In a cinema in Cannes, the public and film professionals are attracted by the adventures of Captain Jacques Yves Cousteau. It was 1956, and his film “A Quiet World” had just won the Palme d’Or. A year later, it was Hollywood’s turn to celebrate him by awarding him an Oscar. In the diving sequence of the movie, there is a watch destined to become a watchmaking legend on the captain’s wrist: Fifty Fathoms!
There is no doubt that Blancpain‘s coveted model, launched in 1953, is even better. Jacques-Yves Cousteau and many other outstanding divers adopted it because the Fifty Fathoms was first and foremost a true diving instrument, combining precision, performance and performance. Style. In any case, this is exactly what the three people who presided over its birth imagined. In order to accompany them on their underwater expeditions, the then Blancpain CEO Jean-Jacques Fitch, Captain Robert “Bob” Marrubius and Lieutenant Claude River, the founder of the French combat swim team, jointly developed An underwater timing instrument was evaluated because it is very powerful. It was named the Fifty Fathoms, referring to the maximum depth that divers of that era should reach.
Fifty Fathoms Chronograph Flyback
Case: stainless steel, unidirectional rotating bezel, inlaid with sapphires, water-resistant to 300 meters
Movement: mechanical automatic winding (Caliber F185)
Functions: hours, minutes, date, small seconds, flyback chronograph
Fifty Fathoms Automata
Case: satin-finished titanium, sapphire back, unidirectional rotating bezel with sapphire insert, water-resistant to 300 meters
Movement: mechanical automatic winding (Caliber 1315, 120-hour power reserve)
Functions: hour, minute, second, date
Bracelet: Satin-finished titanium
A legend in creation
The Fifty Fathoms is a favorite of naval forces and diving enthusiasts. It has been interpreted through many changes over the years. Finally, in 2007, a dedicated series consisting of three modern models was launched: automatic reference with date display, flyback Chronograph and flying tourbillon, each available in steel or red gold. Since then, the iconic Fifty Fathoms has continued to take risks through innovative changes, characterized by a sporty fashion style built on its rich tradition. The most recent Fifty Fathoms Automatique and Fifty Fathoms Grande Date models are two of Blancpain’s flagship products. They are now equipped with a titanium bracelet around the wrist, just like an extension of a 45mm titanium case. Blancpain was an early adopter of this material and is known for its sturdiness and lightness. In the early 1960s, the MIL-SPEC II model series specially designed for the US Navy’s minesweeper team was equipped with a titanium back cover. Blancpain may be the first manufacturer to use this material to produce watches.
The Bathyscaphe Mokarran Limited Edition is another example of the avant-garde spirit of the watch factory, marking the introduction of a new green in the Fifty Fathoms series. Aesthetically speaking, this 50-piece limited edition uses a 43.6 mm satin-finished ceramic case and is water-resistant to 300 meters. In terms of technology, Calibre 1318 is equipped with a silicon balance spring and a five-day power reserve. The sculpture of the hammerhead shark Sphyrna mokarran is engraved on the solid gold rotor. As part of the Blancpain Commitment to Ocean (BOC) program, this generous watch allows Blancpain to donate US$1,000 for every watch sold to protect the fascinating ocean world, more precisely the Great Hammerhead.
The iconic Fifty Fathoms continues to take risks through innovative changes, characterized by a sporty fashion style built on its rich tradition.
Fifty Fathoms Tourbillon 8 Jours
Case: white gold, unidirectional rotating bezel inlaid with sapphires, waterproof to 300 meters
Movement: mechanical automatic winding (25A movement, 192 hours power reserve)
Functions: hours, minutes, power reserve display, tourbillon
A manufacturer committed to protecting the ocean
These figures have no doubt about the nature of the issues involved: if we do not sustainably change our consumption and waste management habits, the United Nations predicts that by 2050 there will be more plastic than fish in the ocean. The countdown has begun. In this race against time, Blancpain has taken the Blancpain Ocean Commitment (BOC) as a key participant and played a leading role with those dedicated to protecting these resources. Among the many passionate actions representing ocean exploration and protection, Blancpain played a pioneering role in supporting the Primordial Ocean Initiative as a founding partner from 2011 to 2016. The Primordial Ocean Expedition has researched and photographed rare and uncontaminated areas of the ocean with the aim of raising awareness and encouraging governments and local communities to commit to protecting these areas. The actual results include the effective protection of several marine areas in the United States, Chile, Costa Rica, French Polynesia, Seychelles and Greenland.
Learn, understand and raise awareness
At the same time, Blancpain has been participating in his Gombessa project with Laurent Ballesta since 2013, which is dedicated to studying the rarest and most difficult to observe marine organisms and phenomena. In their five expeditions, Laurent Ballesta and his team managed to reach deep places and produced outstanding research, photos and movies. From searching for prehistoric coelacanths in the Indian Ocean, to observing the reproduction of camouflaged groupers or inspecting the hunting behavior of about 700 grey reef sharks in French Polynesia, as well as Antarctica and the Mediterranean, the Gombessa project has helped a wide audience to understand and explain better And promote underwater wealth. Raising awareness is indeed the key issue in changing behavior. For example, as part of World Ocean Day, the “Ocean” underwater photography exhibition held at the United Nations Headquarters in New York in 2013 was a real success, attracting nearly 100,000 visitors. Blancpain has supported this initiative since 2015, and recently took it a step further, becoming a partner of the United Nations World Oceans Day in 2021.
In addition to these major events, there are many initiatives aimed at protecting the oceans, such as the World Ocean Summit, which Blancpain has been a founding partner of since 2012. In 2018, the company also launched an experimental coral restoration project on the island, Fregate, in collaboration with Fregate Island Private and Coralive.org. In 2020, the watch factory supported the first mission of the environmental association Mokarran Protection Society to observe hammerhead sharks in the wild to identify and investigate their populations in Polynesian waters. In the same year, Oceana, the world’s largest international organization dedicated to marine protection, announced that it had become its exclusive watchmaking partner with Blancpain for a period of three years. These are all examples of Blancpain’s enthusiasm for this cause. Through the Blancpain Marine Commitment, it has helped to expand the surface area of global marine protected areas by more than 4 million square kilometers.
Deep-sea submersible Mokarran limited edition
Case: Black satin-brushed ceramic, unidirectional rotating bezel with green ceramic inserts, water-resistant to 300 meters
Movement: mechanical automatic winding (Caliber 1318, 120-hour power reserve)
Functions: hours, minutes, seconds