Blancpain - The Geneva Watch Auction: XVIII Geneva Friday, November 3, 2023 | Phillips
  • Manufacturer: Blancpain
    Year: Circa 1965
    Case No: 3'224
    Model Name: Fifty Fathoms 1000
    Material: Bronze, stainless steel back
    Calibre: Automatic, cal. R337 (FD), 17 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: Leather strap embossed "C.V.W. 8 Nimitz Us Navy"
    Clasp/Buckle: Bronze pin buckle
    Dimensions: 41mm Diameter
    Signed: Case, dial and movement signed
    Accessories: Accompanied by Blancpain certificate of participation the the Fifty Fathoms exhibition held for the 275th Anniversary of Blancpain. Furthermore accompanied by examination paper dated October 28, 2010.

  • Exhibited

    Exhibited at the Fifty Fathoms Exhibition held in conjunction with the 275th Anniversary of Blancpain

  • Catalogue Essay

    The Fifty Fathoms is one of the most recognisable and appreciated diver’s watches of all time. A tour-de-force of technical expertise, the watch was developed with ultimate waterproofness in mind, and the present piece represents the ultimate incarnation of that effort - sporting a water resistance up to 1000 meters.

    Such incredible waterproofness undoubtedly played a part in the incredible state of conservation of the dial, on which the passage of time seems to have left hardly a mark: the luminous material is flawless, the graphics crisp and lossless, the surface unmarred. The case as well is offered in superior condition, sporting unmolested proportions and a highly unusual greenish patina.

    Indeed, it is from this patina that one can surmise the true importance and rarity of the piece as this is not a stainless steel example, but rather the most elusive bronze version. So far known in about 10 pieces - all with numbers between 3200 and 3246 - the present piece not only impresses with its rarity and looks, but it is furthermore one of the earliest instances in the history of wristwatches when bronze has been used as a case material (a metal more than one brand rediscovered in recent days).

    Given its perfect storm of condition, rarity and historical interest, the present watch was chosen as a representative of the entire Fifty Fathoms line in a dedicated exhibition held during the 275th Anniversary of Blancpain. As the relative Certificate states, after examination it was determined that “the watch was a superior and noteworthy example of a vintage Fifty Fathoms”.

  • 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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An awe-inspiring, supremely elusive and very well preserved bronze and stainless steel diver's wristwatch with center seconds, date, and military strap, part of the Fifthy Fathoms Exhibition held for the 275th anniversary of Blancpain

Circa 1965
41mm Diameter
Case, dial and movement signed

CHF35,000 - 70,000 

Sold for CHF88,900

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Alexandre Ghotbi
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+41 79 637 17 24

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Head of Sale, Geneva

+41 79 460 55 88


The Geneva Watch Auction: XVIII

Geneva Auction 3 - 4 November 2023