Blancpain has created a one-off Fifty Fathoms Barakuda for Only Watch 2019.

The unique piece is inspired by the new Fifty Fathoms BARAKUDA, and has been created especially for the Only Watch charity auction in Geneva on November 9th 2019.

Launched in 1953 for the frogmen of several of the world’s largest marine corps units, the FF soon became a key piece of equipment in their standard-issue kit.

The French were the first to equip themselves with Fifty Fathoms models for their underwater missions. Other military elites followed, including the German Bundesmarine in the 1960s.

These models were supplied by Barakuda, a specialist company dealing with the production and marketing of technical scuba-diving equipment.

In addition to the mil.-editions, Barakuda introduced a civilian variant into the German market that had a distinctive style characterized by its two-tone rectangular hour-markers, white-painted fluorescent hands, as well as a highly visible date display at 3 o’clock.

Some watches in this series were fitted with a TROPIC-type rubber strap that was very popular with divers at the time and particularly renowned for its durability as well as its comfort.

The new Fifty Fathoms Barakuda for Only Watch faithfully reinterprets the aesthetic codes of this watch from the late 60s, while incorporating the brand’s latest technical innovations.

Its black dial is punctuated by broad white hour-markers in SuperLumiNova with blue luminescence, like the hands and bezel.

The pencil-shaped hands are white-lacquered and the seconds hand is rimmed with light blue, while the date – a key element of the original model – returns to its favorite position in a prominent window.

Blancpain has teamed these vintage attributes with its iconic unidirectional bezel featuring here light blue graduations, along with a scratch-resistant domed Sapphire inlay – an innovation first unveiled by them in 2003.

The Stainless steel case of this unique piece, water-resistant to 300 meters, has a diameter of 40mm, a size typically reserved for Fifty Fathoms models that are released in limited series.

It houses the 1151 automatic movement equipped with twin barrels, which can be admired through a Sapphire case-back revealing an engraved rotor with the inscription ONLY WATCH.

This rotor has the particularity to present a cut-out shape, in reference to some of the collection’s antique watches.

This now atypical geometry formerly served to enhance the suppleness of the oscillating weight in order to protect the movement from potential impacts.

Paired with a tropical rubber strap identical to that of the historical models, the Fifty Fathoms Barakuda for Only Watch is expected to fetch between 13,000 - 20,000USD.