June 6, 2018
The Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Milspec is an elusive and incredibly rare watch. What makes this Milspec truly astonishing is it's unbelievable providence. The watch came from the original owner directly from the Navy in our home state of Florida. What could be better than a find like this?
The Blancpain Fifty Fathoms is considered the first true dive watch. It was launched in 1953 and was originally delivered to the French Navy. In 1952, French officers Bob Maloubier and Cluade Ruffaud sought to construct a watch that could be used during under-water diving missions. Dive watches at the time were considered 'tool watches' and their owners' lives depended on them. The two French officers met Jean-Jacques Fiechter, CEO of Blancpain and a passionate diver in his own right. The three of them worked together to make a watch that would fit the needs of combat divers. They came up with the patented gaskets for the crown and the case back, as well as the unidirectional bezel. This bezel was very important as it would let the diver know how much time they were under the water. In 1957, the water-resistance indicator was placed at 6 o'clock. If this indicator changed colors, the diver would know water was leaking into the watch and that the watch was compromised. Since divers depended on the reliability of these watches, this indicator was very valuable.
The watch we have here is one of the Fifty Fathoms Milspec with moisture indicator. The indicator still presents orange showing that the watch has never been compromised. This is a one owner watch that was given to the owner by the military. The condition of the piece is outstanding. The watch was worn for a few years when first received but has been sitting unworn for the last 40 plus years. The watch has been sent to Blancpain for a service and overhaul only. Nothing has been changed on this watch since it was born, not even the crystal. Blancpain is a great company that likes to preserve the vintage of its watches. Blancpain supplied a complete analysis and service report for the work done on this piece. Amazingly, pictures have been presented of the entire watch, before and after the cleaning. This is an incredible piece of history.