Blancpain Fifty Fathoms: Versatile Diving Watches
The Fifty Fathoms is a legendary diving watch from Swiss watch manufacturer Blancpain. Introduced in 1953, it has since evolved into a diverse collection, including top models in precious metals with sophisticated complications.
This page contains information about:
- From Tool Watch to Luxury Timepiece
- Prices: Blancpain Fifty Fathoms
- Fifty Fathoms Price Information
- Fifty Fathoms Automatique
- Prices: Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe
- Fifty Fathoms Chronographs
- Purchasing Automatique Chronographs
- Barakuda: Retro '60s Style
- Fifty Fathoms No Rad(iation)
- Fifty Fathoms Tourbillon 8 Jours
Along with the Rolex Submariner, many consider the Blancpain Fifty Fathoms the archetypal diving watch. Blancpain, a Swiss brand from Le Brassus, originally developed the Fifty Fathoms on behalf of the French navy and introduced the first official model in 1953. Thus, it predates the Submariner as the first diving watch with a rotatable diving bezel, as the Rolex wouldn't debut until 1954. The Fifty Fathom's name also reveals its water resistance: Since one fathom equals six feet, fifty fathoms equals 300 feet (or 91.44 meters) of resistance – a spectacular achievement at the time.
In the decades since the model's release, Blancpain has produced numerous variations of this popular diving watch. The current collection contains both steel tool watches similar to the original, such as Tribute to Fifty Fathoms No Rad Limited Edition, and elegant editions made of precious metal. You can also choose from simple three-hand timepieces and more complicated variants with sophisticated complications like flyback chronographs, moon phase displays, or tourbillons. One highlight is the Fifty Fathoms Tourbillon 8 Jours, a rose gold timepiece with a tourbillon and an impressive eight-day power reserve.
Launched in 2013, the Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe is also highly popular. Its design is much more austere than the classic models that had previously dominated the collection. Blancpain offers the Bathyscaphe as a 38 or 43-mm watch, opening the series up to a wider range of wrist sizes. Beyond that, the Bathyscaphe was the first watch the manufacturer ever produced in ceramic alongside the steel and precious metal options.
No matter which edition you choose, each Fifty Fathoms features an in-house Blancpain caliber. Furthermore, modern versions boast improved water resistance to 300 m (30 bar, 1000 ft).
Reasons to Buy a Blancpain Fifty Fathoms
- The world's first diving watch with a diving scale
- Unmistakable design
- The perfect alternative to the Rolex Submariner
- Models in precious metals and with intricate complications
- Available as a traditional stainless steel tool watch
Prices at a Glance: Blancpain Fifty Fathoms
|Model, reference number||Price (approx.)||Material, size|
|Tourbillon 8 Jours, 5025 3630 52A||104,000 USD||Rose gold, 45 mm|
|X-Fathoms, 5018 1230 64A||32,000 USD||Titanium, 5565 mm|
|Flyback, 5085F 363 052||25,000 USD||Rose gold, 45 mm|
|Automatique, 5015 3630 52A||24,500 USD||Rose gold, 45 mm|
|No Radiation, 5008D 1130 B64A||24,000 USD||Stainless steel, 40.3 mm|
|Barakuda, 5008B 1130 B52A||21,000 USD||Stainless steel, 40.3 mm|
|MIL-SPEC, 5008 1130 NABA||19,500 USD||Stainless steel, 40.3 mm|
|Automatique, 5015 12B40 98||15,000 USD||Titanium, 45 mm|
|Flyback, 5085F 1130 52A||14,500 USD||Stainless steel, 45 mm|
|Bathyscaphe Flyback, 5200 0130 B52A||14,000 USD||Ceramic, 43.6 mm|
|Automatique, 5015 11C30 52A||12,000 USD||Stainless steel, 45 mm|
|Bathyscaphe Quantième Complet Phases de Lune, 5054 1110 NABA||12,000 USD||Stainless steel, 43 mm|
|Bathyscaphe, 5000 1110 B52A||8,300 USD||Stainless steel, 43 mm|
|Fifty Fathoms, 22001 13071||5,600 USD||Stainless steel, 40 mm|
How much does a Blancpain Fifty Fathoms cost?
The most affordable entry into the Blancpain Fifty Fathoms collection is a pre-owned ref. 2200-1130-71 from the early 2000s. This model demands roughly 5,600 USD. Three-hand timepieces from the Bathyscaphe series start around 8,300 USD. If you're on the market for a chronograph, be sure to have at least 13,500 USD on hand. The limited-edition three-hand Barakuda enjoys widespread popularity and costs upwards of 19,000 USD. At the very high end of the price range, you'll find the Tourbillon 8 Jours. This stunning timepiece will set you back about 104,000 USD.
About the Fifty Fathoms Automatique
The Fifty Fathoms Automatique line is home to classy yet sporty three-hand watches. Blancpain crafts the various models out of stainless steel, rose gold, and titanium. There's also a solid black stainless steel edition available. Each Fifty Fathoms Automatique is 45 mm in diameter and has a lug width of 23 mm. Another shared feature is the in-house caliber 1315 with three hands and a date display at 4:30. This movement also provides the timepiece with its 120-hour power reserve. Applied triangular indices and Arabic numerals at 3, 6, 9, and 12 complete the dial.
One fantastic example is the ref. 5015 12B40 NAOA. This titanium watch comes with a blue dial and bezel. Its fabric strap is also blue and will keep the Automatique securely on your wrist – even underwater. The average Chrono24 price for a mint-condition model is 12,500 USD.
The Fifty Fathoms Automatique ref. 5015 1130 71S is a stainless steel watch with polished and brushed surfaces. Its dial and bezel are a matching shade of black. You can call this model your own for around 14,000 USD.
Those looking for something with a particularly sleek design should consider the ref. 5015 11C30 52A. Beyond the red tip of the second hand, this watch is solid black – including the luminous material on the hands and indices. The manufacturer mounts the case on a black canvas strap. A never-worn example will set you back about 12,000 USD.
The rose gold Fifty Fathoms Automatique ref. 5015 3630 52A is especially elegant with its black dial and bezel. Its black canvas strap further enhances the sense of contrast. This timepiece costs roughly 24,500 USD.
The Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe: A Fresh Design
The Bathyscaphe line is still relatively young, having debuted in 2013 to celebrate the Fifty Fathoms' 60th anniversary. The name "bathyscaphe" comes from the deep-sea submersible developed by Auguste Piccard in the 1940s. While the earliest Bathyscaphe models were only available with a 43-mm case, the modern collection also includes 38-mm timepieces.
In terms of design, these watches are much tidier and more modern than the other Fifty Fathoms models. Dot indices mark the hours, interrupted by bar indices at 3, 6, 9, and 12 o'clock. SuperLuminova fills both the indices and the pencil-shaped hands.
When it comes to the case, you can choose from stainless steel, rose gold, titanium, or ceramic. Blancpain uses ceramic to craft the bezel inserts, as well. The Bathyscaphe line also contains the collection's first watch with a green dial, though it is limited to the 43-mm edition. On the other hand, the Bathyscaphe with a white dial is exclusively available as a 38-mm timepiece. The larger models use the caliber 1315 with a 120-hour power reserve, while the 38-mm watches get their power from the caliber 1150 with a 100-hour power reserve. Both calibers have central hands for the hours, minutes, and seconds, as well as a date display at 4:30.
The 43-mm Bathyscaphe
If you like the look of the Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe and want something with a classic color palette, the titanium ref. 5000 1230 B52A may just be the right watch for you. This model features a black dial, black ceramic bezel, and black canvas strap. Prices for a mint-condition timepiece sit around 9,900 USD. The same watch with a blue color scheme (ref. 5000 0240 O52A) sells for about 10,500 USD.
The ref. 5000 36S40 O52A also has a blue dial and bezel but comes in rose gold. Blancpain pairs this model with a blue sail-canvas strap. Be sure to have roughly 19,500 USD on hand to purchase this timepiece. The ref. 5000 36S30 NABA is also a rose gold Bathyscaphe. It has a black dial, comes mounted on a NATO strap, and costs around 20,500 USD. Fans of green dials should be on the lookout for the stainless steel ref. 5000 1153 H52A. This watch is still rather rare on Chrono24 and generally changes hands for upwards of 22,000 USD.
About the 38-mm Bathyscaphe
The 38-mm Bathyscaphe is available with a black, blue, or white dial and bezel. In fact, the manufacturer produces six different versions with white dials and bezels. These timepieces are mainly geared toward women. No matter which edition you choose, it will have an extra-flat case measuring less than 11 mm thick. This is made possible thanks to the automatic in-house calibers 1150 and 1153. Both are only 3.25 mm in height and offer a 100 and 95-hour power reserve, respectively. The caliber 1153 appears exclusively in the limited-edition ref. 5100 1130. Blancpain only produced 100 copies of this timepiece. While the other variants use dot indices, the special edition combines line indices and Arabic numerals. As of writing, there were no listings for this watch on Chrono24; however, Blancpain lists it on their website for 11,900 USD.
The ref. 5100 1127 W52A combines a white dial and bezel with a white canvas strap. This watch demands roughly 7,500 USD on Chrono24. For 7,400 USD, you can purchase the ref. 5100 1127 NATA with a bright green NATO strap. Then there's the ref. 5100 1140 NAOA with a blue dial, bezel, and NATO strap. This version also sells for about 7,400 USD.
Prices for Fifty Fathoms Chronographs
Chronographs appear throughout the Fifty Fathoms collection. Those from the Bathyscaphe series are available in stainless steel alongside black or blue ceramic. For the dial, you can choose from black, blue, or green. Blancpain also offers several band options for these models. Each Bathyscaphe chronograph is 43.6 mm in diameter and uses the automatic caliber F385 with a flyback function and 50-hour power reserve.
The subdials have a classic 3-6-9 layout, with the 30-minute counter at 3, small seconds at 6, and a 12-hour counter at 9 o'clock. Like the three-hand models, the Bathyscaphe Chronograph also has a date display at 4:30. Finally, sapphire crystal provides a view of the movement at work.
The ref. 5200 0130 NABA pairs a ceramic case with a black NATO strap. A mint-condition model will set you back around 13,500 USD. If you prefer stainless steel, you should consider the ref. 5200 1110 70B. It has a black dial and stainless steel bracelet and costs roughly 14,000 USD. For something particularly eye-catching, there's the ref. 5200 0153 B52A with a black ceramic case, green dial, and green bezel. It comes on a black sail-canvas strap and sells for about 21,000 USD on Chrono24.
Purchasing Flyback Chronographs
You're sure to stand out with the rose gold Fifty Fathoms Chronographe Flyback on your wrist. The 45-mm ref. 5085FA 3630 63B features a glossy black dial with applied rose gold indices. Blancpain crafts the hands for the time display and chronograph out of the same material. Its classic three-subdial design has a 30-minute counter at 3, a small seconds at 6, and a 12-hour counter at 9 o'clock. Inside the case, you'll find the Blancpain caliber F185 with a 40-hour power reserve. Like the other timepieces of the Flyback series, this chronograph has a sapphire crystal display caseback.
Next to the rose gold case, the black sapphire crystal bezel truly pops. The manufacturer completes this watch with a brown calf leather strap with white stitching. Be prepared to spend around 28,500 USD to call this model your own.
The refs. 5085FB 1140 52B and 5085F 1130 52A use the same technology as the rose gold edition but are made of stainless steel. While the former has a blue dial and bezel, the latter comes with a black dial and bezel. Each is mounted on a matching canvas strap. You can purchase the blue version for about 15,000 USD and the black variant for roughly 14,500 USD.
Fifty Fathoms Barakuda: Retro '60s Style
Introduced in 2019, the Fifty Fathoms Barakuda ref. 5008B 1130 B52A pays homage to a Blancpain watch of the same name from the late 1960s. Its stainless steel case is 40.3 mm in diameter, and unlike the rest of the Fifty Fathoms collection, its black dial has a matte finish. The new Barakuda takes its rectangular indices from its historical predecessor. The indices themselves are actually stamped "No Radium" luminous material, thus underscoring this timepiece's retro nature. Each index also has a red outer tip for a splash of color. "No Radium" lume also fills the white hands. Finally, a unidirectional bezel made of sapphire crystal completes the looks.
The in-house caliber 1151 powers the Barakuda and provides it with three hands and a date display at 3 o'clock. Thanks to its two barrels, this movement boasts a 100-hour power reserve. Blancpain offers the Barakuda on a historically accurate tropical rubber strap with a pin buckle. On the other hand, you won't find the new model's sapphire crystal case back on the original.
Blancpain limited the Fifty Fathoms Barakuda to a run of 500 pieces. This timepiece costs around 21,000 USD on Chrono24. That's significantly more than its official list price of 14,100 USD.
Fifty Fathoms No Rad: Radiation-Free
Blancpain introduced the Fifty Fathoms Tribute To Fifty Fathoms No Rad (short for "no radiation") in 2021. This watch bears the reference number 5008D 1130 B64A and is a remake of the Fifty Fathoms BUND RPG1, a timepiece initially produced for the German navy's combat divers. At the time, the term "No Radiation" let the wearer know that the luminous material on the hands and indices contained no radium, a radioactive element, and thus posed no health risk. Blancpain printed the corresponding round yellow "No Radiations (sic)" logo just above 6 o'clock. This logo appears at the same position on the new model. When it comes to the luminous material, the manufacturer outfits the new edition with dark "Old Radium" SuperLuminova, which glows green in the dark and highlights the watch's vintage feel.
Blancpain has limited the No Rad to a run of 500 pieces. Its case is stainless steel and measures 40.3 mm in diameter. The automatic in-house caliber 1151 gives the No Rad its power and provides it with a 100-hour power reserve. The movement also comes with a date display at 3 o'clock. A black tropical rubber strap holds the timepiece securely on the wrist. While the No Rad had an initial list price of 14,100 USD, prices on Chrono24 have risen to around 24,000 USD-
Fifty Fathoms Tourbillon 8 Jours
The Fifty Fathoms Tourbillon 8 Jours ref. 5025 3630 52A is the most technologically complicated model in the Fifty Fathoms collection. It has a 45-mm rose gold case and a black sapphire crystal bezel. Rose gold hands and indices sit atop its shiny black dial. The in-house caliber 25A ticks away inside the case. This movement boasts a tourbillon at 12 o'clock and an impressive 192-hour (or eight-day) power reserve with a corresponding indicator at 6 o'clock. You can view this technological marvel at work through the sapphire crystal case back. The Fifty Fathoms Tourbillon 8 Jours comes on a black canvas strap and sells for about 104,000 USD in mint condition.