The two most iconic diving watches of all time, the Rolex Submariner and the Blancpain Fifty Fathoms, laid the foundational vocabulary for the modern diving watch. Both, which arrived circa 1953, featured rotating bezels to indicate elapsed time and provided superb legibility and water-resistance.
But while the Submariner is more associated with terra firma, the Fifty Fathoms has its feet deep in the cut and thrust of military diving, designed at the behest of the French Combat Navy School.
The Fifty Fathoms went on to see service in a bevy of guises including the Bathyscaphe, first released in the late 1950s and was named after the submersible cabin for exploring the deepest parts of the ocean.
The Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe was inspired by the exploits of Jacques Piccard, the Swiss explorer who descended into the Mariana Trench in 1960 in the bathyscaphe Trieste with fellow explorer Don Walsh.
Intended for use in a submersible, the watch was produced in a smaller size more characteristic of the time at 35 to 38mm, but was nevertheless a robust dive watch. Since the reintroduction of the Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe in 2013, it has become one of the most successful reissues with even a flyback chronograph and a version in a gray plasma-ceramic case in its stable.