After a classically-styled, super clean, Fifty Fathoms in Stainless steel that has some cool history behind it and some even cooler unique features such as a massive lucky 7 on the dial;

then look no further than this new member of the Fifty Fathoms family made in honor of the French Combat Swimmers.

With the new Fifty Fathoms Nageurs de Combat, Blancpain pay tribute to its OG collaboration with the founders of the French Combat Swimmers unit.

Inspired by this heritage, the Swiss Manufacture has unveiled what is imho their coolest Fifty Fathoms to date, a 300-piece Limited Edition proudly sporting the insignia of French commando frogmen.

The dive watch geeks among us, know all too well the story of behind the legendary Fifty Fathoms and its connection with the French Combat Swimmers, but in case you haven’t here’s a little background.

When Jean-Jacques Fiechter, took over the running of Blancpain in 1950, he began work on a reliable and robust timing instrument capable of accompanying him on his underwater adventures.

He drew upon his experiences as one of the early scuba divers to develop the basic specifications that would go on to create a watch dedicated to the needs of a scuba diver.

Luminescent hands and hour-markers designed to create maximum contrast against a black dial, a secured rotational bezel, a self-winding movement, true water-resistance, and an anti-magnetic case – the FF was born.

Meanwhile in 1952, Capt. Robert Maloubier AKA Bob Maloubier and Lt. Claude Riffaud, founders of the newly formed French Combat Swimmers unit, began their search to find a watch suited for their underwater missions.

They assembled a list of specific criteria for an instrument that would meet their requirements. The first tests which they conducted with so called water-resistant French watches were inconclusive.

These watches were far too small, the dials were hard to read, and the cases were far from waterproof.
They heard that the director of a Swiss watchmaking house was testing a new model of watch when diving in the south of France, so they decided to contact Jean-Jacques Fiechter.

In 1953, Blancpain was able to deliver to the French team a watch for testing that fully met their criteria. The watch performed brilliantly in all of the tests and it became one of the essential pieces of equipment for the French Combat Swimmers corps. Later, the same occurred for naval forces around the world. This unique timepiece was named Fifty Fathoms.

For 2019 Blancpain has paid tribute to its close collaboration with the founders of the French Combat Swimmers unit by unveiling a special edition of the Fifty Fathoms.

With the endorsement the French Army watch;s case-back was engraved with the Combat Diver Qualification Badge.

This features a central anchor, dedicated to sailors; this is flanked by two winged seahorses representing the underwater world as well as parachutists.

In addition to this the watch face has a discreetly displayed, second emblem – the number 7.

As oxygen becomes toxic when its partial pressure reaches 1.7 bar; the maximum depth that commando frogmen can reach when using pure oxygen is 7 meters.

The 45mm, 300m water-resistant Stainless steel case of the FF Nageurs de combat special edition watch is equipped with a Blancpian Manufacture Cal. 1315 self-winding movement.

Equipped with a date window, it notably features an Si hairspring serving as an anti-magnetic shield, while three series-coupled barrels provide a five-day power reserve.

The FF Nageurs de Combat watch’s hands and markers are covered with luminescent material, contrasting against its matte black dial.

Their geometrical shapes recalls the 1st gen. of 1950s Blancpain mil. diver’s watches. The hands are painted white, just as they are on the historical models.

In the same vintage spirit, the traditional triangular mark that appeared on the first Fifty Fathoms returns to its original potion at 12 o’clock.

Meanwhile, the black unidirectional rotational bezel highlights a luminescent dive-time scale protected by a curved Sapphire inlay.

Thoughts? This is hands down the FF to own; it ticks all the boxes and then some. What do you think???