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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 an early serial, called an “RI” by collectors, or Rotomatic Incabloc; it is fitted with the popular “3-6-9-12” dial layout. Further, this Blancpain Fifty Fathoms is one of the nicest we have seen offered for sale publicly. The case has never been polished, and retains its original finish. The dial, usually dulled over time, remains incredibly glossy, with no flaws. The original radium lume is present on the dial, aged to a golden yellow; the hands appear to be an older relume, matching the dial evenly, but glow under UV just a short amount longer than the dial. The bakelite bezel – usually cracked and damaged – shows minimal wear, and is in excellent condition.
Overall, you will be hard pressed to find a better example of this iconic watch – it is truly a collector’s dream!