Blancpain Turns to Precious “Bronze” for the Fifty Fathoms 70th Anniversary Act 3

A military-inspired diver in a novel case metal.

The third release celebrating 70 years of Blancpain’s famous dive watch is military inspired but paradoxically paired with a 9k Bronze Gold case. Limited to 555 pieces, the Fifty Fathoms 70th Anniversary Act 3 combines the gold alloy with historical military elements such as the moisture indicator and a magnetic-resistant movement. 

Initial thoughts 

After the recent Blancpain x Swatch Fifty Fathoms, it is hard to look at this watch and not be instantly reminded of the yellow Pacific Ocean model. But putting that rather unfair comparison aside, this new celebratory limited edition has a few novel details which help elevate it above some of the brand’s more recent releases. 

The pronounced crystal add to the vintage feel of the watch. Image – Blancpain.

I like the addition of the moisture indicator on the dial, although the grey indicator clashes slightly with the gold and beige tones that define the rest of the watch, it helps anchor the piece in Blancpain’s military past.

While I am not a fan of the colour of Bronze Gold as it appears in the images, nor do I like faux-patina in any situation, it can be said that the two seem to pair nicely here and compliment each other.

The functionality of the movement is clear to see from the specs, and the overall aesthetic reflects the utilitarian inspiration of the watch. The details of the movement, however, reveal it to be finished well, including polished bevels on the bridges and chamfered spokes on the wheels.

It is worth noting, however, that Bronze Gold is not a new alloy. The same alloy was debuted by sister company Omega last year in the Seamaster 300 Bronze Gold, which leaves this feeling a little less novel than it might seem. Even though this doesn’t take away from the intrinsic appeal of the watch, it does make it less special than the price would imply.

Priced at CHF30,000, this is certainly at the top end for what you would expect to pay for a dive watch. However, considering the quality movement, limited production run, and historic design, there can be some justification for this level of pricing, although that justification still requires some stretching.

Decorated MIL-SPEC

The new Fifty Fathoms Anniversary Act 3 draws heavy inspiration from the dive watches made by Blancpain in the late 1950s but attempts to elevate it through the use of precious metals and modern movement innovations. Measuring the exact same as the original MIL-SPEC model at 41.3 mm across.

While the case may appear bronze, it is actually a 9k alloy known as Bronze Gold, made up of 37.5% gold, 50% copper and the rest is a mix of silver, palladium, and gallium. This gives the appearance of bronze, but will be comfortable for all skin types to wear and won’t oxidise the way true bronze does. 

Image – Blancpain.

The matte black dial has dots and baton markers with a single triangle at 12, all made from coloured Super-Luminova that is a shade of tan. This is matched by the numerals on the dive scale on the unidirectional bezel’s ceramic insert. The moisture indicator is white and grey and has also been given a dosing of luminous material, although this time it has not be falsely aged. 

Fully water resistant to 30 bars of pressure, this piece will work a functioning dive watch and the recycled nylon NATO strap that it comes with will certainly make it easy to go in and out of the water with. 

Image – Blancpain.

Inside, the cal. 1154.P2 is found, equipped with 100 hours of power reserve (thanks to twin barrels) and the ability to withstand 1000-gauss of magnetism. While the original version from the 50s achieved its anti-magnetic properties through the use of a soft iron cage around the movement, this version has incorporated a silicon balance spring and exclusive alloys used in the escapement. A far more modern solution to this problem.

Limited to 555 pieces, each one will be delivered in a box inspired by historic camera housing. This is inspired by the fact that underwater photography was advancing at the same pace as underwater timekeepers. A slightly unexpected addition, but one that certain collectors will be sure to appreciate. 

Key facts and price 

Blancpain Fifty Fathoms 70th Anniversary Act 3
Ref. 5901-5630-NANA

Diameter: 41.3 mm
Height: 13.3 mm
Material: 9k Bronze Gold
Crystal: Sapphire
Water resistance: 300 m

Movement: Cal. 1154.P2
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, and moisture indicator
Winding: Self-winding
Frequency: Unavailable
Power reserve: 100 hours

Strap: NATO

Limited edition: 555 pieces
Availability: Via the Blancpain website and boutiques
Price: CHF30,000 or SGD44,800

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