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Blancpain - Fifty Fathoms "Nageurs de combat" Edition

Blancpain Fifty Fathoms "Nageurs de combat" Edition ref. 5015E-1130-B52A

Launched in 1953, the Fifty Fathoms by Blancpain is considered the world’s first modern diving watch.

The key man behind this legendary timepiece was Jean-Jacques Fiechter which took the helm of Blancpain in 1950. An expert diver, Jean-Jacques began working on a reliable and robust timing instrument capable of accompanying him in his underwater adventures.

Guided by his own experience, he defined the main specifications that a watch dedicated to scuba diving had to meet: luminescent hands and hour-markers contrasting with a dark dial, a secured rotating bezel, a self-winding movement, perfect water-resistance, and an antimagnetic case.

Almost at the same time, Captain Robert "Bob" Maloubier and Lieutenant Claude Riffaud, founders of the newly formed French Combat Swimmers unit, had started their quest for a watch suited for their aquatic missions. Working together, they assembled a list of specific criteria for an instrument that could meet their requirements. The first tests which they conducted with "water-resistant" French watches were inconclusive. These watches were too small, the dials were hard to read, and the cases were not truly waterproof.

When they finally contacted Blancpain, Jean-Jacques Fiechter was able to deliver to the French team a watch for testing that fully met their criteria. The watch performed brilliantly in all of the tests and it became one of the essential pieces of equipment for the French Combat Swimmers corps. Later, the same occurred for naval forces around the world. This unique timepiece was named Fifty Fathoms (you can read more on this subject in our article "Blancpain, the history of the oldest watch brand").

The original Fifty Fathoms - 1953

In tribute to this close collaboration with the founders of the French Combat Swimmers unit, Blancpain created a 300-piece special edition of its iconic diver’s watch, the Fifty Fathoms "Nageurs de combat" Edition.

Blancpain Fifty Fathoms "Nageurs de combat" Edition ref. 5015E-1130-B52A

In support of this commemorative initiative, the French army authorized the Manufacture to engrave the Combat Diver Qualification Badge – featuring a central anchor, dedicated to sailors and flanked by two winged seahorses representing the underwater world as well as parachutists – on the caseback of the new model.

Blancpain Fifty Fathoms "Nageurs de combat" Edition

The dial discreetly displays a second emblem – the number 7. As oxygen becomes toxic when its partial pressure reaches 1.7 bar, the maximum depth that commando frogmen can reach when using pure oxygen is seven metres, a number that has thus become a symbolic figure in this context.

Like the original model, the hands and hour-markers of the "Nageurs de combat" watch are covered with luminescent material, contrasting with the matt black dial.

The traditional triangular mark that appeared on the first Fifty Fathoms models is back in its original spot at 12 o’clock. The black unidirectional rotating bezel highlights a luminescent time scale protected by a curved sapphire insert that is extremely resistant to shocks and scratches.

Blancpain Fifty Fathoms "Nageurs de combat" Edition ref. 5015E-1130-B52A

Housed in a 45 mm satin-brushed steel case that guarantees water-resistance to 30 bar (approx. 300 metres/ 1,000 feet), the 1315 self-winding movement of this model features a silicon hairspring serving as an antimagnetic shield. Beating at a frequency of 4 Hz (28,800 vph), it  provides a five-day power reserve thanks to its three series-coupled mainspring barrels.

Blancpain Fifty Fathoms "Nageurs de combat" Edition

The Blancpain Fifty Fathoms "Nageurs de combat" ref. 5015E-1130-B52A has a price of Euro 14,710. blancpain.com

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Time and Watches | The watch blog: Blancpain - Fifty Fathoms "Nageurs de combat" Edition
Blancpain - Fifty Fathoms "Nageurs de combat" Edition
In tribute to the close collaboration with the founders of the French Combat Swimmers unit, Blancpain created a 300-piece special edition of its iconic diver’s watch, the Fifty Fathoms "Nageurs de combat" Edition. The Blancpain Fifty Fathoms "Nageurs de combat" ref. 5015E-1130-B52A has a price of Euro 14,710.
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Time and Watches | The watch blog
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