Wednesday, May 10, 2006

The "Vintage Serie"
Blancpain Fifty Fathoms

Stainless steel, center-seconds, self-winding, water-resistant, anti-magnetic diver's wristwatch. Four-body case, polished, graduated and bi-directional revolving bezel, screwed-down case back, anti-magnetic protection shield. Black dial with radium-coated indexes. Radium-coated “bâton” hands. Movement: Caliber AS 1361N, rhodium-plated, 17 jewels, straight line lever escapement, monometallic balance, shock-absorber, self-compensating flat balance-spring. Diameter 41 mm. Thickness 12 mm. Production of the Fifty Fathoms watch started in 1953 after an initiative of the French Ministry of Defense and the French Navy to produce a water-resistant watch for its special mission’s divers. At the time, an autonomous diver could reach 91 meters using normal compressed air. This depth meant 50 pitch-stirrers of 1.8 meters or 50 fathoms. It was a safety threshold for the divers and surpassed only later by Comex with a mix of helium and air; the watch itself could withstand the pressures in 150 meters’ depth. Ref. 1573 was made between 1956 and 1960.

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