Blancpain Fifty Fathoms 'Barakuda'Sold
Blancpain Fifty Fathoms 'Barakuda'
- Free worldwide delivery
Barracudas are ferocious predators that use surprise tactics to hunt down their prey. In this case, the Barakuda stands for a rare and surprising variant of the OG dive watch: the Blancpain Fifty Fathoms.
The Fifty Fathoms was born out of pure necessity as the combat swimmers of the French navy were looking for a reliable watch to be used on their missions in the early 1950s. The head of this elite group, Captain Bob Maloubier, submitted a sketch with the desired specifications to several watch brands, but none of them were willing to actually produce such a watch.
Eventually, a small French watchmaker by the name of Blancpain took up the task and the Fifty Fathoms was released in 1952, a year before the Rolex Submariner hit the market. The Fifty Fathoms is truly the template for all modern diving watches: a large stainless steel case, automatic movement, rotating bezel, and black dial with large contrasting luminous markers and hands.
In the 1960s and 1970s, the Germany Navy (Bundesmarine) ordered a special version of the Fifty Fathoms for its divers from Barakuda, a company specialized in diving equipment. These particular executions of the Fifty Fathoms featured large block-shaped red and yellow indices to ensure maximum legibility above and underwater, but also provide a beautiful and funky pop of color against the matte black background of the dial.
While the watch was initially only available to Bundesmarine divers, a small number of them were also made available to the civilian market later on. While exact production numbers aren’t confirmed by Blancpain, it is estimated that only 150 pieces of the model were made in total.
This particular execution of the civilian version is like a time capsule straight from the 1960s. The 40 mm stainless steel case, with its soft iron inner cage to ensure antimagnetic properties, is in wonderful condition and features the original ribbed rotating steel bezel with a black acrylic inlay. The matte black dial with the characteristic two-tone indices is in exceptional condition and features the original white handset.
This rare beast was serviced by Blancpain’s heritage department a few years ago and is accompanied by a book that not only confirms the authenticity of the watch but also details its condition, describes the service steps undertaken, indicates the outcomes of a radioactivity monitoring test, and is filled with detailed photographs of the watch and the movement.