A frequent question comes up in fora and other places where we discuss watches: among the two titanium versions of the Fifty Fathoms Automatique, which one to choose? Let‘s put them next to each other to allow for best informed decision making based on many photos in comparable settings and the two watches on different strap configurations.
The Fifty Fathoms Automatique titanium models
Blancpain introduced the Fifty Fathoms titanium ref 5015-12B40 with blue dial and bezel in 2017 and the version with black dial and bezel, reference 5015-12B30, in 2019. Both instantly received a lot of positive feedback and became top selling variants of the 5015.
There are very good reasons for the positive reactions: the lower weight of titanium comes in handy with a rather large watch since you have a better weight distribution on the wrist. The titanium Fifty Fathoms measures 45mm in diameter, 14mm in height and 50mm lug to lug.
The watches also offer a sapphire case back to fully appreciate the hand finished calibre 1315, beating at 4Hz and offering 5 days of power reserve. This movement combines the qualities of a reliable and sturdy work horse with Blancpain typical refinement in design and decoration. With a silicon balance spring the antimagnetic qualities are maintained without the soft iron cage known from the standard 5015 as it was introduced in 2007 and the opportunity arose to make calibre 1315 visible through a display case back.
The case has a beautiful satin brushed finish, enhancing the tool watch character of the Fifty Fathoms, which is still a purpose driven instrument despite being possibly the most luxurious and best executed dive watch in the market.
The Fifty Fathoms Automatique titanium is available on the well known sailcloth strap, secured by either tang buckle or deployant clasp, on a textile Nato strap with tang buckle or – just released as a 2020 novelty – on a titanium bracelet. For this report I chose the black version on sailcloth with deployant and the blue watch on the Nato strap. If you want to get a sense of the bracelet you can find my overview on the 2020 novelties here and a first hands-on report, albeit on the FF Grande Date, here.
A very difficult choice
Now, all above mentioned features apply to both titanium versions, which makes the choice between both very hard. One one hand you have the traditional black dial: versatile, classic and fully independent from any trend or fashion. One the other hand, the blue dial and bezel, resembling the colors of the sea, provide that tiny bit of flamboyance which makes the watch stand out and attract attention.
Here are two wrist turn videos, my wrist is approximately 17cm in circumference:
The blue titanium Fifty Fathoms exposes some material related effects more strongly than the black watch. Obviously the sapphire bezel reflects light in a different way than the sunburst dial, so you will notice a difference in the shade of blue exposed by both, although they are very close and harmonious.
Let’s see the blue titanium Fifty Fathoms in a variety of wrist shots to fully appreciate its charismatic appearance:
The dial of the black titanium Fifty Fathoms also has a sunburst finish, so it plays with the direct sunlight, as does the sapphire bezel, but the watch changes its expression a lot less under varying light conditions.
An honest comparison of course requires a similar set of wrist shots:
The choice between sailcloth or Nato strap is of course following personal preferences. I like the Nato strap a lot since it sits more harmonious with the case lugs. When choosing the sailcloth I highly recommend going for the deployant instead of the tang buckle. It is not only safer and provides a better weight balance on the wrist, it also helps to keep wear and tear on the strap to a minimum.
Let me close this comparison with some final wrist shots of both versions , I hope you enjoyed the report and the photos and find this comparison helpful. It may still remain a mystery which one to choose among these two Fifty Fathoms, but that’s a wonderful problem to have!
The blue titanium Fifty Fathoms can be found here on the Blancpain website, the black version here, the new alternative on bracelet here. A first hands-on report on the titanium bracelet can be found here in the blog. The deconstruction of the Fifty Fathoms Automatique by Peter Speake-Marin can be accessed here in the blog.