It was highly anticipated, as well as highly controversial. The 500 Fathoms was to be the much beefier version of the classic Fifty Fathoms model from Blancpain
. But was it a good idea? I first wrote about the Blancpain 500 Fathoms watch here
. The current iteration of the Fifty Fathoms was cherry. A beautiful watch, in a robust case, with a killer in-house movement. Rumors were that adjusted properly, the movement could be accurate to within about a second a day - a number that is very good for a mechanical watch. For whatever reason the 500 fathoms was borne. In a larger case at 48mm in size, the 500 Fathoms has a unique look with torpedo hands and a titanium case that is water resistant to 1000 meters (not exactly 500 fathoms). Since the watch was initially announced, the dial has changed a bit. Here you get to see exactly what the production version looks like. The dial is extremely retro diver with a twist. The almost sunburst pattern on the dial is a thematic modern interpretation of the atomic symbol that was on the original Fifty Fathoms watch. Large Arabic numerals on the dial are lume filled, together with the hands. As you can see, early worries about legibility problems haven't come to pass.
I love the rotating diver's bezel. It turns so nicely, and the ring is covered with a sapphire crystal. Not everyone likes this execution of a rotating dial, but I quite enjoy it. Going to the back of the watch you'll find an exhibition caseback with a sapphire crystal. This isn't a very common feature with a 1000 meter water resistant watch. The Blancpain calibre 5125 automatic movement has 5 days of power reserve, and a really cool looking automatic rotor shaped like a ship propeller in perlage polish complete with small bubbles. This is certainly a great addition to the Fifty Fathoms watch without supplanting it. Price is high, in the $16,000 and up range - but that is what you pay when you want a Blancpain.
Ariel Adams publishes the luxury watch reviews