Blancpain Dive Watches

Blancpain Dive Watches - a look at the Blancpain Fifty Fathoms divers watch

all images courtesy © unless stated otherwise

Blancpain entered the market of underwater timepieces way back in 1953 with the introduction of the first of many Blancpain Dive Watches – the Fifty Fathoms. At the time it was introduced this new watch was billed as “the first modern diving watch”. In the view of the editors at ChronoDivers – it’s possibly the most desirable divers watch on the planet.

Don’t think just because you’ve seen one Fifty Fathoms you’ve seen them all. It’s a collection of watches with some very different styles and designs. ChronoDivers takes a deep dive into the Blancpain Diver’s watch collection including a review of their key functions & features. We also take a look at the best places to buy a Certified Genuine pre-owned Fifty Fathoms

In their own words

All Fifty Fathoms models feature the main signature elements that forged the reputation of their legendary ancestor and established it as the archetypal diver’s watch. The same professionalism is apparent in the decisive design choices, dictated by a wealth of experience in the field of diving, its risks and its imperious necessities.

The First Modern Diving Watch

At the time of release this new watch was billed as “the first modern diving watch”. Fast forward over 65 years and Blancpain are still producing the Fifty Fathoms dive watch. Several decades of subtle improvement culminate in these new models available in both chronometer and chronograph models. A brand with such a rich heritage in underwater timepieces should be considered when looking at other similar priced watches such as a pre-owner Rolex Submariner or a Panerai Submersible.

High End Luxury Dive Watch

The Blancpain Fifty Fathoms is a high-end luxury dive watch that has become an icon in the world of horology since its introduction in 1953. It was one of the first purpose-built dive watches ever made, and it was designed in collaboration with French combat diver Captain Bob Maloubier and Lieutenant Claude Riffaud of the French Navy’s elite combat diving unit.

The First Unidirectional Rotating Bezel

The watch was designed to meet the stringent requirements of professional divers, and it was the first dive watch to feature a unidirectional rotating bezel, which allowed divers to keep track of their dive time accurately. The Fifty Fathoms was also the first dive watch to feature a waterproof rating of 50 fathoms, which is equivalent to 91.45 meters or 300 feet.

A Masterpiece in Swiss Watchmaking

The Blancpain Fifty Fathoms is highly regarded by watch enthusiasts and collectors, not just for its impressive technical specifications, but also for its timeless design and superb craftsmanship. It is a true masterpiece of Swiss watchmaking and a must-have for anyone who appreciates fine watches. Over the years, the Fifty Fathoms has been updated and refined, but it has always remained true to its original design principles.

1953 – Rolex Submariner is launched

What was special about 1953 in terms of horological landmarks and diving watch history? Apart from being the year that Blancpain introduced the Fifty Fathoms it was also the year that Rolex released their world famous Rolex Submariner.

Buy a Certified Blancpain

Did you know Certified Authentic Fifty Fathoms are sold on eBay. The pair of watches below were sold on or covered by the eBay Authenticity Guarantee ✅. More information on how the eBay Guarantee works here.

The certificate of authenticity comes at NO COST to the buyer whatsoever – it also makes re-selling the watch a lot easier in the future. CLICK the button BELOW to browse the latest offerings – a direct link to eBay with filtered results to show only the authentic Blancpain watches on the market today (UK & USA only).

*ChronoDivers are affiliated to the EPN (eBay Partners Network). The website owner may earn commission on resulting sales

A selection of Fifty Fathoms discovered on eBay – all Certified Authentic

The primary aim of ChronoDivers is to give visitors access to the world’s best dive watches at a great price. eBay is now a safe and secure environment to purchase luxury watches with their authenticity guarantee. The Fifty Fathoms shown below were all sold with a Certificate of Authenticity on eBay.

images © eBay under EPN permissions


Bathyscaphe & Barakuda

A selection of modern Blancpain Dive Watches – each one unique – each one inspired by generations of innovation, design and risk taking. The Fifty Fathoms Dive Watch collection is split in to two distinct design styles. One – the classic style with a curved ceramic bezel and a domed sapphire crystal. The other is a more formal affair with a lower profile flat bezel and sapphire complete with clean baton hands. This latter style come under the Blancpain Bathyscaphe range.

The Blancpain Bathyscaphe and Fifty Fathoms Barakuda are both iconic dive watches that have captivated watch enthusiasts for years. Let’s delve into the differences between these two remarkable timepieces.

Blancpain Bathyscaphe

  • Historical Context: The Blancpain Bathyscaphe is a modern reinterpretation of the original Bathyscaphe from the late 1950s. It’s a more contemporary take on the classic dive watch, offering a blend of vintage design cues and modern materials and technology.
  • Case Size: The Bathyscaphe typically features a more modest case size compared to the Barakuda, with a diameter of around 38mm to 43mm. This smaller case size is reminiscent of the vintage dive watches.
  • Dial Design: The Bathyscaphe often has a clean and minimalist dial design with simple, legible markers and hands. It may come in various color options, including black, blue, or grey.
  • Bezel: The unidirectional rotating bezel on the Bathyscaphe usually has ceramic or stainless steel inserts, which provide excellent resistance to wear and corrosion.
  • Movement: Blancpain equips the Bathyscaphe with their in-house movements, offering high accuracy and reliability. It may come with either a time-and-date or a more complex calendar complication, depending on the model.
  • Water Resistance: The Bathyscaphe typically offers water resistance of around 300 to 300 meters, making it suitable for most recreational diving activities.

Fifty Fathoms Barakuda

  • Historical Significance: The Fifty Fathoms Barakuda pays homage to the original Barakuda diver’s watch that Blancpain produced for the German Navy in the 1960s. It’s a reissue of a historical classic.
  • Case Size: The Barakuda generally features a larger case size, typically around 40mm to 45mm, catering to contemporary preferences for larger watches.
  • Dial Design: The Barakuda’s dial design is a nod to its vintage predecessor, with a distinctive combination of large rectangular and circular hour markers. The watch is known for its striking red accents on the dial.
  • Bezel: The unidirectional rotating bezel of the Barakuda often includes a distinctive red triangle at the 12 o’clock position, which is a characteristic feature of vintage Blancpain dive watches.
  • Movement: The Barakuda models typically house reliable and accurate automatic movements. They may or may not have additional complications beyond timekeeping.
  • Water Resistance: Like the Bathyscaphe, the Fifty Fathoms Barakuda offers water resistance of around 300 to 300 meters, making it a capable dive watch.

In summary, the Blancpain Bathyscaphe is a modern interpretation of a classic dive watch with a more contemporary and minimalist design, while the Fifty Fathoms Barakuda pays homage to its historical predecessor with a design that evokes the vintage era. The choice between them depends on personal preferences, whether you appreciate the modern or retro aesthetic, and the size of the watch that suits your wrist best. Both watches are well-regarded for their quality and heritage in the world of dive watches.

Decades of Experience building Blancpain Dive Watches

Creating one of the most desirable dive watches on the planet doesn’t happen over night. All Fifty Fathoms models incorporate the signature elements responsible for establishing their legendary ancestors as the archetypal diver’s watch. It’s those same clear cut design choices, supported by decades of real world professional diving that come together to build this modern classic timepiece. The same principles have been used by other leading brands – go back to the professional user and ask them what they want in a Blancpain dive watch.

More than 20 models of Fifty Fathoms Dive Watch

There are over 20 different models references of the Fifty Fathoms. Many references have several variants, for example, the Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe has 16 variants. These variants included everything from strap material, style and colour to bezel colour and even case material (ceramic, steel or red gold) . In January 2021 there were an astonishing 89 different models available – ranging from approximately £7,000 to almost £100,000 for the stunning Fifty Fathoms Tourbillon 8 Jours.


Protecting the Oceans

Blancpain design and manufacture some of the world’s finest dive watches but their interest in the oceans doesn’t stop there. They have an active interest in the protection of the oceans through their Blancpain Ocean Commitment program. Their commitment to the oceans of the world is focused on Awareness, Exploration and Preservation.

Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Ocean Commitment III

Progression through Passion, Innovation and Risk

The latest models to the range are all uniquely extraordinary achievements from both a technical and aesthetic perspective. They can all be seen as a tribute to the pioneers from the 1950’s who made scuba diving the “sport” it is seen as today. Without their dedication, risk taking and passion the opportunity for underwater exploration would not have progressed to where it is today. It’s this history of passion and innovation that continue to inspire Blancpain – moving forward with modern innovative materials and new technical solutions.

How deep is a Fathom?

1 Fathom = 6 feet (1.83 metre) – so 50 Fathoms = 300 feet (91.5 metres)

In 1952 when this watch was first developed 300 feet was believed to be the most a human could dive using a single tank of Oxygen. In today’s terms that’s not quite deep enough – which is why all Fifty Fathoms watches are certified water resistant to a depth of at least 1000 feet (300m). However, we don’t think the “Blancpain 166.6 Fathoms” really cut it with the marketing team – thus the preservation of the original name – the “Fifty Fathoms

Alternatives to the Fifty Fathoms

Customers interested in a Blancpain diver’s watch are in a exclusive market place reserved for those with several thousand Dollars to spend on a luxury timepiece. If it’s primarily the design of the Fifty Fathoms that has attracted a shopper to Blancpain then there’s nothing else directly comparable. The Blancpain Fifty Fathoms is a unique and immediately recognizable watch in all it’s many variants.

If it’s the appeal of having a £10K / S10K watch on your wrist, a timepiece of remarkable presence and beauty then there are other watches out there, think Rolex Submariner or Panerai Luminor Submersible. However, Blancpain they simply are NOT – and that’s why, in our honest opinion, the Fifty Fathoms has no genuine comparable alternatives.

Let Us FIND your Watch

ChronoDivers offer a watch finding service. This service is totally free. All Blancpain watches recommended by ChronoDivers will come with a Guarantee of Authenticity. We study the watch price charts dails and know what is a high, average, fair, good or even excellent price to pay for a Blancpain watch. Our payment for this service comes from a small percentage of affiliate commission at NO COST to either the watch BUYER or the watch SELLER. If you want ChronoDivers to help find your luxury watch get in touch today.

Fifty Fathoms FAQ’s

Is Blancpain Fifty Fathoms worth it?

In short – yes. This is a watch that is produced in very low units compared to certain other luxury brands. With Blancpain you get what you pay for – a truly phenomenal craftsman produced automatic watch. The more expensive the model is – the more complications (flyback chronograph etc) it will feature and the rarer the materials used (ceramics and titanium)

What is special about Blancpain Fifty Fathoms?

It’s a watch with a pedigree in underwater timekeeping going right back to 1953. Not many other brands have spearheaded the innovation and development of dive watches. Not only this – but they also have a passionate care for the sea and the environment through their Blancpain Ocean Commitment program

How much is a Blancpain Fifty Fathoms?

This is a luxury brand so the prices reflect this. Expect to pay anything from $5,000 to $6,000 (£4,500 to £5,500) for a standard model. There’s no upper limit with models exceeding $35,000 / £30,000 like the Fifty Fathoms GMT limited edition and six figure models like the Fifty Fathoms Tourbillon 8 Jours Mens Watch selling for more than $120,000 / £105,000

Does anyone make a good Blancpain Fifty Fathoms homage?

Yes – please remember we don’t in ANY WAY endorse fakes or copies – watches that attempt to pass themselves off as the original item. Homage watches are a tribute to an iconic watch – timepieces that have been designed to re-create the style of a watch without precisely copying it. The best Fifty Fathom homage watch is the Baltic Aquascaphe and the Spinnaker Fleuss. Cheaper models – more directly styled like the original – come from Chinese brands like Corgeut and Steeldive.

Do they make smaller Blancpain Fifty Fathoms 38mm?

The Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe is available in a unisex 38mm case size. Next size up is our favourite – the 40mm Barakuda and No Radiation models. A majority of the models come in a 41-44mm case with a handful in a large oversized 45mm case like the


Video Review

A nice range overview by Oliver Smith Jeweler.

Have you ever heard of Blancpain, the world’s oldest watch brand? Or maybe you’re wondering who invented the first dive watch? How about the first steel sports watch? In this video we’re telling you everything you need to know about the Blancpain Fifty Fathoms and Bathyscaphe, including the history, inspiration for the original dive watch, and how the watch compares today. The Fifty Fathoms was the first watch designed and has served as the baseline for all dive watch designs. Even Rolex has admitted to pulling from the Fifty Fathoms design for the first submariner! This is important information to know for any investor or collector of sport watches.

It’s simple, free and greatly appreciated if you can show your support for ChronoDivers. Just click on the shopping link below to browse the selection of Blancpain watches either on eBay or with our shopping partners (where available). You don’t need to buy anything – just click the link – thank you very much!

*ChronoDivers are affiliated to the EPN (eBay Partners Network). The website owner may earn commission on resulting sales