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Blancpain Finally Releases the Fifty Fathoms in 42mm

April 9, 2024

Available in rose gold and titanium, the non-limited models offer the iconic design in a wearable size.

Watch buyers have been calling for a non-limited Fifty Fathoms in a smaller size for years. At long last, Blancpain has answered. Until now, the iconic Fifty Fathoms design was only available in 45mm, which sized out many potential buyers. The new models have a more versatile case size of 42.3mm. That's not to say Blancpain hasn't produced any smaller designs in the recent past. The Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe can be found in 38mm, though that model may as well be a completely different watch given its radically modified design. In 2023, Blancpain released three 70th anniversary editions of the Fifty Fathoms with smaller cases. The catch was that these models were limited to a few hundred pieces. Of course, Blancpain has still chosen to reserve the use of steel for limited editions, hence the use of titanium and rose gold in the new releases. The titanium model retails for $16,600 on a strap or $19,300 on a bracelet while the rose gold will set you back $34,300.

The Case

The new models are available in either rose gold or titanium. While the titanium version may do a better job of approximating the historical design, both options retain the iconic, large 60-minute bezel of the original. Unlike the first Fifty Fathoms, the bezel is executed in sapphire instead of bakelite, which is for the best considering the superiority of the modern material. Of course, the case is also water resistant to 300m.

Measuring 42.3mm across and 14.3mm tall, the case is by no means small. Still, the diameter is a far cry from the bulky 45mm model. Short lugs also help the case stay more compact. Notably, the distance between the lugs measures 21.5mm. The non-standard size will make using aftermarket straps difficult. Speaking of the straps, Blancpain has provided four different options: rubber, sail canvas, fabric Nato, or a titanium bracelet.

The Dial

Blancpain has offered two dial colors: black and blue. The layout is very similar to the 45mm version, maintaining the famous 3/6/9/12 configuration, triangular indexes, and date window at 4:30. The dial also keeps the greenish lume and red tip on the seconds hand. Blanpain has opted to simplify the eye-catching sunburst pattern, trading the circular-brushed portion of the dial around the hour markers for a uniform finish.

The Movement

All of the new models house the in-house Caliber 1315, an automatic movement with an impressive power reserve of 120 hours. The balance spring is executed in silicon, providing greater stability and magnetic, thermal, and corrosion resistance. Viewable through the sapphire crystal caseback, the caliber is finished well enough for the price. While nicely engraved, the 22K gold rotor looks very utilitarian. Given that the Fifty Fathoms is theoretically a tool watch, this detail isn't especially important.

Closing Thoughts

Releasing the Fifty Fathoms in 42.3mm is the right move for Blancpain, albeit an obvious and severely delayed one. Notably, the new models are identical in size to the Blancpain X Swatch Scuba Fifty Fathoms models. It would have made sense for the brand to have made the wearable size available prior to the collaboration with Swatch to encourage conversion, which was already low due to the massive price disparity.

While a major improvement over previous models, the release is still too large for some. The addition of an even smaller model like the 40.3mm 50th-anniversary edition would be welcome. Blancpain has done a good job of making the new model available in several strap and dial configurations (14, to be exact). The only remaining question is whether Blancpain will ever make a wearable steel model in continuous production.

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