Hi guys,Goro here. Blancpain, the originator of the modern diver’s watch, is now releasing a 70th anniversary commemorative model. It is gaining more recognition than before, but still not enough. Blancpain is often buried under the popular diver’s watches of other brands, but from my personal perspective, I would like to introduce some of the charms that have been overlooked.
Fading from people’s memories, Fifty Fathoms
Blancpain, the world’s oldest existing watch brand and a prestigious brand that introduced the modern diver’s watch earlier than the Rolex’s Submariner, has never been widely recognized by the public.
However, it is an undeniable historical fact that Fifty Fathoms was introduced to the world as the first modern diver’s watch in 1953.
But why did Fifty Fathoms go unrecognized and hidden in history? One of the main reasons is that the company ceased its production activities. The “Quartz revolution” that occurred shortly after Fifty Fathoms was launched put a halt to Blancpain’s activities as a brand.
The company was reestablished in 1983 by Jean-Claude Biver, a watch industry revival contractor, but by that point, the 22-year hiatus had completely erased the Fifty Fathoms and Blancpain names from the public’s mind.
Fifty Fathoms was “revived” by Biver in 1997 in a “limited revival,” but then Blancpain sold it to Swatch G, and it was only in 2007 that it finally became part of the Blancpain lineup as a regular collection.
A miraculous encounter makes historical masterpiece!
There is no doubt that the most popular modern divers’ watches are Rolex’s Submariner and Omega’s Seamaster. Both are excellent products, but the Fifty Fathoms is no less so.
Originally, Fifty Fathoms was adopted by the French Navy for special forces (diving operations). However, it is important to remember that this was not inevitable, but rather a series of coincidences that led to the creation of an exceptional diver’s watch.
In the early 1950s, two French naval officers who were looking for a professional diver’s watch had their requests rejected by many brands.
Finaley they hit on Blancpain,whose CEO at the time was Jean-Jacques Fister, a scuba diver himself, and under Fister’s orders, “the development of a diver’s watch was underway.
The “Fifty Fathoms” was born from a fusion of the opinions of these two officers and Fister’s experience as a diver.
Today’s divers mainly use the “Dive-computer”!
70 years after “Fateful Encounter,” diving watches used by divers became mainstream in the 1980s, when electronic products began to spread.
A dive computer is literally a “computer” that provides divers with a lot of information necessary for diving operations such as “dive time,” “remaining oxygen time,” “depth,” “water temperature,” etc.Diving operations are sufficient with a dive computer, but mecanical type of diver’s watches are also utilized as backup tools for dive computers. However, the mecanical-type diver’s watch is also used as a backup tool for the dive controller.
Mechanical diver’s watches are used for the weak points of dive controls, such as water resistance of the case and battery trouble, while mecanical diver’s watches are used as a safety device. After all, the main battlefield of modern divers’ watches is on land.
Thin, light-weight, and long power-reserve are the three principles of the neo-diver’s watch!
After 70 years since 1953, divers’ watches are undoubtedly used more by the general public than by professionals. Therefore, each brand is aiming to break away from the traditional “big and heavy” style.
Blancpain’s Bathyscaphe 5100-1140, for example, has a case diameter of 38 mm, making it the smallest diver’s watch I have ever owned. It is also lightweight, weighing approximately 84g including the strap, and can be worn for long periods of time without tiring. (See also past articles).
And it should be noted that the power reserve is 100 hours despite the ultra-thin case (10.8 mm). I was also surprised at the high precision of this diver’s watch, which does not require adjustment for a whole week. (This is within the range of self-measurement.)
Goro is convinced that these points are proof that the manufacturer intended this watch to be used on land.
However, the 70th anniversary model is more of a professional finish. The diameter is 47 mm and the case is approximately 15 mm thick.
Blancpain developed this watch with the help of photographer Laurent Ballestat. This means that this is a 70th anniversary model, and it must be a return to the origin. However, I feel that there are different opinions on whether this product is good or bad to use on land.
The reason is its size. The size of the watch, which is not suitable for land use, may remain in the watch case as a mere commemorative model.
I feel that divers’ watches should be practical watches with high water resistance. Like my Bathyscaphe5100.How do you feel about this?