It was only last month that we covered the new Blancpain Tribute to Fifty Fathoms No Rad, a limited edition re-interpretation of the 1960s’ Fifty Fathoms “no radiations” with its immediately recognisable symbol. We mentioned the simultaneous release of a two part documentary by Blancpain called “Fifty Fathoms – The history as told by the pioneers who created it”.
In conjunction with the release of the film, retailer Watches of Switzerland (Australia) are currently exhibiting three vintage Fifty Fathom models in Sydney (13 April – 25 April) and Perth (29 April – 9 May).
A number of years back we looked at a an early Fifty Fathoms Rotomatic Incabloc from 1954-1955 which had been part of a travelling worldwide exhibition during 2010 – 2011 on the history of the Fifty Fathoms. Click on that link for some photos and information on that watch, and a bit about the history of the origins of the Fifty Fathoms.
The three pieces on tour in Australia are:
1. Fifty Fathoms Rotomatic Incabloc #734 – 1953 : in a 42mm steel case with unidirectional bezel and anti-magnetic protection.
2. Fifty Fathoms LIP small model #817906 – 1954-56: the smallest of the three watches, it has the humidity indicator on the dial above 6 o’clock and the dial is double stamped with LIP and Blancpain.
3. Fifty Fathoms 1000 Automatic Incabloc #500462 – 1970s: the first Fifty Fathoms with 1000m water resistance and the epitome of 1970s dive watch design (and a case shape that can be found in other commercial dive watches of the period), it is in a much larger 43.5mm case, has a date function, and a screw-down crown.
Seeing vintage Fifty Fathoms covering a variety of eras and designs is always an interesting opportunity that should be taken up. It is about the origins and lineage of one of the most important and enduring watch models of the modern era, but also an interesting glimpse into how even something as ‘simple’ and utilitarian as the original model has developed with changes in technology and taste over time as it morphed from being a watch with a purely functional purpose into a collection family.
For more details on the watches and the exhibition, go to this link. You can see the pieces in Sydney at 199 George St and in Perth, at 300 Murray St (Raine Square Retail).