A rare and attractive stainless steel diver's wristwatch with revolving bezel, made for the Polish Military

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  • Manufacturer: Blancpain
    Year: Circa 1970
    Movement No: 619'655
    Case No: 207'630
    Model Name: Fifty Fathoms "Barracuda"
    Material: Stainless steel
    Calibre: Automatic, cal. AS 1902/03, 17 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: Rubber
    Clasp/Buckle: Stainless steel pin buckle
    Dimensions: 41mm Diameter
    Signed: Case, dial and movement signed, outside caseback engraved with military number MW 375

  • Catalogue Essay

    The Fifty Fathoms model is perhaps the most iconic military dive watch in history. Designed by Captain Robert Maloubier and Lieutenant Claude Riffaud at the beginning of the 1950s to respond to the need of the French Navy’s combat swimmers corps, the watch was produced by Blancpain, who’s former CEO, Mr Jean-Jacques Fiechter was himself a passionate diver. The model name derives from the watch's waterproof ability: it can be submerged up to Fifty Fathoms, or 91.45 meters underwater.

    Since the release of the Fifty Fathoms, Blancpain has launched a variety of versions. While the first models were made for military use, others were issued to the civilian market. The Barracuda model was originally issued to the American, German and Polish military. It is distinguished by its bicolor square indexes, which this model is best known for.

    The present watch displays a clear hand-engraved “MW”, which indicates the watch was delivered to the Polish navy. This information has also been confirmed by Blancpain. The dial and the case are preserved in excellent condition with the bezel free of any visible cracks. The tritium on the dial and bezel still glows under a black light. This military watch is a real treasure to collector seeking for an issued watch that survived in superb condition.

  • Maker Bio

    Blancpain

    Swiss • 1735

    As the watchmaking brand with the earliest founding date, Blancpain remains close to tradition, concentrating on classical mechanical watches. Established in 1735 by Jehan-Jacques Blancpain, the Le Brassus manufacturer today continues to innovate with the development of high-quality calibres and is proud of their heritage, having never made quartz watches. One of the firm's greatest successes was the Fifty Fathom wristwatch introduced in 1953 — the vintage models of which are now highly coveted by collectors. The earliest dive watch available to the market, Fifty Fathom came out a year prior to Rolex's Submariner.  Another key model is the Air Command from the 1960s, considered one of the most mythical collector's watches due to their extreme rarity. Today, the firm specializes in creative innovated complicated timepieces. 

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156

Blancpain

A rare and attractive stainless steel diver's wristwatch with revolving bezel, made for the Polish Military

Circa 1970
41mm Diameter
Case, dial and movement signed, outside caseback engraved with military number MW 375

Estimate
CHF10,000 - 15,000 
€8,600-12,900
$10,600-15,900

sold for CHF16,250

Contact Specialist
Alexandre Ghotbi
Head of Sale
+41 22 317 81 81
aghotbi@phillips.com

The Geneva Watch Auction: SEVEN

Geneva Auction 12-13 May 2018