Blancpain - Geneva Watch Auction: TWO Geneva Saturday, November 7, 2015 | Phillips

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  • Manufacturer: Blancpain
    Year: 1960
    Reference No: 3217
    Model Name: "Milspec", "U.S. Navy"
    Material: Antimagnetic alloy
    Calibre: Automatic, cal. AS 1361, 17 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: Nylon
    Clasp/Buckle: Steel
    Dimensions: 41mm. Diameter
    Signed: Case, dial and movement signed

  • Catalogue Essay

    The present Blancpain "U.S. Navy" is one of the rarest diver's watches in the world, as until to date, we only know of three such examples in total. One of them participated at the Fifty Fathoms exhibition in 2010. The three watches have in common that their serial number all fall into the 3,200 sequence.

    These watches are part of the milspec 1 series with which they share the same bezel featuring a triangle but also the small winding crown. Equally they all feature the schild cal. 1361 modified with a hack feature, and this series features a humidity indicator placed on the dial below the center.

    We understand that Blancpain was pitching for a larger order with the U.S. Navy, for which purpose these watches were made. As Blancpain did not win this important contract, the "U.S. Navy" model never went beyond the prototype phase. The case is made of an anti-magnetic alloy with a greenish hue, often called bronze by collectors. The Blancpain "U.S. Navy" is not only one of the rarest diver's wristwatches in the world, but also one of the best looking. The present example here, in extraordinarily good condition must be considered one of the most worthy collectors watches to aficionados of diver's watches.

  • 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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Ref. 3217
An extremely rare and historically important stainless steel prototype wristwatch with centre seconds and humidity indicator, made for the U.S. Navy

41mm. Diameter
Case, dial and movement signed

CHF25,000 - 35,000 

Sold for CHF125,000

Contact Specialist
Nathalie Monbaron
+41 22 317 81 83

Geneva Watch Auction: TWO

Geneva Auction 7 & 8 November 2015 6:30pm