Blancpain: Not Fifty Cents Of Fifty Cents

When it comes to diving watches, watch friends are more likely to think of Rolex’s Submariner or Omega’s Seamaster, but the ancestor of this type of watch is not the more well-known of them, but Blancpain Fifty Fathoms. Shortly after the end of World War II, in 1952, the French government became an assault frogman unit called ‘Nageuers de combat’. Their role is to conduct secret investigations and effective strikes on targets through waterways. At the time, the founders of the army, Robert Maloubier and Claude Jean Riffaud, in addition to recruiting elite commandos, also had a difficult problem before them: purchasing suitable diving equipment, including the ability to wear underwater. Used watch. After all, for team members performing special tasks, a unified time helps a unified action. But unfortunately, Robert and Claude tested the watches on the market at the time and found that they could not meet the needs of the assault frogman unit, so they had to think about customizing with the watch manufacturer. Robert and Claude found the famous French watch brand LIP, but LIP rejected them directly. Because at that time, diving was only a very niche activity, and few people except professionals participated. For Lip, it was not cost-effective to develop a niche product independently, taking great market risks. Regular models. While Robert and Claude were at a loss, through the introduction of diving equipment suppliers, they met Jean-Jacques Fiechter, CEO of the watch brand Blancpain. Compared with LIP, Blancpain Blancpain was much smaller in scale and popularity at the time, but it was also because of its small size and lack of shelf. In addition, Jacques Fiechter himself was an avid diving enthusiast, so Blancpain Blancpain took over the assault frogman unit. Watch development. In 1953, the Blancpain Fifty Fathoms was born, slightly before the Rolex Submariner and the Omega Seamaster 300 released in 1957, becoming the earliest diving watches. In 1999, Blancpain re-made the highly significant Fifty Fathoms in the history of the brand and launched a modern version. In that year it was not a separate series, but belonged to the ‘Concept 2000’ series. Together with the GMT dual time and pilot time in this series, they are collectively called the ‘Trilogy’ trilogy. In 2003, in order to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the birth of Fifty Fathoms, Blancpain launched a limited edition work, which obviously changed the rotating outer ring and added sapphire on the basis of metal. However, it was not until 2007 that Fifty Fathoms alone became a collection under the Blancpain brand. And according to the 50th anniversary edition of 2003, a mass production version was launched, which is also the most ‘basic’ impression of the majority of watch friends on the Fifty Fathoms series. In 2013, Blancpain released the new ‘Fifty Fathoms’ at the Basel Watch Fair, replacing them with ceramic rotating outer rings. So many table friends called the sapphire Fifty Fathoms ‘old’ and the ceramic version ‘new’. The ‘old’ Fifty Fathoms outer ring is made of sapphire with a slight arch, and the case has a rounded line and a 45 mm diameter, so it is known as ‘rich and fat’. The new ceramic ring Fifty Fathoms is a diving watch, but the appearance is more ‘smart’. The width of the rotating outer ring is significantly reduced, and the pointer is replaced with a square ‘candle’ shape. The most ‘sharp’ part is the lugs. The new ceramic ring Fifty Fathoms not only reduces the width of the lugs, but also uses a chamfered angle, supplemented by brushed sanding. Can be described as sharp-angled, full of three-dimensional sense. The ‘old model’ Fifty Fathoms uses a dense bottom design, and the new one uses a sapphire transparent bottom cover. You can see the Cal. 1315, the self-produced movement inside. The three barrels can provide up to 5 days of power reserve time, and the combination of fine adjustment without weights and silicon balance springs ensures the accuracy of the travel time. The automatic rotor used for winding is made of 18K yellow gold, but in order to match the tough style of military watches, Blancpain has been electroplated on the surface of the automatic rotor, with a gray-black NAC platinum alloy coating. As for the movement polishing that many watch friends care about, this Cal.1315 is also very good. Foreign watch media Naked Watchmaker is known for disassembling the movement. It has released high-resolution photos of the complete disassembly of the Blancpain Cal.1315 movement. Through these rare information from ordinary watch friends, we can find that Blancpain’s movement scale polishing of the movement, the type of chamfering of the edge of the splint, and the processing of the gear train are all the best in the same price. . The shape is highly recognizable, in line with the aesthetics of the younger market, and the back can be seen through the movement of the movement. The more important is the ‘old’ Fifty Fathoms domestic price of 116,000 yuan, not only does the new model not increase the price, but Sinking to 79,500 yuan. This configuration + price makes the new ceramic ring the best-selling Fifty Fathoms. However, the new ceramic ring fifty yen is not a ‘real’ fifty yen. We can see ‘Bathyscaphe’ on the dial at six o’clock. In 1953, Jean-Jacques Fiechter, then CEO of Blancpain, developed fifty fathoms at the request of the French Army. For military personnel, the readability of diving watches in dark environments is very important, so the diameter of the watch reaches 41 mm. This size seems very suitable today, but in the era when the size of men’s watches generally ranged from 32-34 mm, it is undoubtedly heterogeneous. So around 1956, Fiechter made a diving watch suitable for daily wear in order to better meet the aesthetics of the times, called ‘Bathyscaphe’. The name comes from a deep-sea submersible that can be dived freely. It can be intuitively found that the so-called new ceramic ring Fifty Fathoms and antique Bathyscaphe are very similar in appearance, the same narrow bezel, beveled lugs … ‘Old’ Fifty Fatty 45 mm watch There is no way to adapt to most watch friends, so in 2013, Blancpain released the new ‘Bathyscaphe’, its size has been reduced to 43 mm (the actual case size is 41 mm). At the same time, for most watch friends, the diving watch looks the same, it is difficult to distinguish. Therefore, Blancpain classified the original ‘Bathyscaphe’ into the Fifty Fathoms series and promoted it. The best Fifty Fathoms sold are not the ‘real’ Fifty Fathoms. However, this ‘Bathyscaphe’ does sell well, and maybe one day will become a completely independent series. Just like Fifty Fathoms anchored in the ‘Concept 2000’ series, Omega Butterfly De Ville was born out of the Seamaster series, and Rolex Sea Duck originated from the submariner series. As long as the product quality is passed and the business is carefully managed, it will definitely grow.

Updated: 9. September 2020 — 15:55
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