Blancpain - The Geneva Watch Auction: XIII Geneva Saturday, May 8, 2021 | Phillips

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  • Manufacturer: Blancpain
    Year: Circa 1955
    Case No: 273'879
    Model Name: Fifty Fathoms
    Material: Stainless steel
    Calibre: Automatic, cal. AS 1361N, 17 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: NATO strap
    Clasp/Buckle: Plastic buckle
    Dimensions: 41mm. Diameter
    Signed: Case, dial and movement signed

  • Catalogue Essay

    First released in 1953, Blancpain’s Fifty Fathoms was Blancpain's first commercially available modern dive watch. The timepiece was developed in association with the French Navy and their professional diver unit, the Service de Documentation Extérieure et de Contre-Espionnage. The head of this unit was Captain Bob Maloubier, who personally sketched out the watch that would one day be fully realized as the Blancpain Fifty Fathoms. Maloubier found a champion for his project in Blancpain’s CEO Jean-Jacques Fiechter - a passionate diver himself. Fiechter named the watch after the greatest depth that a combat diver was believed able to withstand at the time, fifty fathoms or 91.45 meters.

    Through the last decades, the Fifty Fathoms has become a highly sought after and collectible mid-20th century watch. Extremely robust and reliable, it was truly designed by military professionals, and was soon selected by other militaries around the world for their diving units, including the U.S. Navy. The watch combined cutting edge features such as an anti-magnetic and water-resistant case, a screw down caseback, a "double O-ring crown system", an automatic movement and a rotating bezel. Retailed by LIP around 1955, this timepiece watch is a real treasure for collectors seeking a historically important and conceptually modern tool watch in great overall condition.

  • 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 wristwatch with black glossy dial, retailed by LIP

Circa 1955
41mm. Diameter
Case, dial and movement signed

CHF25,000 - 50,000 

Sold for CHF42,840

Contact Specialist

Alexandre Ghotbi
Head of Watches, Continental Europe and the Middle East

41 79 637 1724



The Geneva Watch Auction: XIII

Geneva Auction 8 - 9 May 2021