Fathoming the Blancpain Tribute to Fifty Fathoms MIL-SPEC Only Watch edition
It's a reboot for the greater good as Blancpain offers up to Only Watch a timepiece that takes after its hero novelty from this year's BaselWorld. Fittingly, this charity auction model of the Fifty Fathoms MIL-SPEC is this era's twin to the 1953 original, matching one Blancpain first for another as the brand was also the first maison to pitch in behind the Monaco Association against Muscular Dystrophy (AMM). 16 years on, the manufacture is still fighting the good fight, supporting the cause and the 2017 run of the Only Watch auction. Here, we suss out the deets surrounding this unique Fifty Fathoms piece in homage to its humanitarian and historical roots:
1. Navy savvy
From the French Navy's combat swimmers corps to the American Navy, the Fifty Fathoms made military standards as the world's first modern diving watch in the '50s. Created by then CEO of Blancpain, Jean-Jacques Fiechter, this groundbreaking (ocean-breaking?) timepiece was christened the Fifty Fathoms MIL- SPEC 1, and would go on to set the bar for the entire watch industry.
2. Sound specs
210 components, a self-winding calibre equipped with two series-coupled mainspring barrels for a four-day power reserve, and a sizable 40mm for maximum visibility — it's a full suite of diving features, encased in stainless steel. This exclusive model also sports the Only Watch logo engraved on the caseback to mark it as a one-of-a-kind piece.
3. That throwback look
Twinning it up with its predecessor, the watch recalls the façade of the MIL-SPEC 1, bearing a black dial with indexes and hands, as well as the date display lit in yellow SuperLuminova. It also sports the same water-resistance indicator positioned at 6 o'clock — an ingenious safety feature with a disk that turns from white to red to alert divers if water has breached the watch —and is finished with a black unidirectional rotating bezel. Water resistant up to 300 metres, the Only Watch 2017 edition also sees the timepiece topped by a scratchproof sapphire ring (taken from 2003 50th anniversary version of the Fifty Fathoms) to shield it against wear and tear.
The Blancpain Tribute to Fifty Fathoms MIL-SPEC will go on auction on 11 November. To bid, click here to check out Only Watch.