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. Although initially created for the French Navy, these military specification (“Milspec”) watches were ordered by other militaries, such as the German, British, Spanish, and even the US Navy. The present Milspec 1 is a very early iteration of the Milspec, sharing the same case and smaller bezel as the beloved Tornek-Rayville TR900 model, which were made specifically for the American military. On the back of this watch is an inscription: “AM”. Shrouded in mystery, no one knows for certain what AM stands for – some Blancpain historians speculate that the inscription is a link to USN minesweeper boats, or possibly a simple designation of “anti magnetic”. What is for certain is that only a handful of “AM” inscribed Milspecs with this case and bezel have surfaced, and it is by far and away the rarest version of Blancpain MilSpec watches known.
The MilSpec we offer today is in great and honest vintage condition. The case is unpolished with original beveled edges. The dial is very attractive, with a light and even patina setting in throughout. Further, the original tritium lume is present on both dial and hands, aged to a nice yellow color. The original bakelite Tornek-style bezel shows normal and natural wear, with a couple light hairline cracks.