The Blancpain Fifty Fathoms is absolutely one of the most famous diving watches in watchmaking. For their first new model in 2021, Blancpain has singled out the most popular and historical military watch in the Fifty Fathoms collection to homage – Blancpain Tribute To Fifty Fathoms No Rad.
In 1953, when Blancpain was still a small Swiss watchmaker, their manager Jean-Jacques Fiechter, an avid diver, wanted a sports timepiece that he could use for diving. The Fifty Fathoms Fifty Fathoms was eventually created and it is considered to be the world’s first modern diving watch. One of its features was a very large unidirectional rotating external bezel (patented by Blancpain, even the Rolex Master could not use a unidirectional rotating bezel before the patent expired) with large diamond-shaped engraved indicators and minute markers at 15-30-45. The most important use of a dive watch is to time the dive. With this large rotating bezel, the watch can “remember” the start of the dive. The large diamond-shaped indicator will turn to the position of the minute hand on the watch. From then on, the diver wearing the watch could be very easy to know how many minutes had passed since he started diving.
Check the video of the Fifty Fathoms History:
The Fifty Fathoms was a great success, French Navy adopted this model, and after a few years, the Fifty Fathoms also went into US Navy too. The Fifty Fathoms has been produced in many iterations, and now many of them has been one of the collection to watch fans , including the one with the “No Rad” logo.
Radium was used in early watches as a luminous coating on hands and scales, and a mixture of lightning and zinc sulfide was widely used as a luminescent coating on various timepieces since the 1930s. However, this radioactive element was later proven to be a health hazard and was replaced by Europium or Tritium. In recent times, Super-Luminova has been the most commonly used. The Fifty Fathoms RPG 1, also known as the “BUND No Rad”, was a special model acquired by the German army and other military forces, with this radiant pattern placed on the dial at 6 o’clock, with a large cross and the words ‘No Radiations’ written on it.
How was the luminous work on old timepiece?
As a collection that most representative to Blancpain, Fifty Fathoms has been homage as different forms over the years. The ” No Rad” is a rare watch whose value has exploded on the second-hand market. In the year of 2010, Blancpain announced the first homage to 5015B Fifty Fathoms —- Fifty Fathoms RPG 1, as a limited edition. Fifty Fathoms RPG 1 is a 45 mm diameter watch with a fully graduated bezel (not just the first 15 minutes) and a dial with painted markers and the “No Rad” logo at 6 o’clock. It was issued in a limited edition of 500 pieces and was equipped with the in-house caliber Cal. 1315.
The new 2021 version has been substantially resized to a 40.3 mm case, which it’s a homage to the model “No Rad” in 1960s, but not all elements stay the same with the original Fifty Fathoms No Rad. For example, it has no crown guard and narrow, tapered lugs …… So, for this new model, the aim is not just to be a direct reproduction, the most important is about to capture the spirit of 60s dive watch patina.
Compared to the 45mm case of the 2010 version, the smaller size means that the entire dials will be more compact, compare to 2010 version, it is easy to see that the new version looks much denser. On the other hand, the luminous coating on the bezel, indexes as well as the hands has been presented to a beige color, which makes the watch a more tribute to the original and brings a strong sense of nostalgia. The first part you see at a glance is the red and yellow “No Rad” logo at 6 o’clock, this part stays the same with the original version of 60s. The old model also features a frosted black dial with diamond-shaped markers at 12 o’clock and a big, white date window at 3 o’clock.
Blancpain Tribute To Fifty Fathoms No Rad is equipped with its in-house caliber 1151 automatic movement. This movement is made by Frederic Piguet – now renamed Blancpain – with a bridges decorated with fine Côtes de Genève and polished chamfering, and a handsome black-coated rotor. Equipped with a silicon balance spring and double barrel, the oscillation is at 21,600bph, a slightly antique frequency, but it’s a big plus to extend power reserve, and the watch has an impressive four day of power reserve.
As a dive watch, nothing better than a tropic strap to enable the ability of stand the seawater and sweat. Blancpain Tribute To Fifty Fathoms No Rad features with a 20mm classic black tropic strap. Made of supple rubber and perforated for easy breathability, the tropic strap offers a solf and durable option for the divers and help them finish the tough work.
Blancpain Tribute To Fifty Fathoms No Rad homage reaches a Fifty Fathoms tribute by blending the DNA of the modern Fifty Fathoms and its 1960s predecessors. It’s a great choice for dive watch, priced at $14,100.
More information of Blancpain Tribute To Fifty Fathoms No Rad:
- Model: 5008D-1130-B64A
- Diameter: 40.3mm
- Thickness: 13.23mm
- Material: Stainless Steel
- Water resistance: 300m
- Movement: Cal. 1151
- Functions: hours, minutes, seconds and date
- Winding: automatic
- Frequency: 21,600bph
- Power reserve: 100 hours
- Strap: rubber strap with pin buckle
- Limited edition: 500 pieces
- Price: $14,100,