Flashback: Fifty Fathoms Concept 2000

Just in time to celebrate the new millennium, Blancpain introduced an avantgarde design, called Concept 2000, within the Trilogy line in 1999. Let‘s take a closer look at the Fifty Fathoms Concept 2000, reference 2200-4430-44.

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Three models, representing water, land and air, formed the Trilogy series in the 1990s: the Fifty Fathoms, the FF GMT and the Air Command. In 1999 an at the time groundbreaking version of all three entered the horological universe, called Concept 2000.

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Jean-Claude Biver, at that time still at the helm of Blancpain, called the Concept 2000 models a translation of his „Fusion“ idea, combining different materials in one watch. In this case the combination included stainless steel, red gold, white gold or platinum and rubber elements which were strengthened with fiberglass.

The difference on appearance compared to the standard Trilogy models was significant: for the first time the metal components were satin brushed, which went well with the matte finish of the rubber components.

The specimen I encountered for this report is an ultra rare version, the limited to 10 pieces Fifty Fathoms Concept 2000 platinum. It takes a very close look at the case or bracelet markings to distinguish this one from the stainless steel version, but the moment you hold it your hands or you strap it on, the significantly higher weight reveals that you are dealing with an exceptional Concept 2000 watch.

The case measures 40.3mm in diameter and 13mm in height, so it is comparable to the recent 40mm Fifty Fathoms limited editions (MilSpec, OCIII, Barakuda). The rubber coated screw in crown shows the Blancpain logo, on the other case flank you the typical Blancpain engraving known from the Trilogy and Leman series.

The bezel and the solid case back on the other hand are typical for the Trilogy series. The bezel insert with its big raised numerals is framed by rubber elements, giving it a less „bling“ factor than with the standard Trilogy models.

The beautifully circular brushed case back shows various engravings, stipulating the model, the special edition status and the individual number of the watch.

The ebony black multi level dial features the Trilogy typical applied white gold numerals filled with green SuperLuminova. The white gold sword hands are also well known from all Trilogy models.

The X-71 bracelet has the center links executed in fiberglass strengthened rubber, the hidden double folding clasp is made from white gold.

Besides the distinguished look, the pleasure having the Fifty Fathoms Concept 2000 on the wrist is exceptional. The watch wears like a glove, actually it is one of the most comfortable watches I experienced in my lifetime.

The Fifty Fathoms Concept 2000 is showing a design that’s clearly not for everyone. The material mix is an outlier in the Blancpain back catalogue, and its lifespan did only last for 4 years.

It definitely has a story to tell, though. And especially in one of the rare precious metal versions the Concept 2000 is a highly collectible timepiece.

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I would like to thank the Blancpain Boutique Munich for giving me the opportunity to capture this rare timepiece.

You find an overview on the Trilogy series here in the blog. I hope you enjoyed the report and the photos.

Cheers

Henrik

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