Fifty Fathoms Milspec 1


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Category: Brand: Blancpain


Why We Love It Here at Analog: Shift, there is virtually no segment of vintage watch collecting that we love more than diver’s watches. We may never know whether they’ve seen an ocean, battlefield, or only an office in London. Regardless, we know that divers from the golden era of sports watches (1950s-1970s) were purpose-built, tough as nails, and provided functionality for a wide range of people all over the world. Alongside the Rolex Submariner and DOXA Sub 300 Series, the Fifty Fathoms is without question one of the most important dive watch designs in history. It is also often credited with being the first purpose-built timepiece with sub-aquatic usage in mind. The Navies of France, Germany, and the United States chose the Fifty Fathoms for their divers, and underwater explorer Jacques Cousteau appeared in a documentary with the watch strapped to his wrist. This particular example is a military-spec watch that was sold to the general public in the late 1950s and 1960s. It features a 41mm bead-blasted case, an oversize dive timing bezel with a luminous bakelite insert, and a lovely Tritium service dial replaced under contract by Blancpain with its characteristic moisture indicator. If you are looking to elevate your vintage watch game in a big way, this is not only a great start, but a great finishing point. The Story In 1952, the French Navy and Secret Services tasked two veterans with a formidable mission. These men-Lt. Claude Riffaud of the Navy and Captain Bob Maloubier of the Secret Services-were to create a specialized unit of combat divers, meant to act under the utmost secrecy. Some of the missions they were to enact included attacking ports and sabotage. Riffaud and Maloubier had a general idea of what gear the divers needed-compasses, depth gauges, watches. But as far as watches were concerned, there was no watch on the market specifically designed for the use to which these combat divers would put it. So Maloubier, armed with a pencil and pr


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