Blancpain Fifty Fathoms

The Blancpain Fifty Fathoms is one of the most famous models of the Swiss watchmaking company Blancpain .

It is considered the first military diving watch 1 . It was founded in 1953 at the request of Captain Robert Maloubier and Vessel Marshal Claude Riffaud who, a year earlier, created the Combat Swimmers’ Corps, the first French unit of combat swimmers, Then in search of a robust and reliable dive watch, adapted to military requirements 2 . This is how the Fifty Fathoms was born , waterproof to a depth of 50 fathoms, as the name suggests.

One can see it on the wrist of the team of Commander Jacques-Yves Cousteau in the film Le Monde du silence , a documentary film that won the Best Documentary Film Award at the 1956 Cannes Film Festival .

The latest version of the Fifty Fathoms , released in 2007, is an automatic watch with 144 hours power reserve, water resistant to 300 m , steel or red gold.

The name Fifty Fathoms

Behind this name is simply the maximum sealing depth of this watch: Fifty Fathoms, fifty fathoms, Fifty, 50 in French and Fathoms , fathoms . The breaststroke (English fathom, symbol fm) is an old unit of measurement of length corresponding to the span of the arms between each wrist. This unit, although formerly used for land measurement, is still only used in the navy to measure ropes, ropes and the depth of water. A breaststroke is worth 1.8288 meters .

This watch is therefore originally waterproof at 50 fathoms, which corresponds to 91.44 meters . This figure was not chosen at random, then it corresponds to the maximum depth reachable by a man with a scuba 2 .


  1. ↑ Sébastien Bey-Haut, ” Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Tribute to Fifty Fathoms No Radiations [ archive ] ,, (Accessed in April 2013 )
  2. a and b vincentd, ” Saga of a watch: Blancpain Fifty Fathoms [ archive ] ,, (Accessed in April 2013 )

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