Six decades ago Blancpain unveiled the world’s first diving watch to use a proper standard. Omega beat them to it by nearly 20 years, but Blancpain’s Fifty Fathoms set the design that we know to be a diving watch today. Despite Rolex releasing the more popular Submariner under a year after Blancpain released their diver, it is nevertheless the Fifty Fathoms that has become a legend in the watch world. It was a rare watch when it was released, being issued only to military personnel, but today it is still a rarity and not an artificially induced scarcity by the manufacturer. Blancpain doesn’t make a lot of watches per year, preferring to take its time over the details, leaving us with what we deem to be a superior product.
The thing is, the Fifty Fathoms is also somewhat of a monster, most versions of the watch (excluding the surprisingly cool Bathyscaphe) are 45mm in diameter, and when we add in more complications, they get thicker too. All this in a stainless steel case means more heft, so to cater to those who prefer something a little lighter and even more rough and tumble ready, Blancpain created this: the Fifty Fathoms Automatique in Titanium.
Apart from the new, tougher case material, the Fifty Fathoms has hardly changed. It still has the domed sapphire crystal covering the dial, with an elegant domed sapphire crystal also covering the bezel, demonstrating Blancpain’s mastery of arts. The hands and markers are covered in SuperLumiNova, as well as the marks on the sapphire-covered bezel. The colouration of the watch is a pure black, so the only way to distinguish it from the steel models is the fact that the case is brushed, as Blancpain does with its titanium pieces.
Inside the watch is the in-house made Blancpain calibre 1315, with three coupled barrels to give you a very practical five-day power reserve. Using a silicone balance wheel also allows the movement to be highly resistant to magnetism. The case keeps the innards of the watch dry all the way down to 300 meters despite having a see through caseback to look at the elegantly finished movement.
Compared to other diver watches from member brands of the Swatch Group such as Omega’s Seamaster Planet Ocean, this watch is definitely more suited to elegant casual wear, yet it is still made to the same standards as other professional tools. Though, if you wanted to imagine yourself diving while out for dinner, a fully polished steel watch might be more suited. Nevertheless, the new Fifty Fathoms in titanium is bound to be a hit for the more active luxury watch enthusiasts among us. Price to be confirmed. Visit Blancpain here.