, pub-5618279750012654, DIRECT, f08c47fec0942fa0

I Went To Cannes With Blancpain, Here’s What Happened

Diving with Blancpain in Cannes

Diving with Blancpain in Cannes

In the picturesque city of Cannes in South of France, where the azure waters of the Mediterranean kiss the French Riviera, history and innovation converged recently in a spectacular celebration of horology. As a fortunate witness to this momentous event, I had the privilege of experiencing the unveiling of Blancpain’s newest masterpiece, the “Fifty Fathoms 70th Anniversary Act 3” watch. It was a weekend that immersed me not only in the world of luxury timepieces but also in the rich history of diving and in the concept of marine conservation and preserving our oceans.

The Fifty Fathoms 70th Anniversary Act 3 is a limited-edition marvel that pays homage to the iconic Fifty Fathoms diver’s watch, which marked its 70th anniversary in grand style. This timepiece, like its predecessors, captures the essence of adventure, exploration, and precision that Blancpain has long been synonymous with. It’s a tribute to the watch’s storied heritage, yet it’s adorned with contemporary upgrades, blending tradition with innovation seamlessly.

Blancpain Fifty Fathoms 70th Anniversary Act 3 watch.

Blancpain Fifty Fathoms 70th Anniversary Act 3 watch. Just 555 pieces will be made.

The Act 3 watch, produced in a limited edition of 555 pieces, is crafted from an exceptional material—9K Bronze Gold. This patented alloy, comprising gold, copper, silver, palladium, and gallium, not only exudes a timeless luster but also resists oxidation, making it suitable for extended contact with the skin. This choice of material demonstrates Blancpain’s commitment to pushing boundaries and embracing the latest technological advancements.

During the unveiling ceremony on Sainte-Marguerite Island, just off the coast of Cannes, I couldn’t help but marvel at the significance of the location. Cannes, the birthplace of the Fifty Fathoms, holds a special place in the heart of this timepiece’s history. It was here that Jean-Jacques Fiechter, then co-CEO of Blancpain, had a life-altering experience that would shape the future of dive watches.

Fiechter, an avid diver himself, encountered a critical moment during a dive in Cannes when he ran out of air. This near-miss led him to envision a dive watch that wasn’t merely a timekeeping device but a true diving instrument. Fueled by his passion for exploration and a commitment to safety, he designed the original Fifty Fathoms watch.

Marc Hayek

Blancpain CEO Marc Hayek (left) talking with Jeff Kingston, historian, about the new watch.

What set this watch apart in its day was its revolutionary features, which included a double-sealed crown for enhanced water resistance and a patented rotating bezel with a locking mechanism for precise dive time measurement. These innovations not only attracted the armed forces of various nations but also laid the foundation for modern dive watches.

Blancpain didn’t stop there. Fiechter introduced a moisture indicator on the 1957 MIL-SPEC watch, assuring divers that their timepieces remained undamaged after each dive. This innovation became a hallmark of the Fifty Fathoms and was adopted by the US Navy for its underwater missions.

Blancpain Fifty Fathoms 70th Anniversary Act 3 watch.

Blancpain Fifty Fathoms 70th Anniversary Act 3 watch.

Fast forward to the present day, and the Fifty Fathoms 70th Anniversary Act 3 watch proudly carries forward this legacy. Its black dial features vintage-style Super-LumiNova®-enhanced moisture indicators and hour markers, making it both functional and aesthetically pleasing. The unidirectional rotating bezel, now with a black ceramic insert and Super-LumiNova diving scale, remains as reliable as ever.

The watch’s movement is equally impressive. Powered by Blancpain’s 1154.P2 movement with twin barrels, it boasts an impressive 100 hours of power reserve. A silicon balance-spring ensures resistance to magnetism, a feat achieved through innovative materials and alloys for the escapement. This version of the 1154.P2 even offers a 1000-gauss resistance, thanks to a non-magnetic spiral.

The attention to detail is evident in the meticulously finished movement, with enlarged bridges and a period-inspired motif. The oscillating weight, inspired by the original rotor, sports a snail-shaped finish and a vintage logo, adding a touch of nostalgia to the timepiece.

Blancpain Fifty Fathoms 70th Anniversary Act 3 watch.

Blancpain Fifty Fathoms 70th Anniversary Act 3 watch boasts a 9-karat bronze gold bezel with ceramic inset.

As a testament to its commitment to the oceans, Blancpain has ensured that this watch aligns with the Blancpain Ocean Commitment project. It’s not just a watch; it’s a symbol of the brand’s dedication to marine conservation. The watch is accompanied by a presentation box inspired by historic camera housing, paying homage to the parallel development of underwater photography.

Throughout the trip, select journalists went diving with Blancpain, snorkeled or enjoyed a day on the water sailing. We were treated to an informative panel discussion about our oceans and saving them, and hob-robbed with top executives in ocean conservation. Look for a  future article on that topic.

You May Also Like