Introducing The Blancpain Fifty Fathoms 70th Anniversary Act 3 Watch Ref 5901-5630-NANA

Hot off the heels of the Swatch x Blancpain collaboration, Blancpain introduces the third act to its Fifty Fathoms 70th anniversary collection.


The Blancpain Fifty Fathoms is often regarded as the world’s first diving watch to take the format that we know today. There had been plenty of water-resistant watches made already by 1953, including what we can say is the first watch designed with diving in mind, the Marine by Omega, which came about in the 1930s. Omega’s Marine, however, looks nothing like a diving watch of today, as it was a small square watch with a water-resistant cover that slid over it. Blancpain’s Fifty Fathoms could well have been the first diver to take the form we now know, but it could also have been Zodiac’s Sea Wolf which came about at roughly the same time. 

Whatever happened, they came about before the Rolex Submariner, so that’s something.

Anyway, unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past nine months or you’re brand new to the obsession for wristwatches (if so, welcome, make yourself comfy) you’ll have noticed that Blancpain has released some intriguing new 70th anniversary models. Following the Fifty Fathoms 70th Anniversary Act 1 and Fifty Fathoms 70th Anniversary Act 2 Tech Gombessa comes, you guessed it, the Fifty Fathoms 70th Anniversary Act 3.

I was quite surprised when this one came out. As far as I’m aware, Blancpain hasn’t made many bronze watches recently (if ever), so to see this one following the trend a little is interesting. Bronze watches are quite unique. The metal’s properties mean it patinates easily and captures a certain charm, or possibly bacteria, as it goes along. This watch isn’t a solid bronze piece, though. It’s made of something called 9K Bronze Gold, a secret alloy of copper (50%), gold (37.5%), silver, palladium and gallium. 

This watch might look like the other Fifty Fathoms Blancpain makes, but. it actually pays tribute to the original MIL-SPEC watches issued to various armed forces from the 1950s. This was the early days of Scuba diving and it was treacherous (it still is, but not to the same level), but the various navies of the world required sub-surface forces, and so those forces needed equipment that worked. At the time, Blancpain’s watches were only available to armed forces as issued equipment, a business model that would ruin them when the quartz crisis hit in the 1970s. In 1957, Blancpain issued diving watches with a dot on their dials, this was required by the US Navy as the dot reacts to moisture and can therefore indicate to the soldier if their lifeline tool has been compromised.

The original MIL-SPEC watches measured 41.3mm x 13.3mm and that’s what this one measures too, and water resistance is still 300m. You’ll notice as well that this new one is quite historical in its design, Blancpain’s Fifty Fathoms today has a very modern look, but this one has a flat diving bezel with a ceramic insert and luminescent markings. The crystal over the dial has quite a steep bubble effect, and the dial has vintage-coloured SuperLumiNova on the hands and markers. Perhaps white lume would’ve been more appropriate so that it can patinate over time. The NATO strap is cool, though, and matches the tones of the case.

Inside the case is the self-winding 1154.P2 movement, which has a long power reserve of 100 hours. It’s also using silicone components and is resistant to magnetism to up to 1000 Gauss, a first for Blancpain. The old MIL-SPEC watches needed a soft iron core around the movement to protect them from magnetic fields, the traditional way of doing it, but clever engineering now allows for the movement to be visible and still unaffected.

The watch itself is limited to 555 examples worldwide, and each one is presented in a special display box which is designed to look like the housings of scuba diving cameras from back in the day. Blancpain, as you know, has a lot of connections with underwater ocean protection initiatives, and those initiatives need photos. 

The price of this one is CHF 30,000.