Many see the Fifty Fathoms Ref 5015 as the ultimate luxury dive watch, now this new limited version takes the reference back to its roots: I have the pleasure of showing you the limited to 300 pieces Fifty Fathoms “Nageurs de combat”, ref 5015E-1130-B52A.
66 years after the Fifty Fathoms was introduced as the first professional dive watch, developed under Jean-Jacques Fiechter at the helm at Blancpain in close cooperation with the French combat swimmers unit formed by Captain Robert “Bob” Maloubier and Lieutenant Claude Riffaud, Blancpain wanted to celebrate this heritage with a tribute version of reference 5015.
The watch should follow the criteria that made the Fifty Fathoms the choice of various naval divers forces around the globe from 1953 over more than 2 decades. The French Army supported this wish and therefore Blancpain can proudly present the Combat Diver Qualification Badge on the case back of this spectacular watch.
The face of this Fifty Fathoms is a masterpiece of clear contrast with large off-white indices and white lacquered hands over a matte black dial. The hands remind us of historic military watches with the minute hand having two sectors. The one element that does not have roots in historic military watches is the date indication, but since this is a modern interpretation of a combat swimmers watch there sure is no harm in adding it.
You have noticed the number 7 on the dial, very subtly executed in black on black. The explanation is as follows: as oxygen becomes toxic when its partial pressure reaches 1.7 bar, the maximum depth that commando frogmen can reach when using pure oxygen is 7 metres, therefore this number has become a symbolic figure amongst combat swimmers.
The brushed stainless steel case supports the professional appeal of this reference… and it leaves the one shiny element of the watch to the solid caseback, which is shielding the well known calibre 1315.
The engraved Combat Diver Qualification Badge, showing a central anchor dedicated to sailors and flanked by two winged seahorses representing the underwater
world as well as parachutists, is a true eye catcher. For any proud future owner the Fifty Fathoms “Nageurs de combat” will reveal this impressive element only when the watch is off the wrist, but the knowledge about it will enhance the joy of wearing it every single moment.
The Fifty Fathoms “Nageurs de combat” left me with a strong wish to one day add this one to my modest collection. It is the quintessential blend of Haute Horlogerie quality and finishing with the strong tradition of military use “no nonsense” design features. What a piece to celebrate the joint heritage of the Blancpain Fifty Fathoms and the French Combat Swimmers!
I hope you enjoyed the report and the photos. I want to add a big MERCI BEAUCOUP to Blancpain for the opportunity to see and take photos of this watch!
As usual, please find the official press release and the technical data of the exceptional Fifty Fathoms “Nageurs de combat” below.