An acknowledged virtuoso of complication watches, Blancpain also created the world�s first modern diver�s watch, the famous �Fifty Fathoms�, in 1953.The Manufacture in Le Brassus now revisits this watchmaking and nautical sports legend by developing a collection composed of three models: a self-winding watch equipped with a brand-new calibre, a chronograph version with flyback function, and a timepiece featuring a prestigious flying tourbillon.Water-resistant to 300 metres and endowed with essential characteristics of diver�s watches, this new wave of Fifty Fathoms watches marries black dials, bezels and straps with 45 mm-diameter cases in steel, red gold or white gold.
The Fifty Fathoms was born from an encounter between Blancpain and two exceptional personalities. In 1952, Captain �Bob� Maloubier and his lieutenant Claude Riffaud were entrusted by the French Ministry of Defence with creating an elite unit of �Combat Divers�. Upon finding no existing watch capable of withstanding the extreme conditions of underwater missions, the two officers came to Blancpain with an extremely specific set of technical specifications, including the revolutionary unidirectional bezel. Building on their expertise and their visionary spirit, the watchmakers and engineers of the Manufacture developed a mechanical masterpiece that was to assert itself as the archetypal diver�s watch. The original model was launched in 1953; its water resistance was guaranteed to a depth of 50 fathoms (91.45 m), hence its names. Fifty Fathoms soon earned a reputation for reliability and sturdiness among the special forces of several different countries. It was adopted by specialists in the field of ocean exploration including the famous French Navy�s GERS (Groupe d�Etudes et de Recherches Sous-Marines, or Underwater research group). It also accompanied the crew of Jacques Cousteau and Louis Malle during the shooting of the �World of Silence� movie. In 1997, Blancpain increased the water resistance of the Fifty Fathoms to a depth of 300 metres, and in 2003, the Manufacture celebrated the 50th anniversary of this legendary model by issuing a limited edition with a new black domed scratchproof sapphire bezel.