2021 Blancpain Fifty-Fathoms Bathyscaphe (Ref. 5008D/1130) "No Rad Limited Edition" W/ Full Set
Few modern companies carry a history that can rival Blancpain SA, which is recognized as being the first watch brand dating back to 1735 with an extensive pedigree of inventions and innovations within the now vast world of horology. The Blancpain dive watches are one of the most important innovations of the brand's history.
The idea for the Blancpain Fifty Fathoms was conceived in 1952, when French Navy members requested a wristwatch that was waterproof enough to withstand the pressures endured during the diving missions required of the elite team of combat “Frogmen” divers, also known today as a dive watch. The task of finding this watch was famously taken on by French Navy officers Captain Robert “Bob” Maloubier & Lieutenant Claude Riffaud, who after testing numerous "waterproof" watches at the time failed to find a fit for their tactical requirements. While these requirements may seem stock-standard today, in 1952 they were groundbreaking. A wristwatch that was water-resistant enough to survive a diving-based combat mission, but was also visible enough to be easily read underwater, even at night. Since no watch like this existed at the time, Capt. Maloubier created the blueprints for what would become the world's first diving watch, and sent them to various notable watchmakers to manufacture. Though, at the time most watchmaking brands were focused on manufacturing aviation watches, and weren't interested in making hyper-waterproof watches.
However, their luck would come to fruition when Capt. Maloubier and Lt. Riffaud engaged with Jean-Jacques Fiechter, the CEO of Blancpain SA from 1950 to 1980. Being a diver himself, Fiechter not only accepted the requirements to produce the timepiece for the elite combat diving team but improved upon the design, resulting in a product that not only adhered to the specifications set forth by the French Navy but innovated the watch industry as a whole.
The early versions of the Fifty-Fathoms utilized radium luminous material, which was commonplace in early watchmaking and wristwatches of the 1950s. But as the Cold War heightened throughout the 1960s, so did the awareness of the harmful properties of radiation. As a result, watch manufacturers began experimenting with different luminous compounds, though tritium became the most widely employed material across Swiss brands. Blancpain marketed this transition loudly and boldly so as to verbalize the safety of their products to the masses, resulting in dials that bore bright red and yellow radiation symbols with a black X through the logo and the text "No Radiation". This dial printing was first seen on the Fifty-Fathoms model and was kept in the transition to the improved Aqua Lung of the 1960s.
(Capt. Bob Maloubier wearing a Blancpain Fifty Fathoms)
The term "limited-edition" is all too often overused as a marketing tool by brands that it is actually rare when a truly exclusive limited-edition timepiece makes its way onto the scene. This is why we are happy to offer the Blancpain Fifty-Fathoms Bathyscaphe "No Radiations" as a truly exclusive offering of only 500 pieces made in total with the result being one of the most tasteful and sought-after modern watches recently produced. The Blancpain Fifty-Fathoms feels authentically Blancpain with a blending aesthetic of the brand's modern style and its vintage history and comes complete in a wonderful presentation featuring a specially made Pelican case and accessories.
|5008D / 1130
|Glossy Black "No Radiations"
|2pc Blancpain Rubber
The extremely crisp, angular case is in near-perfect condition and appears to have only been worn a handful of times as it retains its strong angles and brushing with almost no signs of previous use. The bezel is flawless. The sapphire crystal is flawless. The sapphire case back is also flawless, displaying the beautiful Cal. 1153 movement. The watch comes on its original 2pc Blancpain rubber and canvas waterproof strap.
The matte black dial with super luminova markers is flawless. The matching Super Luminova hands are flawless.
The watch comes complete with its original outer box, inner Pelican case, warranty card, limited production certificate, booklet, hang tag, and diver's logbook. The watch was recently serviced by Blancpain in Switzerland in June 2023 and is accompanied by service documentation.