Notable Purchase: the “earliest” Blancpain Fifty Fathoms?

Now continues to be a fascinating one on eBay. Yesterday, we covered the purchase of the interesting “panda” Heuer Autavia now we’ll discuss the purchase of the equally rare Blancpain Fifty Fathoms. Before we all do that, though, I’ll make use of this article to provide a general opinion on something: eBay. I’ve contacts which are unwilling to buy on eBay even though I do not disagree using their concerns, it’s, undoubtedly, the biggest industry for vintage watches. Like every marketplace, it’s fraught with people and schemers, but you will find lots of honest retailers. Additionally, you will find also individuals retailers who’re clearing estates and also have no clue by what they’re posting. This really is typically in which the deals are available in or, on the other hand, you’ve individuals who list at absurdly high costs simply because they think they’ve struck gold. They think because it’s old, it’s gold – ever watch a chapter of “Antiques Roadshow”? Regardless, I still contend that eBay is the site to visit to mine for interesting pieces…you simply needs to know a lot or know another person who is able to provide good counsel.


A week ago, a apparently innocuous, if you’re able to label an earlier Swiss Best Blancpain Fifty Fathoms in by doing this, put their hands up on eBay Netherlands. It had been missing the bezel, was just featured with three so-so pictures, didn’t show the movement shots and it was proven on the Spiedel-like bracelet (seriously, articles might be written around the pervasiveness of those elastic hair-pullers and just how they reveal on absurd pieces). So, the timepiece looked a little dangerous and eventually offered for 4.250, Pounds. Now look, 4.000, Pounds isn’t money to become “thrown around”, but with a legendary piece such as this, the various components alone were likely well worth the expenditure. The timepiece was received, opened up which is in which the “magic” started.


I spoken with Jack Wong, with a real desire for these early Blancpain Fifty Fathoms, and that he shared some particulars about this amazing piece. There is also a whole discussion here that captures it in increased detail. To begin with, the Blancpain Fifty Fathoms was brought to the general public in 1954, however it was initially designed and launched in 1953 like a military piece. The piece before us today is really regarded as among the first openly offered Fifty Fathoms. Here’s a short run-lower, thanks to Jack and a few other people around the forum why:

The little dial font is just available on early pieces. Also, Triangular tips, begin to see the minute hands, were only available on very early models and never seen through the late 1950’s or mid-1960’s.


A significant giveaway this is really early: the dust cover is “patent pending”. You are able to almost have the new owner’s heart palpitations upon cracking this open the very first time to see this!

A primitive “50 Fathoms” is placed around the rotor rather than the later “Fifty Fathoms” or “Rayville”.


Note the little 10, 20, 30, and so forth, around the periphery from the dial at each other hour marker. This really is another manifestation of an very early piece. Apparently, there have been two early dial versions: a rail dials (alignment from the “Rotomatic” and “Incabloc” text and the other where “Rotomatic” is more compact. Small “Rotomatic” dials are earlier because of lower ghd serial numbers.

Sure, this can be a near-forensic accounting of the items frequently adopts determining a wrist watch and also the particulars could be tiresome, but think about it like horological the archaeology of gortyn. In my opinion, it’s fascinating…especially when it requires what’s perhaps the first true dive watch (for many, there isn’t any argument).


You can observe the owner, who’s clearly keen on the Blancpain Fifty Fathoms, was lucky enough to currently have an appropriate spare bezel and also the result, after sprucing up the very, is amazing. Smartly, the timepiece will get an analog service but little else.


All in, a good investment of roughly $5,000 about this early Blancpain Fifty Fathoms has produced a wrist watch that will likely sell between $20,000 – 30,000 in the current market or even more. Whether it’s the first piece provided by Blancpain for public purchase is debatable, but it’s apparently the first known piece with a well-informed number of fanatics. It’s an indication to look out who states eBay is just full of danger?


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