Fifty Fathoms Tourbillon 8 Jours: Blancpain’s Tourbillon for the Depths

Fifty Fathoms Tourbillon 8 Jours: Blancpain’s Tourbillon for the Depths

After a few collections starring reissues of historical Fifty Fathoms and Bathyscaphe references, Blancpain renews one of its stars of the recent past — the Fifty Fathoms Tourbillon 8 Jours. Without being a direct sequel, the new Tourbillon 8 Jours retraces the steps of the Fifty Fathoms tourbillon watch that Blancpain presented in 2007.

Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Tourbillon 8 Jours, 2007
Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Tourbillon 8 Jours, 2007

A tourbillon dive watch is almost always a surprise since dive watches are typically not the first choice to add such prestigious complications. The specialization of dive watches — and the theory and technique behind them — demands that their aesthetics be kept pristine, free of visual excesses or clutter that impede the correct and safe reading of dive times. The strictest official technical standards defining the dive watch, such as ISO 6425 or DIN 8306 (which include anti-magnetic and anti-shock properties besides the expected utility, readability, and water resistance conditions), consider superfluous anything that does not adhere to their rigorous definitions. But most dive watches are not so extreme and do just fine complying with softer rules, giving themselves leeway to preserve their usefulness and attractiveness without compromising safety. However, finding additional features that add to the novelty and uniqueness of dive watches is unusual.

Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Tourbillon 8 Jours
Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Tourbillon 8 Jours

The “extra” functions we usually see in dive watches like the Fifty Fathoms, Seamaster or Aquatimer, to name a few, are chronographs or big dates. However, given a dive watch’s technical finesse, a tourbillon can be accommodated, and in this case, it adds an aura of sophistication and luxury to the sporty Fifty Fathoms that will appeal equally to both desk divers and those who actually venture to dive sites, whether Ben’s Cave in the Bahamas or Cenote Angelita in Yucatan, Mexico.

The Blancpain dive watch debuted in 1953, becoming one of the first modern dive watches. That first Fifty Fathoms was created by Jean-Jacques Fiechter, then co-CEO of Blancpain and a diving pioneer, with feedback from Captain Robert “Bob” Maloubier and Lieutenant Claude Riffaud, who, in 1952, were commissioned by the French Ministry of Defense to create an elite unit of “Combat Divers.” The Fifty Fathoms was a turning point in the watch industry as it set the technical yardstick for dive watches.

These two new versions of the Fifty Fathoms Tourbillon 8 Jours wear sunburst finished dials. The flying tourbillon — so-called because it has no upper bridge to support the cage — “floats” in its large opening at 12 o’clock. The technical complexity of the regulating device contrasts with the utilitarian style of the indexes, hands and bezel. The latter remains a crucial element of the watch, with its serrated edge providing good grip, unidirectional movement and domed sapphire insert.

The flying tourbillon "floats" at the 12 o'clock
The flying tourbillon "floats" at the 12 o'clock

The 45mm case of the Fifty Fathoms Tourbillon 8 Jours is available in two materials: grade 23 titanium and red gold, both in satin finish. The titanium one stands out for its lightness and resistance to shocks, pressure and corrosion, while the red gold reference enhances the elegance of the tourbillon. Water resistant to 300 meters, the Fifty Fathoms Tourbillon 8 Jours houses the self-winding caliber 25C, a movement ravishingly finished in Côtes de Genève and perlage. Its gold oscillating weight is satin-brushed and openworked to offer the best possible view of the movement. Overall, the 25C is a modernized update of the caliber 25A used in the Fifty Fathoms Tourbillon 8 Jours of 2007, a movement that, in its time, was one of the slimmest automatic tourbillons available. In both cases, the frequency is 21,600 vibrations per hour or 3 hertz, and the caliber provides tremendous autonomy with 192 hours or eight days of power reserve. Unlike the 2007 watch, however, there is no power reserve gauge on the new dial.

Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Tourbillon 8 Jours in titanium
Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Tourbillon 8 Jours in titanium
Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Tourbillon 8 Jours in 18K Red Gold
Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Tourbillon 8 Jours in 18K Red Gold

The titanium Fifty Fathoms Tourbillon 8 Jours is available with a blue NATO or sail-canvas strap and a titanium bracelet; the red gold watch comes with a blue NATO or sail-canvas strap. As desired, the straps can be combined with a buckle or a deployant clasp on both models.

With this opulent timepiece, Blancpain has found a way — just like it did almost 15 years ago — to blend the luxurious look and precious charm of the more classical Villeret tourbillon timepieces with the sporty functionality and generous size of the Fifty Fathoms, in a manner that will surely make the watch stand out from the usual luxury sports chic suspects. The new Fifty Fathoms Tourbillon 8 Jours from Blancpain is not a matter of why, but why not?

Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Tourbillon 8 Jours, Ref: 5025-12B40, with NATO strap
Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Tourbillon 8 Jours, Ref: 5025-12B40, with NATO strap
Self-winding caliber 25C
Self-winding caliber 25C
Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Tourbillon 8 Jours, Ref: 5025-36B40, with NATO strap
Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Tourbillon 8 Jours, Ref: 5025-36B40, with NATO strap
45mm 18K Red Gold case with 192-hour power reserve
45mm 18K Red Gold case with 192-hour power reserve

Tech Specs

Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Tourbillon 8 Jours

Ref: 5025-12B40 (titanium); 5025-36B40 (18K red gold)

Movement: Self-winding caliber 25C; 192-hour power reserve
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, tourbillon and unidirectional diving bezel
Case: 45mm; 18K red gold or grade 23 titanium; water resistant to 300m
Dial: Sunburst blue; Super-LumiNova filled applied hour markers and Arabic numerals
Strap: Blue sail-canvas with folding clasp or blue NATO textile with pin buckle; bracelet available for titanium reference
Price: USD 116,600 to USD 135,700

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Israel Ortega

Israel Ortega has always been passionate about luxury cars and watches. He has spent the last two decades covering these two areas of interest extensively. He started his career with Mexico’s leading auto magazine ‘Automóvil Panamericano’ and also worked at the ‘Car and Driver’ as its editor-in-chief between 1999 and 2006. He has been contributing to Revolution since 2012 and is currently the editor-in-chief for the Mexico and Latin American editions.

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