The oldest post in this blog has covered my first photo session with the Blancpain Tribute to Fifty Fathoms MilSpec reference 5008-1130, which took place in September 2017. Two months later I was lucky enough to add this special timepiece to my collection, and it has been an absolute favorite every since. Let’s take a look at some impressions over 30 months of happy ownership.
This report on my 3 years with this limited to 500 pieces edition is very photo heavy. You will see the watch on various strap options other than the sailcloth, actually you‘ll see it predominantly on various Nato straps. I will explain later why that’s the case.
But let’s start with a number of close up shots to reveal the beauty of the ebony black dial with its slight sunburst finish, the moisture indicator and the painted SuperLuminova hour indices.
The Tribute to Fifty Fathoms MilSpec has a case diameter of 40.3mm at a height of 13mm. With this size the timepiece is suitable for almost any size of wrist, however: due to the sapphire bezel the dial is comparatively small, leaving an impression that the watch wears actually a bit smaller than its nominal size.
The Tribute to Fifty Fathoms MilSpec on various straps
This effect is compensated when you put the watch on a Nato strap, at least on a relatively small 17cm wrist like mine. I took delivery of the watch on the black textile Nato strap, here’s how that looks:
Searching for alternatives I found that Omega had some nice leather Nato straps available, so I ordered the light brown one, which complements the moisture indicator pretty well.
This strap is also available in a dark oxblood color, so I gave this combination a try as well. As you can see, the MilSpec is a very versatile watch, changing its character quite a bit with differently colored straps.
Another variation I tried is a light sand colored textile Omega Nato strap going by the name Biosteel. This again changes the expression of the watch, in my view it is a nice look for the summer:
With the introduction of the Fifty Fathoms Barakuda a new option came into play: the beautiful Tropic strap. In the 1950s and 60s Tropic straps have been a very common choice for many dive watches, but at the time they were made of plastics. This new one is a nicely made rubber strap, very comfortable on the wrist but still supporting this vintage feeling.
Update of this post after 36 months (Dec 2020)
This fall, when days got shorter, I needed some color spots so I found a beutifully executed Nato strap at Jean Rousseau in Paris. It makes the Tribute to MilSpec a fun summer watch, carrying the memory of warmer days into the darker part of the year.
By now you will have noticed that I like to change the straps on my Tribute to Fifty Fathoms frequently. In order to do that I immediately replaced the firm pins the watch came with against high quality curved spring bars. While the firm pins are absolutely necessary for fitting the X-71 bracelet, for normal straps they are just too much of a hassle to deal with.
Speaking of the bracelet, here’s this combination in some wrist shots.
My general experience so far
Now, besides the aesthetics, what else can I report 36 months in with the Tribute to Fifty Fathoms MilSpec?
The watch was running almost uninterrupted for the entire time, with the exception of in total 2-3 weeks when stored in a safety deposit box. It was on the wrist probably 2 days a week, and it has run flawlessly with an approximate accuracy of averaging +3 secs/day. The bezel is crisp and accurate in its positioning, the polished case shows some very minor signs of wear. As you would expect, luminosity is strong and distinctive:
The timepiece is powered by caliber 1151 with silicon hairspring, 100 hours of power reserve and a beautiful traditional hand finished decoration. The 18kt gold rotor is coated to achieve the rather technical look which is known from other Fifty Fathoms models.
The Tribute to Fifty Fathoms MilSpec was one of the first commemorative editions taking reference to iconic Blancpain timepieces. It followed the Tribute to Fifty Fathoms and the Tribute to Aqua Lung, both variations of reference 5015. Since 2017 we have seen a few more, with no doubt the Air Command and the Fifty Fathoms Barakuda being absolute highlights. To me, the MilSpec is still a personal favorite, though.
I will close this report with a few color reduced wrist shots, which I personally like since they focus even more on the timepiece.
I hope you enjoyed this experience report and the photos. You can find the watch here on the Blancpain website, my initial report on the Tribute to Fifty Fathoms MilSpec here in the blog and a size comparison between this watch and a 45mm Fifty Fathoms here. The Tribute to Fifty Fathoms MilSpec is covered in depth by Jeffrey S. Kingston in the Lettres du Brassus No 18 which is available through the Blancpain Library App or here on the Blancpain website.