The recent update to Blancpain’s 50 fathoms lineup puts the long-running diving watch line in the spotlight; However, this is by no means new. As one of the earliest diving watches in the world, even though it has complex functions that are not normally associated with diving, there is always a place on the market for anything called 50 fathoms.With that in mind, I’m not talking about the new full calendar that came out last year. I’m going back to the archives to get a closer look at one of the brand’s early quirky products, the Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Flyback Chronograph.
Released back in 2007 (number 5085f-1130-52, just in case you were wondering), it’s still part of the brand’s current offering about 12 years later.While the replica watch is definitely a niche item, I thought I’d take the opportunity to take a closer look at what’s going on.
Like most non-bathyscaph 50 fathoms models, when you see this 50 fathoms reverse chronometer, the first thing you see is its prominent sapphire bezel. Under the right conditions, it glows brightly from across the room, and its natural reflexes quickly dispel any notion of “under the radar,” even though it’s pure black.
From there, you’ll notice that its timing sub-dials in 3 and 9 are oversized standard timing registers, which is a nice bonus to improve readability. They do dwarf its its running seconds sub-dial at 6, though not so much that the design looks clunky.In keeping with this somewhat reflective theme, the case is highly polished from top to bottom and thins inwards from one side of the dial to the back of the case — just one of several details that help soften the feel on the wrist.
As a fairly high level steel sport replica watch, this is not just your regular off-the-shelf timepiece. Blancpain self-winding calibre F185 is an integrated cylinder wheel chronograph feature with a flyback function that allows instant reset of timing without having to stop, reset, and restart.
The movement is made up of 305 parts and uses a silicon balance spring with a reasonable (but not exceptional) 40-hour power reserve.It also has a split-second jump date indicator tucked into the run second sub-dial. On the functional side, it’s worth noting that the replica watch has a water resistance of up to 300 meters, which is part of their signature line of diving watches.
What’s a little surprising, though, is the design of the push arm.At first glance, the knurled base of the pusher gives the impression that they are a downward spiral variety — a feature that helps make them waterproof. That’s not the case — the details are purely aesthetic, but the brand claims the chronograph can be safely operated underwater (personally, I still wouldn’t risk it).