Few watchmakers have a more authentic connection to the ocean than Blancpain. Not only is the Swiss brand credited with creating the first modern dive watch—the iconic Fifty Fathoms, which debuted in 1953—it is a founding partner of the 8-year-old World Ocean Summit (organized by The Economist), and a supporter of a broad array of programs dedicated to raising awareness about ocean-related issues.
“Our aim is to continue the important role played by the Fifty Fathoms watch in the opening of the underwater world, and to share the oceans’ hidden wonders as well as our passion for diving and exploration,” Blancpain CEO Marc Hayek told Robb Report in 2018.
To highlight World Oceans Day, the brand is introducing two new Fifty Fathoms models, the Fifty Fathoms Automatique and the Fifty Fathoms Grande Date, now available with titanium bracelets as opposed to simply sail canvas and NATO straps.
Blancpain first used the lightweight metal in the early 1960s, when it produced a special series of MIL-SPEC II models for US Navy minesweeper teams fitted with titanium case backs. Now, the brand has used its expertise with the famously hard-to-work material to create bracelets featuring hand satin-brushed links joined by transverse pins. The patented technique, which features screws on the back of the links, is designed to allow for a more flexible, better-fitting bracelet.
Like all Fifty Fathoms, the two latest versions are endowed with Super-LumiNova hour markers, hands that place a premium on legibility, a unidirectional rotating bezel and a scratch-resistant sapphire insert. Housed in 45 mm titanium cases, the pieces are water-resistant to 30 bar (approx. 300 meters).
Both are equipped with in-house movements that are resistant to magnetic fields and five days of power reserve.
The Fifty Fathoms Automatique comes with a black or blue sunburst dial, while the Fifty Fathoms Grande Date continues to be offered with a black dial. Each model retails for $18,300.