A rare and fine stainless steel diver’s wristwatch with humidity indicator and Bakelite bezel

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  • Manufacturer: Blancpain
    Year: Circa 1968
    Case No: 301'472
    Model Name: Fifty Fathoms
    Material: Stainless steel
    Calibre: Automatic, cal. 1700/01, 17 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: Leather
    Dimensions: 41mm. Diameter
    Signed: Case, dial and movement signed, case and movement signed Rayville

  • Catalogue Essay

    Blancpain’s Fifty Fathom was the first commercially available modern dive watch when first released in 1953. It was an extremely robust timepiece featuring cutting edge technology like an anti-magnetic screw down caseback, automatic movement, double O-ring crown and rotating calibrated bezel. The watch was developed in association with the French Navy and their professional diver unit, the Service de Documentation Extérieure et de Contre-Espionnage. Named for what at the time was perceived to the greatest depth a combat diver could dive, the Fifty Fathoms today is a highly collectible mid-20th century watch.

    Presented in extremely nice overall condition, the present “Milspec 1” example features the humidity indicator, which was designed to turn pink when water [humidity] penetrated the case. The case and movement feature the “Rayville S. A.” signature denoting the watch was destined for the American market. While the “Milspec 1” signature on the dial would indicate military use it was made for civilian market. The watch is extremely well preserved, and features an equally nice Bakelite bezel. Today’s collectors seek watches that not only have a place in history, but are examples they can be proud. This Blancpain meets all the requirements a discerning collector seeks.

  • 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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936

FROM AN ASIAN COLLECTOR

Blancpain

A rare and fine stainless steel diver’s wristwatch with humidity indicator and Bakelite bezel

寶珀,精細及罕有,精鋼自動上弦腕錶,配溼度計及「Bakelite」塑膠錶圈,約1968年製

Circa 1968
41mm. Diameter
Case, dial and movement signed, case and movement signed Rayville

Estimate
HK$120,000 - 200,000 
€13,200-22,000
$15,400-25,600

sold for HK$462,500

Contact Specialist
Thomas Perazzi
Head of Watches, Asia
+852 2318 2030
thomasperazzi@phillips.com

Ziyong Ho
Specialist
+852 9386 2032
ziyongho@phillips.com

Jill Chen
Specialist
+852 2318 2033
jillchen@phillips.com

The Hong Kong Watch Auction: SIX

Hong Kong Auction 29 May 2018