Blancpain Dive Watches – information & history

I’ve been a watch fan since I got my first mechanical Timex as a 10 year old. At that time (1978) everyone wanted a DIGITAL WATCH. Not me – I preferred mechanical watches and still do. I have been lucky to have owned some lovely watches over the years including an Omega Speedmaster Michael Schumacher, a Breitling Airwolf and a Bremont Supermarine S500 … but I’d swap them all for a Blancpain Fifty Fathoms. To be specific a Blancpain Barakuda with Caliber 1151 Automatic movement.

All images courtesy of Blancpain Watches (1)

Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Divers’ Watch

Blancpain entered the market of underwater timepieces way back in 1953 with the introduction of the first Blancpain Fifty Fathoms. At the time 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.

Lost for words - the stunning Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Barakuda

Recently Listed for Sale

Some recent examples of pre-owned Blancpain Fifty Fathoms listed for sale this week. This list was last updated on the 15/06/2021. The full list is available here > pre-owned Blancpain Fifty Fathoms

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A special year for another luxury brand…

What was special about 1953 in terms of horological landmarks? Apart from being the year that Blancpain introduced the Fifty Fathoms it was also the year that Rolex released their world famous Rolex Submariner. WatchFinder (6) have an excellent article on comparison of these two watches and their competitive history.

The Calibre 1151 seen through the window of the Blancpain Fifty Fathoms case back

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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 (4). Their commitment to the oceans of the world is focused on Awareness, Exploration and Preservation.

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BOC Limited Editions

Join an exclusive club by purchasing a Blancpain Fifty Fathoms BOC - just 250 models like this

Since 2014 – Mark A Hayek (CEA and President of Blancpain) introduced a range of Blancpain Ocean Commitment (BOC) timepieces. Genuine limited editions with only 250 models of each watch being made. In 2018 the MKIII Blancpain BOC Fifty Fathoms was released. Each watch is individually numbered and Blancpain make a 1,000 Euro donation (5) to the BOC charity. Prices start around £14,000 for a BOC Fifty Fathoms Ocean Commitment III with Caliber 1151 with the Bathyscaphe Chronographe Flyback Ocean Commitment coming in around £16,000

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Fifty Fathoms Videos

Unfortunately ChronoDivers does not own a Blancpain Fifty Fathoms so we can’t produce a video review. We have, however, watched a few dozen on YouTube and present the best two below. Thanks for watching….

Video Reviews of this lovely diver’s watch

Blancpain Fifty Fathoms 5015-1130-52 Luxury Watch Review by WatchBox

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Rolex Submariner vs Blancpain Fifty Fathoms

Watchfinder & Co. In 1953, something strange happened. Two watches, by two different brands, materialised in quick succession: the Blancpain Fifty Fathoms and the Rolex Submariner. One was a special forces military project, the other a commercially available product that could be purchased by amateurs and professionals alike …

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A little History

We have to go back to 1735 to trace the beginnings of the Blancpain brand. Thar was the year that Jehan-Jacques Blancpain registered as a watchmaker in the Swiss Principality of Villeret. Monsieur Blancpain founded this now world famous watch brand. For nearly 200 years it has remained a family owned business – handed down from generation to generation. Presently the company comes under the huge Swatch company – responsible for other notable brands (3) such as Longines, Omega, Tissot, Certina and Rado – to name just a few.

External references / further reading

  1. Blancpain official website
  2. Detailed History of Blancpain
  3. The Swatch group of Watch brands (Wiki)
  4. Blancpain Ocean Commitment
  5. BOC Timepieces information
  6. WatchFinder – 1953 – Rolex Submariner & Fifty Fathoms

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