In 2003 Blancpain celebrated the 50th anniversary of an horological icon, the Fifty Fathoms and therefore the first professional diving watch introduced 1953.
To commemorate this significant milestone Blancpain released the Fifty Fathoms 50th Anniversary reference 2200A-1130-71 in a limited run of 150 pieces, split into three series with 50 watches each for Asia, Europe and North America.
I got close to buying one of those special pieces in late 2003 but missed out on it, a deep regret of mine. A few years ago I started hunting a full set in the secondary market, and the long wait is now finally over – so it’s time to create a designated report on this beautiful timepiece.
The Fifty Fathoms Anniversary is based on the Trilogy series FF, sharing the same case, hands and movement. As special elements the watch introduced the amazing unidirectional sapphire bezel for the very first time, combined with a beautiful domed crystal. It also featured a special dial, a commemorative engraving on the solid case back and the x-71 bracelet had a new type of screws, which require special tools but are less prone to damage.
The Fifty Fathoms Anniversary is not only a very special piece but also a bridge between the previous Trilogy series and the modern Fifty Fathoms reference 5015 from 2007. And, just as it’s predecessors and successors, it still is a professional diving instrument, offering full legibility and practicality, but being coupled with timeless beauty.
It came in a spectacular package with a box in form of a diving lamp to store the watch, an additional rubber strap with tang buckle, long enough to wear over a swim suit, and a strap change tool with spare parts.
It is remarkable how the sapphire bezel has transformed the Fifty Fathoms known from the Trilogy series into a true successor of the original FF from the 1950s. It is a wonderful modern interpretation of the vintage FF Bakelite bezel, and at the same time very durable. The use of a plain dial with a remarkably subtle sunburst finish also creates a totally different character than the previous Trilogy Fifty Fathoms.
Now, about 15 years after the Fifty Fathoms Anniversary was introduced, it has reached the status of being an icon itself. It is a perfect example for a commemorative timepiece in a limited edition that actually deserves that name. It’s rarity dictates patience when you want to buy one, especially in a true full collectors package and in excellent condition. But that only adds to the iconic status 😉
With 40,3mm case diameter and close to 14mm height the Fifty Fathoms Anniversary wears very comfortable, which is also due to the excellent X-71 bracelet.
Here are some shots to compare between the bracelet and the rubber strap configuration:
Let me close the report with a shot of the Fifty Fathoms Anniversary together with the recent two limited editions in a 40,3mm case, the Tribute to Fifty Fathoms MilSpec and the Fifty Fathoms Ocean Commitment III, as well as a 1997 Trilogy Fifty Fathoms with opaline dial.
I hope you enjoyed the report and the photos.