In the history of diving watches, a few names tend to stand out as pioneers and innovators; Rolex. DOXA. Blancpain.
The latter changed the world with its Fifty Fathoms, a timepiece that many consider (and rightfully so) to be the world's first true diver's watch. And as such, vintage Fifty Fathoms are highly sought-after by collectors, and tend to command pretty significant numbers. Fortunately for us, it wasn't the only diver the vaunted brand from Le Brassus produced.
The piece we're offering here is scaled-down version of the Fifty Fathoms called a Bathyscaphe. In recent years, Blancpain has revived this nomenclature, but for decades after their original production, the name languished in obscurity.
Sized at 37mm, this Bathyscaphe is sized just right for modern sensibilities, and features a crisp case with beveled lugs, a bi-directionally rotating acrylic timing bezel, and characteristic oversized hands with plenty of luminous material. Most excitingly, this particular example features a stunning grey dial with perfectly aged luminous plots and a black date wheel at 3:00.
When we tell you this is a rare configuration, we really mean it. Research has turned up only a small handful of these beautiful pieces - and this example is far and away the best condition we have ever seen, in the metal or online. Really outstanding.
For the dive watch enthusiast, a foray into Blancpain ownership is a must, and this is a tremendous opportunity to pick up something truly unique and special. Don't wait too long on this one!
As one of the first purpose-built dive watches, the importance of the Blancpain Fifty Fathoms cannot be overstated. Throughout its five decades of production, it has spawned countless competitors… and imitations. Although at first glance this particular watch might seem to be one of the many copycats released in the late 1950s and 1960s, the truth is that it’s anything but.
The Bathyscaphe was a smaller, simpler timepiece conceptualized alongside the Fifty Fathoms. It was conceived as an entry-level model for the brand, since many of its larger brethren were destined for lives spent underwater on the wrists of professional or military divers. With the same look and feel of the Fifty Fathoms, the Bathyscaphe was the perfect fit for the amateur diver.
Like the Fifty Fathoms, the Bathyscaphe was also licensed and sold under a few different brand names, including Waltham here in the United States. In 1954, Waltham opened a subsidiary in Lausanne, Switzerland, with the intention of producing parts that the brand couldn't readily make or import to the United States. Shortly thereafter, the Bathyscaphe hit the market, running from 1959 before being discontinued in 1967.
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