Under the surface of the Blancpain Fifty Fathoms X-Fathoms

Gentleman's Journal dives into the depths of this timepiece's history

Some watches are designed to go just that little bit further. But men like Laurent Ballesta, a pioneer in the world of ocean photography, is the type of man who pushes his watch to the limit.

As a marine biologist and photographer, Laurent has to have a watch that can keep up with his unique job. Travelling the globe and diving its extreme underwater worlds, his watch has to be ready for a life on – and under – the ocean.

Under the surface of the Blancpain Fifty Fathoms X-Fathoms

His watch of choice is the Blancpain Fifty Fathoms X-Fathoms, one of the few timepieces capable of letting him go to greater depths than the usual limits.

During his historic Gombessa expedition to South Africa, it was a Blancpain Fifty Fathoms on his wrist as he studied the coelacanth – known to locals as a “gombessa” – a fish regarded as the greatest zoological find of the 20th century, and which had never been observed in the wild because it lives at depths of more than 100 metres.

Under the surface of the Blancpain Fifty Fathoms X-Fathoms

When Laurent later embarked on his Gombessa II and III expeditions to French Polynesia and Antarctica, he pushed the limits of underwater horology even further. Remaining beneath the frozen surface for a previously unimaginable 24-hour period, Laurent’s work led to the first naturalist images of Antarctica’s deep-sea ecosystems. 

The Fifty Fathoms is regarded by many as the most high-performance technical diving watch ever produced. Not only a robust timepiece capable of the most demanding dives, with a depth measure of 90 metres and a maximum-depth-reached memory, it is also a practical aide for even the most experienced divers.

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