Blancpain - The Geneva Watch Auction: FIVE Geneva Friday, May 12, 2017 | Phillips

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  • Manufacturer: Blancpain
    Year: circa 1970
    Case No: 207'956
    Model Name: Fifty Fathoms - Milspec I
    Material: Stainless steel
    Calibre: Automatic, cal. AS 1700., 17 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: Apollo Tropic strap, marked 20-21mm, reference 23055
    Clasp/Buckle: Stainless steel pin buckle
    Dimensions: 41mm. Diameter
    Signed: Case, dial and movement signed
    Accessories: Accompanied by Blancpain Fifty Fathoms exhibition certificate and original paper tag from the 275th anniversary exhibition

  • Catalogue Essay

    Just after World War II, the offer of diver’s watches was low. When the French military combat divers’ elite troops’ captain Robert Maloubier and Lieutnant Claude Riffaud looked for a tool watch to accompany their frogmen in their missions, they were unable to find a watch that met all their requirements: a unidirectional rotating bezel , a water-resistant case, an automatic winding movement (to minimize the number of times the crown is pulled out) and protection from magnetic fields. By designing this watch, the two men actually set the standards for modern divers watches. While their search for a watch manufacture that would produce their watch was a daunting task, they met with Mr Fiechter, Blancpain’s CEO, the partner they had been looking for.

    Since its launch in 1953, the Blancpain Fifty Fathoms has gained iconic status within the watchmaking and diving world, having also undergone several variations. The present example is the very sought after MILSPEC I version with a humidity tester at 6 o’clock. Despite some military specifications, the present watch is a civilian version as shown by the two parts body case, the bi directional bezel and the luminous diamond hour marker at 12 o’clock. The back of the case is further engraved with the retailer’s name, in this case the diving equipment store Barakuda. Presented today in excellent condition with a superb black glossy dial, this watch is a rare opportunity to own a watch that has been exhibited as the embodiment of the Fifty Fathoms collection during the exhibition commemorating the 275th anniversary of the brand.

  • Artist Biography


    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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A rare and highly attractive stainless steel diver's watch with black glossy dial, humidity indicator and exhibition certificate, retailed by Barakuda

circa 1970
41mm. Diameter
Case, dial and movement signed

CHF20,000 - 30,000 

Sold for CHF40,000

Contact Specialist
Alexandre Ghotbi
+41 22 317 81 89

The Geneva Watch Auction: FIVE

Geneva Auctions 13 – 14 May 2017