This year, Blancpain is presenting a one-of-a-kind model watch for Only Watch 2017. The Blancpain Tribute to Fifty Fathoms MIL-SPEC is a modern take on the Blancpain Fifty Fathoms. Though the original Blancpain Fifty Fathoms, originally launched in 1953, was the pioneering diving watch, this modern interpretation can definitely hold its own.
60 Years Of History Encapsulated
In 1953, Jean-Jacques Fiechter, Blancpain’s then-CEO and a pioneer of leisure scuba diving, launched the original Fifty Fathoms. The French Navy’s combat swimmers corps in the early 1950s wore the Fifty Fathoms on their dives, a clear indicator of the watch’s utility.
In a further nod to purpose, Jean-Jacques Fiechter endowed the model with an additional feature: a water-resistance indicator. If any liquid were by chance to sep into the watch case, a two-tone disk at 6 o’clock would signal the problem by changing from white to red. This timepiece, named the Fifty Fathoms MIL-SPEC 1, was adopted by the American Navy in 1957-58.
It is this version of the Fifty Fathoms that has inspired the Tribute to Fifty Fathoms MIL-SPEC, which came into production this year.
Unique to Only Watch 2017
Though the Tribute to Fifty Fathoms MIL-SPEC is a limited edition timepiece, with 500 pieces available, Blancpain has produced an extra special edition for Only Watch 2017.
The Tribute to Fifty Fathoms MIL-SPEC “Only Watch unique piece” is equipped with self-winding caliber 1151. This comprises 210 components, notably including two series-coupled mainspring barrels which ensure a four-day power reserve. The movement is nestled in a 40mm stainless steel case. You can take a peek at the movement through the transparent sapphire case back, which also reveals the solid gold winding rotor with NAC coating. If you’re wondering what that is, it’s a ruthenium-based alloy.
The watch is also engraved for the occasion with the name “Only Watch”, as well as the Blancpain logo.
In terms of technical specifications, the timepiece features the entire set of diving watch technical characteristics. These characteristics were established by the original 1953 Fifty Fathoms, and subsequently adopted by the entire watch industry.
For this one-of-a-kind model, the black dial features hour-markers and hands in a bright yellow shade of Super-LumiNova. This shade evokes the Only Watch visual identity, a familiar sight if you’ve seen the website. The date is also yellow, and the water-resistance indicator once again appears at 6 o’clock.
The black unidirectional rotating bezel also bears luminescent yellow markings, and is topped by a scratch-resistant sapphire ring. This ring is an innovative feature that serves to protect it from wear, and also features in the 50th Anniversary Fifty Fathoms.
Going back to the Only Watch unique piece, it’s also water-resistant to 30 bar, equivalent to approximately 300 meters, and will be auctioned with a NATO strap.
A Unique Double Blancpain Experience
In addition to acquiring this one-of-a-kind model, the lucky purchaser of this watch will have a unique opportunity! They will get to enjoy a true Blancpain experience.
First off, they will get a chance to learn the technique of static apnea under the guidance of Gianluca Genoni. The champion and ambassador for Blancpain holds 18 apnea world records. These include 160 meters in depth and a time of 18 minutes and 3 seconds.
In addition, Blancpain is also offering a discovery tour of its workshops. Given that Blancpain is the oldest watch brand in the world, this would be quite the experience indeed. The lucky owner of the Only Watch unique piece will get to see where horological complications have been coming to life for more than 280 years.