2023 is only 2 days old and Blancpain starts the anniversary year of their iconic dive watch with the introduction of what they call Act 1 of the celebration, the 42mm Fifty Fathoms 70th Anniversary reference 5010A/B/C-1130-NABA. Let’s take a first look based on the just released official press material.
Three series with 70 pieces each
Just like the Fifty Fathoms 50th Anniversary from 2003, this celebratory timepiece is a limited edition with a twist.
It will be distributed in three 3 series (EMEA, Asia Pacific, America) with 70 pieces each. The press release mentions an online reservation process via the Blancpain website, which definitely needs more explanation to be understood clearly.
The long awaited 42mm Fifty Fathoms is here
Many watch enthusiasts wished for a Fifty Fathoms in a size that fits almost every wrist, now it has become reality:
With exactly 42.3mm positioned right between the 45mm Fifty Fathoms regular collection models and the 40mm Fifty Fathoms limited editions, the new reference 5010 offers the beautifully curved case shape and the emblematic sapphire bezel insert we know from the FF 5015.
The polished stainless steel case looks just like a smaller twin of the 45mm Fifty Fathoms 5015, every single component has been adjusted meticulously to keep the overall aesthetic appearance just as sublime as the larger version.
The black dial has a subtle sunburst finish, just like the 2003 50th Anniversary FF. Another similarity is the print, showing the number of the series and the 70th Anniversary signature.
But there’s one remarkable difference: the rather large numerals and indices are shaped and faceted just like the metal ones of the 2003 watch, however they seem to be made entirely from SuperLuminova.
The polished pencil hands are a straightforward choice for this anniversary timepiece, based on the official renderings they look a bit undersized compared in relation to the numerals and indices to me.
Other than with the 40mm Fifty Fathoms editions, Blancpain managed to fit the sublime caliber 1315 into the 42mm case, and a sapphire case back showcases it in all its glory.
To celebrate the 70th anniversary, reference 5010A/B/C-1130-NABA features a platinum rotor with the celebratory signature. I think this reference to the platinum anniversary known from marriages is a very nice touch.
The strap configuration
The Fifty Fathoms 70th Anniversary is only available on a black Nato strap, there does not seem to be another option like a sailcloth or bracelet. The technical sheet speaks of 21,5mm between the lugs, but I suspect a 22mm strap should work, too.
A new chapter for the Fifty Fathoms
Some will criticize the nature of this 42mm Fifty Fathoms being a limited edition with a rather small quantity. But I would be very surprised if Blancpain had gone through the process of creating a new case for only 210 watches. At some point I guess we will see a regular collection 42mm Fifty Fathoms, which would no doubt be a huge success.
Here‘s the official press release for you to read what Blancpain says about this first anniversary year release:blancpain_70_anniversary_act_1_en-1
And here’s the technical sheet for the Fifty Fathoms 70th Anniversary:
Now let’s find out how the pre-order process works. I hope I can get my hands on the Fifty Fathoms 70th Anniversary at some point to provide you with real life photos and a comprehensive review.
You find the Anniversary celebration here on the Blancpain website. If you’re interested you can find my essay on the 2003 Fifty Fathoms 50th Anniversary here and an overview on the previous 69 years of the iconic dive watch here in the blog.
Cheers (and all the best wishes for 2023)