This is the second new Blancpain timepiece with historic roots, the colorful and extrovert Fifty Fathoms Barakuda ref 5008B-1130-B52A. Let’s take a closer look at this beauty, which continues the theme of limited editions in the 40,3mm Fifty Fathoms case.
„The Fifty Fathoms Barakuda was made in the late 60’s. Barakuda was the name of a distributor of diving watches and tools in Germany.
The movement is the AS 1902, with automatic winding, of course, and with a date indication.
Some were used by the members of the Polish Navy, but it was not officially issued to them. The serial numbers observed are from 207 5xx to 208 1xx. The production is much less rare than the Air Command, with several hundreds made.
The hands and insert are common to some previous Fifty Fathoms. The dial stands out and has its own character and personality.
While the Air Command is a true myth and an icon, I would say that the Barakuda is a model of coolness.“
As Nicolas put it, the dial is indeed special and cool. I read one collector naming it a ketchup/mayo dial, a very spicy one… the bold red and creamy white accents definitely stood out at the time when the watch was introduced in 1968. And they still do today.
Since the prototype watch did not yet have its final Tropic strap, I had to take photos of the naked timepiece. You can see the strap on the official Blancpain photos at the bottom of the page.
The new Fifty Fathoms Barakuda stands true to the original dial, the coin edge bezel shape is a translation of the vintage watch as well. The bezel insert however is changed to the sapphire version we know from the Tribute to MilSpec.
The white lacquered hands are close but not identical to the vintage watch – in fact we know the hands in a mirror polished version from the Tribute to MilSpec and Ocean Commitment III.
The watch has the well known 40,3mm case with a sapphire case back revealing calibre 1151 with a new rotor design.
I am very curious to see the final strap of the watch in real life, but even without having seen it I think I can say that the Fifty Fathoms Barakuda is a worthy follow up to the Tribute to MilSpec and a very interesting option for those that like the Fifty Fathoms in the 40mm size.
The Fifty Fathoms Barakuda is limited to 500 pieces worldwide and stands strong in the tradition of limited 40mm Fifty Fathoms editions.
Update July 1, 2019: I finally had the chance to encounter the Fifty Fathoms Barakuda on its Tropic strap, so of course I share some impressions with you:
I hope you enjoyed the introduction and the photos. A heartfelt Merci Beaucoup goes to Nicolas Fondaneche for his important contribution to this report, and of course to Blancpain for letting me take the photos!
You find the official press release and the technical data of the Fifty Fathoms Barakuda below.