There’s no denying that the Blancpain Tribute to Fifty Fathoms MIL-SPEC, introduced this year at Baselworld, was one of the home runs of the show. Everyone was raving about this watch, effusive in their praise and desire for it. Don’t get me wrong, I liked it, I thought it looked great, but I didn’t know if I loved it.
Not without trying it on and wearing it for a while.
So, I called up my friend Lucie at Blancpain and got my hands on this limited edition, inspired by a military specification 50 Fathoms from 1957, issued to the French Navy (aka the MIL-SPEC 1).
The Tribute to Fifty Fathoms MIL-SPEC is updated to 40mm, with Super-LumiNova markers on the bezel, which itself is covered with a sapphire ring. Despite the update to modern day, including the manufacture caliber 1151 automatic movement, the water-ingress disk is still there, used originally to let a diver know if water had gotten inside the case. The new watch is water-resistant to 300 meters, so the disk is eye candy, but I’m not complaining.
Wearing is Caring
I put the Tribute to Fifty Fathoms MIL-SPEC on my wrist as soon as the box arrived (by bicycle messenger, no less!), and my earlier ambivalence vanished. I do love this watch. At 40mm, it is just the right size – not too small, but definitely not too big either. It’s an elegant size, which is funny to say about a professional dive watch, but it’s true. This watch can seriously go anywhere.
I took it paddle boarding on Lake Geneva in the morning, then wore it in the office and to meetings during the day, then to my anniversary dinner with my wife (10 years!), and it fit perfectly in each environment.
The Tribute to Fifty Fathoms MIL-SPEC is a subtle incarnation of a legendary timepiece, a piece of diving history on your wrist. It’s so tasteful it doesn’t really get noticed like other watches, but if you are in the know, you get it and you want one.
And with only 500 watches made for the world, I’m certain you are going to have to get in line…behind me.