FrontRunners: Ancient Mariner

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A number of watch companies are channeling Jacques Cousteau this year, including Blancpain (877.520.1735, www.blancpain.com), which has introduced a 50th-anniversary limited edition of its pioneering Fifty Fathoms watch. The original, which made some well-documented descents with Cousteau in the 1950s, set the standard for nearly every underwater watch since with its luminescent and, most important, unidirectional rotating bezel. The new model, offered in three series, each limited to 50 pieces ($14,500), has been modernized with a new automatic movement and an interchangeable bracelet and rubber strap. However, Blancpain has retained the classic look made memorable in such Cousteau films as The Silent World—much to the delight of armchair divers everywhere.

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