When we talk about Diver’s watches, many brands come to mind, and images of Rolex or Omega watches might be what immediately pops up in your head. It is easy to think that a brand like Rolex might be the one that created the first divers watch. But even before these brands made divers watches, the brand that pioneered in making diver’s watches is Blancpain, with its Fifty Fathoms Diver’s watch. This brand paved the way for other watch companies to create their diver’s watch. Well marketed brands indeed have more famous versions of a diver’s watch which overshadow other noteworthy timepieces.
One of the most underrated divers watches is from the first inventor of this complication, Blancpain itself. If you are curious about what qualities lie with this timepiece, below are the aspects of the watch that any wristwatch enthusiast would not like to miss out on and how Blancpain Watch started.
The Divers watch: How it all Began
To start, we need to look back on how a divers watch was conceptualized in the first place. We head back to the 1950s, at this period Blancpain was under the operation of the Fiechter Family, of Betty Fiechter and her nephew Jean Jacques Fiechter. Jean was the managing director of Blancpain and was an avid diver during this period. Through experience, he uncovers the dire need for divers to have reliable ways to track time when under the water. He accounts his personal experience when he came dangerously close to running out of oxygen, so he set out to develop a dive watch. At this time there was no preconceived idea on what a dive watch should look like, so he set out in trying to determine specific criteria and develop a watch that meets them. His criteria were: it needs to have great legibility underwater, track time of time, and of course have great water resistance.
The quest for these features led to the creation of the Blancpain Fifty Fathoms, which made its way to the market in 1953 and became the first commercially available modern diver’s watch. During this period, there was also a tie-in with French Navy forces who were looking for a dive watch. Fifty Fathoms became a fixture in the world of diving upon its release. It was released in several countries and navies: French, Spanish, Israeli, United States, and German. Presently the Fifty Fathoms has gone up the market in comparison to the Rolex Submariner. But it has sustained the same aspect of its original design principles that paved the way for dive watches in the modern world of technology.
- A Perfectly Blended Design
There is a contemporary blend of the original design seen in every Blancpain Watch model and uses both the traditional aspects of the watch to complement a more modern look. The case is executed with a satin brush finish with a gray matte tone that plays with the darker undertones of the bezel and dial. Along with the non-crown side of the case, there is an engraved signing of Blancpain and on the opposite side of the case, is a signed screw-down crown that has notable groves for easy engagement that matches the bezel with its prevalent notches, helping the wearer to rotate the 120 click action. The bezel is secure and satisfying in its unidirectional motion and is very audible when rotating.
The bezel also features bold markers that assist in the legibility, being seen easily underneath the sapphire crystal. It also has a nice trick up its sleeve when in the dark, as it begins to show the fully luminescent markers matching with the striking elements of the dial. The black dial creates a raised central level of depth on the black surface and has a subtle glossiness that plays with the light. Along the outside nestled underneath the minute track, the watch features elevated white gold applied markers and quarter numerals. A date window is nestled between four and five o’clock of the watch which is a new inclusion made by the company just recently during the year 2007.
- Legible Dimensions
With a case size of 45 millimeters, a thickness of 15.4 millimeters, a lug width of 23 millimeters, and a lug to lug of 50 millimeters, this watch, at first impression, seems too big for a small wrist but surprisingly,it suits even a 6 inches wrist size. When you examine how this watch would appear in your wrist design-wise, it’s important to note the original thought process upon developing this watch. The size and the design were developed to address what was needed for a watch to be readable underwater.
It’s better to experience the feel of the wristwatch on a wrist since some wristwatches appear and on paper have bigger case sizes. Once you get to experience them, they don’t give off that huge watch perception and in some cases are even light with their size. The wearability of the Fifty Fathoms, despite its size, may also be attributed to its lug-to-lug measurement. Despite the lugs of the Blancpain not being compact 23 millimeters apart, their position being fixed farther out than standard on the side of its case leads to a much more restrained lug to lug measurement.
- An Excellent Caliber
Flipping over the sapphire crystal of the Blancpain Fifty Fathoms, we have the automatic 1315 caliber. Starting with the movement’s decoration, it features an 18 karat gold rotor with a matching satin finish along the outside with a blasted center matching the color of the rest of the case and features a Blancpain Fifty Fathoms logo contained within. The bridges feature a high polish on glass edges and a thin line finish on the upper surface practically unseen to the naked eye but begin to make itself known with a closer examination.
In addition, the movement also executes a tasteful array of display jewels and features a free strong balance. The movement operates in twenty-eight thousand vibrations per hour, per hertz, and can outperform a certified chronometer as it has the internal spec to match. It contains 36 jewels and has hacking capabilities that stop the second’s hand when pulling the crown out to the farthest position and can also be hand-wound. The movement also has three mainspring barrels that assist in achieving the 120-hour power reserve and utilizes a silicon hairspring which helps the watch to function against magnetism.
In A Nutshell
When looking at the different options for a diver’s watch you can get swamped by the more common choices. But when you try to look further at what’s out in the market, a brand that is tried and tested should be something you look out for. Blancpain certainly delivered an excellent timepiece even before the advancement of technology, and in regards to that, their invention is what many other brands still refer to until this day.