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The New, More Compact Blancpain Fifty Fathoms 42mm Collection

A new size for the emblematic luxury dive watch, more wearable than the usual 45mm version.

| By Brice Goulard | 5 min read |
Blancpain Fifty Fathoms 42mm collection

While we’re not here to re-do the story of the Blancpain Fifty Fathoms, we must remember that we’re talking about one of the most important watches ever. Created back in the mid-1950s and one of the first purpose-built modern dive watches, it has, together with a couple of other timepieces, established the fundamental technical and aesthetic codes for this type of watch. The recent history of the model is what we’ll focus on here. It was first relaunched in 2003 by the Hayek family, owner of the Swatch Group and thus Blancpain. In 2007, the classic Fifty Fathoms Automatique arrived with its 45mm case and calibre 1315 – two fundamental elements of the permanent collection. But there’s now a new size… More compact, more wearable, no less powerful. Here’s the new Blancpain Fifty Fathoms 42mm Collection. 

Looking back at the modern history of the Fifty Fathoms, things have been pretty straightforward since its re-introduction as part of the permanent collection of the brand in 2007. Not including complications, such as the chronograph/calendar, the tourbillon or the Big Date, the classic version, understand the time-and-date diving-oriented watch such as this one, the Fifty Fathoms has mostly been available in a large case (in steel, titanium or gold) measuring 45mm in diameter – a collection known as the reference 5015. Over the years, we’ve seen several limited or special edition models with more compact cases, such as the Tribute to Fifty Fathoms No Rad or the Barakuda Re-Edition, both using a 40mm case.

Blancpain Fifty Fathoms 70th Anniversary Limited Edition Act 1 ref 5010
Blancpain Fifty Fathoms 70th Anniversary Limited Edition Act 1, which introduced the 42mm case to the collection

Looking back at last year’s celebratory watches – for the model’s 70th anniversary – Blancpain released a trio of limited editions including the appealing Fifty Fathoms Act I, which was presented in a new steel case measuring 42mm. And this Fifty Fathoms 70th Anniversary Act 1 was not only there to celebrate a milestone in the history of the collection, it was also a teaser for what we’ll be looking at today, the new Blancpain Fifty Fathoms 42mm Collection.

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Blancpain Fifty Fathoms 42mm collection
The new 42mm editions (left and middle) next to the classic ref. 5015 with a 45mm case

First and foremost, we’re looking at classic Fifty Fathoms watches overall. Despite a new, slightly more compact size, these new references are immediately recognizable as part of the FF family. Most design cues have been maintained, only packed in a case that has been downsized by a fair amount. Also important, if you’re the owner of one of the very few examples of the Fifty Fathoms 70th Anniversary Act 1, rest assured as these new models are fairly different regarding dial design and materials. Indeed, the new Fifty Fathoms 42mm Collection won’t be available (for now, at least) in stainless steel but only in grade 23 titanium and 18k red gold, with fully brushed cases – making these new generations watches more appealing and also more purposeful.

Blancpain Fifty Fathoms 42mm collection

As for the case, the diameter is now 42.3mm. It remains a fairly sizeable watch but no doubt that the reduction of 3mm makes a drastic difference on the wrist. Also, the thickness has been reduced by 1.3mm to now 14.2mm in total, compared to 15.5mm for the classic 45mm watch. Other than the reduction, the rest is everything you’d expect from a Fifty Fathoms, starting with the overall design and the emblematic domed sapphire crystal insert over the unidirectional rotating bezel. Matching the dial colour, the underside of the insert features a 60-minute scale with luminous markers and numerals. Water-resistance is still rated at 300m with a screwed back (with sapphire crystal), a screwed crown and a domed sapphire crystal on top. The Blancpain engraving on the left side of the case is still present, like it or not.

Blancpain Fifty Fathoms 42mm collection

The choice of material is also pretty interesting. Opting for grade 23 titanium as the standard material instead of stainless steel brings durability and lightness, which combined with the reduced size brings sheer comfort on the wrist. The 18k red gold version is surely less “toolish” but is a nice, more luxurious option. Whatever your metal of choice, you’ll be able to opt for a black or a blue dial/bezel/strap combination, as the Fifty Fathoms 42mm is released as an entire collection of 14 references.

As for the dial of this new reduced FF, the classic markers have been retained, with a combination of Arabic numerals at 3, 6, 9 and 12 o’clock, as well as triangular markers for the rest of the hours. The stylized hands are also untouched and all the elements have been generously coated with Super-LumiNova. The date sits at 4:30 so all hour markers are luminous, and the disc matches the colour of the dial – I’d still opt for a no-date display, but at least it isn’t too intrusive here. A specificity of these 42mm versions is the fact that the dials are flat – the 45mm versions have slightly stepped dials – and an entirely sunray-brushed surface.

Blancpain Fifty Fathoms 42mm collection

Powering the 42mm Fifty Fathoms watches is the same movement, the high-performance calibre 1315. This in-house movement has the specificity to use three series-coupled barrels, resulting in a solid 120-hour or 5-day power reserve. Beating at 4Hz, it is equipped with an antimagnetic silicon hairspring and a stop-seconds mechanism. The sapphire back reveals a nicely decorated movement with snailed bridges, polished chamfers and an 18k gold rotor that is NAC coated and whose design is inspired by the rotor of the historical 1950s timepieces.

Blancpain Fifty Fathoms 42mm collection

Whether chosen in red gold or titanium, the Fifty Fathoms 42mm will be available with a wide choice of straps (in matching colours) ranging from sail-canvas to NATO and Tropic textured rubber. The titanium versions are also available on a titanium bracelet with a triple folding clasp. The 21.5mm lug width will make it rather difficult to find an alternative strap, however.

Blancpain Fifty Fathoms 42mm collection

The new Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Automatique 42mm collection comprises 14 references (gold or titanium, black or blue, various strap or bracelet options) and will be part of the permanent collection. Prices will range from CHF 15,300 to CHF 28,500. For more details, please visit

14 responses

  1. This is an excellent move that should have been done years ago. The legendary dove watch is now ready for a wider audience, I hope! Please also make the Bathyscaphe a bit smaller – let’s say 41 or 42mm.

  2. For sure a step in the right direction, but I still wonder why the won‘t give us the 40mm watch everybody wants. It is as if Blancpain does not want to be successful.

  3. Excellent, lovely design. Seems like the case has the same dimensions as the Swatch Scuba. The watch is big but very wearable, even for my tiny 14.5cm wrist. The titanium model should also be light wich adds comfort and helps the wearability.

  4. Euro prices in Germany are outrageous. Check the Blancpain site for your respective location. But the watch is nice. Love the rubber strap. Should wear like the original Pelagos size and weight wise. I doubt it can be had with the discounts, the 45mm version came with. So is it really an alternative?

  5. Any smaller or thinner and the 1315 movement will not fit. The use a different movement in the 40mm models.

  6. Very cool watch, but $18,400 for titanium on a strap? No thanks.

    Get the SeaQ Pano Date, nicer, and secondary market in the 6-9k range.

  7. Hello Blancpain….40mm, a little bit less bezel and NO DATE, Steel. Roadmap?

  8. I think the price is ok, Blancpain is a luxury brand and compared to a Submariner it’s not that much more money. I guess if a titanium submariner existed it would also be 15k€ or more.

    I like the watch but it’s clearly not in my price bracket, even if it was half of that. So no bad feelings.

  9. Clearly people want nice things but don’t want to pay for them. Unless it’s Rolex, right?

  10. Be prepared for the price increases of the upcoming novelties of the Swatch brands. This has nothing to do with regular adaption to inflation. The latter anyway was not driven due to wage-price increase cycles, but was due to a one-time energy price shock as a consequence to geopolitical developments. But no worries, I stick to watches subsequently.

    In a year a Blancpain titanium diver on a strap will cost above 20.000 Euro Retail if brand execs continue with this pattern. This is, Luxury pricing concepts well considered, not acceptable. Especially brands such as Blancpain do not make money on one-time run-in customers who happen to just get persuaded by a sales-rep to buy this watch instead of the 3000 Euro Longines oder 6000 Euro Breitling they had initially envisioned, because they saw it advertised in some magazine, a week ago, while they were waiting for their doctor’s appointment.

    All of those CEOs who have run with this radical price increase model, e.g. JLC, for sure will not admit, they have made a mistake. They will always tell you publicly how great and swell everything is, numbers are up, until they are replaced.

    For instance in Germany, very few get the supposed 3% yearly salary increase every year (2% ECB inflation target and roughly and on average 1% national productivity). And your salary has to be quite high for that number, after taxes and social security have been deducted, to still amount to some net 2000 or 3000 Euros, so that price increases in that product bracket can simply go unnoticed.

    Many customers are being outpriced during the past years by the watch industry.

  11. So at that price point, you need to convince people that they shouldn’t get a Submariner, but instead go fo FF. Amd you do this by having watch be huge and thick as hell. Good thinking. Now with 42mm, at least it’s a start. But this will always be enthusiast’s watch, and as far as I can see, there really aren’t many people in this hobby who prefer their watches to be thicker and larger than the competition. But you do you, Blancpain, you’re unprecedented success is a clear indicator that you’re doing great!

  12. Why you not asking for 10mm size??? And put it in finger!!! What kind of hands you have where 42mm is big? This is quality watch for normal successful people, if you are distrofic buy $20 watch and enjoy!


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