Blancpain has launched the third act of the 70th anniversary of its famous Fifty Fathoms diving watch, called “Fifty Fathoms 70th Anniversary Act 3”. This watch draws inspiration from the MIL-SPEC, a model adopted by armies around the world at the time. Today, Blancpain presents a reinterpretation of this iconic timepiece in the form of a limited edition of just 555 pieces. The Fifty Fathoms 70th Anniversary Act 3 maintains its original aesthetics and 41,30 mm diameter and is crafted from fine 9-carat gilt bronze.

The birth of the Fifty Fathoms

The story of this watch begins with a personal revelation. While diving in Cannes, southern France, Jean-Jacques Fiechter, then co-director of Blancpain and an avid diver, suddenly found himself running out of oxygen. This experience led him to understand the vital importance of a reliable dive watch, prompting him to create the Fifty Fathoms. This watch featured revolutionary features such as automatic movement, resistance to magnetism and a high water resistance of 10 bar. The double-seal crown, the threaded bottom to preserve the “O-ring” seals and the lockable rotating bezel were patented innovations.

These characteristics convinced the major armed forces of the time, including France, Germany, the United States and Norway, to adopt the Fifty Fathoms for their combat frogmen.

Berry L. Cannon (March 22, 1935 – February 17, 1969) wears a Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Mil-Spec

The story doesn't stop here. In the 50s, Jean-Jacques Fiechter introduced the water-resistance indicator, a safety system that ensured that the watch had not been damaged by other divers on previous missions. This humidity indicator was part of the US Navy specification, and some MIL-SPEC versions with this indicator have become cult objects among collectors.

Captain Robert "BobMaloubier in the 50s with a Fifty Fathoms on the wrist, courtesy of Blancpain

The new Fifty Fathoms 70th Anniversary Act 3

The third act of the 70th anniversary of Fifty Fathoms is a direct homage to the original MIL-SPEC used by the US Navy. It features a matte black dial with vintage Super-LumiNova® luminescent indicator and indexes, a unidirectional rotating bezel with black ceramic insert and a vintage Super-LumiNova® diving scale.

The main difference between the two watches is the case material: the original MIL-SPEC used German silver, while the Fifty Fathoms 70th Anniversary Act 3 is made of 9-carat gilt bronze. This special bronze is 37,5% gold and offers greater durability and corrosion resistance than traditional bronze.

The 9.P30 movement is housed in the 41,30-carat gilded bronze case, water-resistant to 1154 bar and with a diameter of 2 mm. This caliber features a double barrel for a 100-hour power reserve and a silicon hairspring for resistance to magnetism. This is the first Blancpain movement with resistance to 1000 gauss, obtained thanks to the use of silicon and special alloys in the escapement system. The caseback reveals larger-diameter bridges and an oscillating weight with a vintage 18-karat gold logo.

The Fifty Fathoms 70th Anniversary Act 3 ref. 5901-5630-NANA, is a limited edition of 555 pieces and is presented in a box inspired by Blancpain's ocean conservation initiatives. The two-tone NATO strap recalls the original design. This watch celebrates the fusion of the best of two eras and continues to write the history of the original dive watch.

Technical details

Brand: Blancpain
Model: Fifty Fathoms 70th Anniversary Act 3
Reference: 5901-5630-NANA

Diameter: 41.3 mm
Thickness: 13.3 mm
Case material: Bronze Gold (9K, satin brushed)
Lamp: Vintage-effect Super-Luminova
Water Resistance: 300 meters
Strap: Black/Gold NATO-Style strap

Caliber: Blancpain 1154.P2 
Diameter: 27.4 mm
Thickness: 3.55 mm
Power Reserve: 100 hours
Load: automatically 
Frequency: 21,600bph
Jewels: 28