A rare and very attractive stainless steel diver's wristwatch with "No Radiations" black dial, made for the German army

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  • Manufacturer: Blancpain
    Year: Circa 1965/1970
    Case No: 208'142
    Model Name: Fifty Fathoms "Bund"
    Material: Stainless steel
    Calibre: Automatic, cal. AS 1700, 17 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: Rubber
    Clasp/Buckle: Stainless steel folding deployant clasp
    Dimensions: 41mm. Diameter
    Signed: Case, dial and movement signed

  • Catalogue Essay

    After the Second World War, the French Navy created a new combat unit composed of professional divers. Needing to properly equip their personnel, they were unable to find a suitable dive watch that could survive the harsh conditions of their underwater missions. Captain Robert Maloubier and Lieutenant Claude Riffaud of the Service de Documentation Extérieure et de Contre-Espionnage, in charge of the new unit, decided to design a watch that met their requirements. After approaching many brands, it was Blancpain’s CEO Jean-Jacques Fiechter - a passionate diver himself – who agreed to produce the watch under the name Fifty Fathoms. Extremely robust as it was truly designed by military professionals, the Fifty Fathoms was soon selected by others militaries around the world for their diving units.
    The present example was made for the German military, and as expected from a watch that was worn during military service, the case back is worn but the Bundeswehr inscription along with the 13 digit NATO stock number : 6645-12-149-5012 is still highly legible. Fitted with its original ‘No Radiations’ dial, it was used during the 1960s when there was growing concern over the use of radioactive luminous material. Interestingly, the Fifty Fathoms made for the Bundeswehr are believed to be the only military-issued versions to feature such No Radiations dials. A very rare and attractive variant of the famous Fifty Fathoms that offers tremendous value for the collector.

  • 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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Blancpain

A rare and very attractive stainless steel diver's wristwatch with "No Radiations" black dial, made for the German army

Circa 1965/1970
41mm. Diameter
Case, dial and movement signed

Estimate
CHF15,000 - 25,000 
€13,800-23,000
$15,500-25,800

sold for CHF18,750

Contact Specialist
Alexandre Ghotbi
+41 22 317 81 89

The Geneva Watch Auction: FOUR

Geneva Auctions 12 – 13 November 2016