeable in the development of complicated watches, Blancpain created the first modern diver's watch, the renowned 'Fifty Fathoms', in 1953. Today the Manufacture in Le Brassus has written a new page in the story of this nautical sports legend, having introduced its Fifty Fathoms Tourbillon, a watch created as a dazzling demonstration of the brand's know-how in the field of horological complications.

The Blancpain Fifty Fathoms watch collection story started in 1952 when Captain 'Bob' Maloubier and lieutenant Claude Riffaud were commissioned by the French Ministry of Defense to form an elite unit of 'Combat Divers'. The captain and lieutenant could not find a watch created to withstand the extreme conditions implied by underwater missions. They asked Blancpain to develop a watch that would comprise a specific set of technical features, including the groundbreaking unidirectional bezel. The brand's watchmakers and engineers developed a masterpiece that rightfully became the archetypal diver's watch with water resistance guaranteed to a depth of 50 fathoms (91.45 m), the feature that suggested the collection's name.

Blancpain Fifty Fathoms were soon highly appreciated for extreme reliability and sturdiness by the special forces of several countries and then used by specialists in the field of ocean exploration. The Fifty Fathoms were also the choice of the crew of Jacques Cousteau and Louis Malle during 'World of Silence' movie shooting.

The Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Tourbillon has incorporated one of the brand's specialties - the 'flying' tourbillon, with the tiny carriage that spins on its axis once a minute and is mounted on a single side, provided with no supporting bridge, so it seems to be floating in space. The perfectly designed ethereal construction follows the success of the thinnest flying tourbillon ever created that stunned the horology world in 1989. Now the Fifty Fathoms Tourbillon is presented through a large round opening featured at 12 o'clock and is set off against the black dial base.

The Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Tourbillon sports a sapphire case-back that allows to admire the complex beauty of its 234-part movement, offering 300-meter water resistance. The automatic caliber with flying tourbillon regulator provides 8-day power reserve. It features finishing details that reflect the best watchmaking traditions and is equipped with an oscillating weight specially designed for this watch model.

The 45 mm-diameter case of the Fifty Fathoms Tourbillon is crafted in red or white gold. Besides water-resistance, the timepiece sports important characteristics of a diver's watch that forged the prestigious reputation of the original Fifty Fathoms and reflect the brand's experience in the field of diving:

  • oversized hour-markers and hands for optimal readability

  • black dial and bezel color with the contrasting luminescent indications

  • rotating bezel with notched profile for comfortable handling.

The unidirectional rotating system of the bezel eliminates the risk of any accidental extension of the dive times. The bezel is crafted from the extremely hard scratch-resistant sapphire. It features a slightly cambered effect reducing its vulnerability to shocks and is characterized by luxurious finishing.

The Blancpain specialists have thoroughly re-examined every detail of the Fifty Fathoms to optimize the watch's performance and fine-tune its distinctive design. To guarantee supreme readability in any conditions, Blancpain has opted for a new shade of luminescent coating of the markings on the bezel and of the hands. The user-friendliness of the watch is created due to trapeze hour-markers featured on the sunburst-effect black dial, and graduated scale for the last fifteen minutes on the bezel.

The case of the Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Tourbillon is provided with crown guards to improve the security of the essential component. The irresistible charm of the Blancpain watch is also maintained due to the new water-resistant strap in rubber-lined black canvas. The pin buckle of the rugged strap is embellished with a trapeze matching the hour-markers' design.

Look through a fine selection of Blancpain watches:

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posted by: / Oct 03, 2007

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