Blancpain Fifty Fathoms 'LIP'

Regular price
$54,000
Regular price
Sale price
$54,000
Automatic-winding
40 MM
– Show less
SKU AS09475
Article Number 40991857
case size 40 MM
movement Automatic-winding
approximate age 1950s
dial color Black
material Stainless Steel
style Dive
category Vintage
bracelet Rubber
lug width 20 MM
Includes Black Tropic rubber strap with signed stainless steel pin buckle.
overall condition Outstanding condition throughout. Case is fantastic showing light wear consistent with age and use. Dial and hands are excellent showing even patination to lumionus elements. Bezel is superb only showing faint cracking at 12 o'clock marker. Light crazing noted on crystal.
Automatic-winding
40 MM
– Show less
SKU AS09475
Article Number 40991857
case size 40 MM
movement Automatic-winding
approximate age 1950s
dial color Black
material Stainless Steel
style Dive
category Vintage
bracelet Rubber
lug width 20 MM
Includes Black Tropic rubber strap with signed stainless steel pin buckle.
overall condition Outstanding condition throughout. Case is fantastic showing light wear consistent with age and use. Dial and hands are excellent showing even patination to lumionus elements. Bezel is superb only showing faint cracking at 12 o'clock marker. Light crazing noted on crystal.

Why We Love it

The Blancpain Fifty Fathoms is without question one of the world's most iconic dive watches, and arguably the first; however, it might never have been made at all were it not for one man — Jean-Jacques Fiechter of Blancpain.

In 1952, the French Navy tasked two veterans with a formidable mission. These men — Lt. Claude Riffaud Captain Bob Maloubier — were to create a specialized unit of combat divers meant to act under the utmost secrecy. Some of the missions they were to enact included attacking ports, disrupting supply lines, and sabotage of enemy vessels.

Riffaud and Maloubier had a general idea of what gear the divers needed — compasses, depth gauges, and of course, watches. But as far as the watches were concerned, there was no timepiece on the market specifically designed for their purposes.

So Maloubier, armed with a pencil and protractor, sketched a watch. Not just any watch, but a watch ideally suited for diving. It needed to have a robust, watertight case and a dial that would be legible in the darkest of nights, at the deepest of depths.

Pitched to several well-known manufactures, Blancpain was the only maison that agreed to produce Maloubier's new design. Jean-Jacques Fiechter, Blancpain’s CEO at the time and himself an avid diver, helped the pair create a unique watch equipped with a Bakelite timing bezel and rubber gaskets. Nothing like it had been seen before, and one of the world's first purpose-built, modern diver's watches was born. As a reflection of its depth rating, Blancpain called it the Fifty Fathoms.

This piece however, is a very special Fifty Fathoms featuring a double-signed dial from the storied French watchmaker and retailer, LIP. In an agreement between Blancpain and LIP, the latter company became the sole distributor for the Fifty Fathoms diver across its 2,000-plus brick-and-mortar locations.

Ironically enough, Maloubier and Riffaud had been rebuffed by LIP when approached about manufacturing the Fifty Fathoms — though they did construct at least one prototype — who claimed that the "oversized wrist clock" had no future! (This proved a misstep on LIP's part and a fortuitous occurrence for Blancpain, to be sure.)

Housed in a 41mm stainless steel case with a bidirectional, elapsed-time friction bezel and its signature 'diamond' zero marker configuration and likely its original domed acrylic crystal, this piece features a gloss black dial with both brands' wordmarks positioned directly below 12 o’clock. Radium indices, a moisture indicator above the 6 o'clock marker, a matching baton handset, and a center 'spear' seconds hand round out the feature set.  

The screw-down caseback is likewise treated to an engraved double-signature — and what’s more, the dust shield covering the self-winding Schild Calibre 1361N movement bears the LIP name and an Aqua Lung signature.

Incredible.

Experience this special piece today!

Brand Story

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Blancpain, the esteemed Swiss manufacturer that opened its doors in 1735 (and the oldest surviving watchmaker in the world), is known globally for crafting some of the most elegant pocket and dress wristwatches in history. Many of these pieces are brilliant works of horological art, and as a category are worthy of in-depth study and analysis. Since the firm’s acquisition by the modern forerunner of the Swatch Group in 1992, it has become synonymous with dazzling and complicated dress pieces, many of which are produced in precious metals.

But Blancpain's other genius — and what has arguably ensured their legacy — is the entrant into the world of purpose-built tool watches, and the industry's prototypical modern diver's watch: the legendary Fifty Fathoms. The genesis of this legendary timepiece has its roots in post-World War II France, where Captain Bob Maloubier (previously of the Special Operations Executive) and Lieutenant Claude Riffaud were tasked with setting up the French combat diver commando unit. The two approached Blancpain in the pursuit of a specialized diver’s watch — the design of which Maloubier drew up himself — and the Fifty Fathoms was born.

Later adopted by the militaries of Germany and the United States, the Fifty Fathoms now forms the core of Blancpain’s dive watch collection, having spawned myriad iterations over the years, including complicated and chronograph versions. It is the savoir faire necessary to produce such disparate products as an elegant gold moon phase and a steel combat diver’s watch that makes Blancpain such a fascinating company, and a compelling product to collect.

A:S Guarantee

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Our Pledge

Analog:Shift stands behind the authenticity of our products in perpetuity.

Condition

Since our pieces are vintage or pre-owned, please expect wear & patina from usage and age. Please read each item description and examine all product images.

Warranty

We back each Analog:Shift vintage timepiece with a one-year mechanical warranty from the date of purchase.

International Buyers

Please contact us prior to purchase for additional details on shipping and payment options.

Shipping & Returns

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All of our watches include complementary insured shipping within the 50 states.

Most of our products are on hand and will ship directly from our headquarters in New York City. In some cases, watches will be shipped directly from one of our authorized partners.

We generally ship our products via FedEx, fully insured, within 5 business days of purchase. An adult signature is required for receipt of all packages for insurance purposes. Expedited shipping is available at an additional cost. We are also happy to hand deliver your purchase in Manhattan or you may pick it up at our showroom.

Returns must be sent overnight or by priority international delivery, fully insured and paid for by the customer. A restocking fee may apply. Watches must be returned in the same condition as initially shipped.

We welcome international buyers, please contact us prior to purchase for additional details on shipping and payment options.

Make it yours will fit standard 20mm watches

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Blancpain Fifty Fathoms 'LIP'

Blancpain Fifty Fathoms 'LIP'

Regular price
$54,000
Regular price
Sale price
$54,000
Blancpain Fifty Fathoms 'LIP'

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