Blancpain reveals its new Fifty Fathoms Automatique models

‘Every collection, in my mind, needs a serious, modern diver, and you can’t go wrong here…’

A few years back, I had the opportunity to test drive a few dive watches while surfing the artificial wave in Snowdonia, Wales. Among them were the usual suspects, but the one I was most excited about wearing was the Fifty Fathoms from Blancpain. I had never worn one until that point, but I always had a soft spot for the design. I loved the fact that it was the very first in its category. I loved the fact that the bezel was just that little bit more pronounced, just that little bit more audacious, just that little bit more distinct than its counterparts from the 1950s. And, needless to say, the experience left me lusting after one, because I loved every minute of having it around my wrist when in the water and seeing how it looked in the spray. If I closed my eyes and forgot I had a wetsuit on, I could have been off the coast in Biarritz!

The one thing the watch world can teach us is that great design lasts, and the Fifty Fathoms, developed in the mid-century, has changed little since. But, while these diving tools may not be used in the same format they were originally designed for, there’s nothing more satisfying than knowing you could take it to the depths.

Last year, we saw Swatch Group utilise its portfolio by bringing Blancpain together with Swatch in a successful collaboration, following in the footsteps of Omega. And while I am all for broadening the brand's reach, I was delighted to see a proper, rugged, mechanical Fifty Fathoms model announced for 2024.

There are four variations in the new range: a red-gold case with sunburst black or blue dial, and a titanium case with sunburst black or blue dial – and the best part is that Blancpain is now offering these four options as part of the full-time collection.

One interesting element to note is that the titanium used is grade 23, which I am told is similar to grade 5, but has lower oxygen, nitrogen and iron content, which, as a result, has better ductility and fracture toughness, perfect for saltwater exposure. Oh, and while on the case material, out of the four variations, I would go all in on the titanium black dial, because, while I admire the gold case, I’m still a purist at heart. Inside these new models is the calibre 1315, which comes coated in a stealthy NAC finish, which you can see through the caseback (there’s also a five-day power reserve). Every collection, in my mind, needs a serious, modern diver and you just can’t go wrong with a Fifty Fathoms.

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