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The first modern diver’s watch


January 19, 2009

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January 19, 2009 One of the most desirable technological boys toys throughout the last 50 years has been the Blancpain 50 fathoms watch. The Fifty Fathoms watch was born in the 1950s when Blancpain was asked by the French Ministry of Defence to create an elite “Combat Divers” watch that was reliable and readable to a depth of 50 fathoms (91.45 metres). Blancpain delivered, and the hardcore military kit was subsequently commercialised in 1953 with the first modern diver’s watch - that's an original 1954 advert at right. A new exhibition opens tomorrow in Geneva, the Cité du Temps, tracing the history of the watch with all the models and variations of the collection assembled under a single roof.

Through this unique exhibition, Blancpain is retracing the history of a passion: from the 1953 birth of the legendary Fifty Fathoms diver’s watch through to its latest interpretation that is more contemporary and technically accomplished than ever. The Manufacture in Le Brassus revisits this iconic model with its characteristic concern for detail and thirst for perfection, while preserving the DNA on which it has built its reputation.

Blancpain is also exhibiting the fascinating underwater photos from its “Fifty Fathoms Edition” book. This collection of subaquatic art photographs reflects the qualities of the diver’s watch after which it is named and calls upon printing techniques that are pushed to extremes.

About the Author
Mike Hanlon Mike grew up thinking he would become a mathematician, accidentally started motorcycle racing, got a job writing road tests for a motorcycle magazine while at university, and became a writer. As a travelling photojournalist during his early career, his work was published in a dozen languages across 20+ countries. He went on to edit or manage over 50 print publications, with target audiences ranging from pensioners to plumbers, many different sports, many car and motorcycle magazines, with many more in the fields of communication - narrow subject magazines on topics such as advertising, marketing, visual communications, design, presentation and direct marketing. Then came the internet and Mike managed internet projects for Australia's largest multimedia company, Telstra.com.au (Australia's largest Telco), Seek.com.au (Australia's largest employment site), top100.com.au, hitwise.com, and a dozen other internet start-ups before founding Gizmag in 2002. Now he writes and thinks. All articles by Mike Hanlon
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