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In the early 1950s, an elite unit of the French Navy, responsible for their own diving equipment and not satisfied with any of the current diving watches on the market, set out to make their own watch that they deemed suitable for diving, known as the “Frogmen”. The result was an inevitable partnership with Blancpain for the creation of the watch we know as the Fifty Fathoms.
The example offered here today is the earliest Fifty Fathoms we have seen for sale, called an “RI” by collectors, or Rotomatic Incabloc. Further, the condition of this Blancpain is great for the era. The case has never been polished, and retains its original finish. The dial has no scratches or marks, and shows a nice and even patina set in from aging/radium wear. The original radium lume is present on the dial and hands, aged to a nice yellow color on the dial, and aging darker on the hands. The bakelite bezel is very well-preserved, showing one crack at the 12 o’clock diamond, as is always the case.
Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Diver