Blancpain Fifty Fathoms - Vintage Divers Wristwatch - Rare No Radiations Dial - c.1955
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A Very Rare Blancpain, the Iconic Fifty Fathoms Deep Sea Divers Watch from c.1955, in Remarkable Condition with the Famous 'No Rad' Emblem and Beautiful Bakelite Bezel. Serial No: 300XXX. Adjusted to three positions.
The world looked very different in the early fifties than it did during the war with the rebuilding of Europe well underway. The military now tasked themselves with the exploration of new forms of combat which included underwater missions. The French Forces Elite Diving Corps was established by the French government in 1952 and was led by Captain Robert “Bob” Maloubier whose job was to source the scuba equipment needed for such missions. After an unsuccessful dalliance with another manufacturer, Maloubier eventually crossed paths with Blancpain’s then Co-CEO Jean-Jacques Fiechter who was himself was a keen diver.
Fiechter developed and patented a double sealed crown that would maintain the watch’s water resistance even if the crown was accidentally pulled out during a dive. Fiechter also obtained a patent that addressed a common flaw with screw-down case backs at that time. Basically, when the caseback was screwed into place the “O” ring seal beneath it that sealed the caseback was unreliable. His solution involved placing the “O” ring in a channel with a metallic ring on top to hold it in position, this ensured a strong seal when the caseback was screwed down, which was simple but so effective.
Fiechter delivered 20 watches for rigorous testing, having performed exceptionally well, they went on to become the official watch of the French combat diving corps with other militaries following suit fairly quickly.
And that, in short, is the story of the iconic Fifty Fathoms.
Side Note: The “Fifty Fathoms” name came from the watch's depth rating, which at the time, was considered to be the maximum depth (just over 90 meters) that a diver could safely reach while using a single-use oxygen source.
What’s On Offer
An incredibly beautiful example of the iconic dive watch from Blancpain. A most sought-after watch boasting the famous 'No Radiations' emblem at 6 o'clock, this is a real collector's piece in remarkable condition. The dial is in cracking condition with nicely aged and fully intact lume plots that have taken on a tasty caramel tone. The white pencil hands with sweeping spearhead seconds hand really stand proud against the black dial and also have beautiful lume which has aged to a fabulous shade of flaxen.
The Bakelite bezel is in excellent shape with no blemishes to speak of and certainly no cracks which is critical when looking for one of these rare watches. The case is also looking good and in excellent condition. The meaty proportions make this a really contemporary wearing watch in size terms as well as aesthetics.
You will struggle to find a nicer example of this iconic reference, we will be sad to see this watch leave us. The watch will also come with an appraisal from Blancpain in Switzerland so please buy with confidence, this is a very original and honest watch that has been in the same family for over 40 years!
Case: Stainless Steel
Bracelet: Chocolate Rubber on Pin Buckle
Movement Type: Mechanical
Waterproof: When New
Condition: Superb - 9/10
Model Reference: Fifty Fathoms
Date of issue: c.1955
Guarantee: 12 Months by VWS
Width (without crown): 41mm
Lug width: 19.8mm
Lug height: (lug to lug) 51mm
Wrist size: Adjustable