Hands on with the Fifty Fathoms Grande Date

Since it’s release in 2007 the Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Automatique has seen quite a number of variations, we have seen two limited versions with historic roots (Tribute to Fifty Fathoms and Tribute to Aqua Lung), a few white FF (one plain, others with MOP dials), the DLC coated Dark Knight, some in precious metals (polished and brushed rose gold and white gold with blue dial), a brushed steel FF with a blue Flinqué dial and last year’s titanium FF with blue dial. 

The one version I personally expected (and hoped for) a lot earlier than 2018 is the new Fifty Fathoms Grande Date in brushed titanium. The Grande Date, changing instantly at midnight within a blink of an eye, has debuted 2005 in the Leman Aqua Lung Grande Date and it found it’s way into various timepieces (Leman, Villeret, L’Evolution) since then, but so far never into the Fifty Fathoms collection. 

 

Last week I had the chance to spend one day with the watch thanks to the Blancpain Boutique in Munich, and I’d like to share my view on the watch through a number of photos with you. 

Let’s get closer to the FF GD by some comparative shots with the standard Fifty Fathoms Automatique: 

Both watches share the same case design, the sapphire bezel, a black dial and the beautiful hands. The brushed finish gives the FF GD a bit more tool watch character, which is supported by leaving out the numerals for 3 and 9 on the dial. 

 

 

Other than the FF Automatique, the FF GD offers a view on calibre 1315 from the backside. Due to the Grande Date module, the case of the GD is a bit higher than the standard FF, but with a case diameter of 45mm that really does not disurb the proportions. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I alway found the Blancpain Fifty Fathoms to be difficult to capture in photos. Lightroom conditions take away from the depths, if you get too close the harmony of dimensions (which are fine in the three dimensional real world) gets distorted, if you use too much distance the beautiful details get lost. It is really a watch to be experienced in real life, being thought of as a legitimate diving instrument with allrounder qualities by Blancpain. As a diving intrument the FF does not have an outer antireflective coating on the crystal, which just adds to the difficulty to capture its real character in photographs. 

The Fifty Fathoms Grande Date is no exception to this rule. The brushed titanium case allows to capture the fine design a little easier, though. Here is a series of photos bringing you closer to the timepiece, some of them done with the help of a 6x Loupe System lens with light ring, hence the reflections. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The FF GD wears very nice, it is not too heavy and not too light. Due to the short lugs it sits comfortably on the wrist. The large date provides significant value for older eyes, watching the impressively quick date change at midnight is as much fun as it was 13 years ago with the Leman AL GD. Here’s a short video on the instant date change:

After a lot of close ups, here are some wrist shots: 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My personal conclusion after my one day with the watch: the Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Grande Date is a viable option within the line up, offering real added value but also preserving the legacy aspect. Next to the standard Fifty Fathoms Automatique the Grande Date is probably the most meaningful timepiece in the family, the brushed titanium case is a perfect alternative to the polished steel FF. One thing is missing, though: there is no titanium bracelet available, and currently it is not likely to be an option in the future. But with now two titanium FFs in the line up, maybe customer demand helps to convince Blancpain otherwise 😉 

Finally, a lume shot: 

 

I hope you enjoyed the report and the photos! 

Cheers 
Henrik 

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