In the very last paragraph of the introduction article for the Blancpain Fifty Fathoms 70th Anniversary Act 3, I asked you to let the watch and its price sink in. I also wrote that I would do the same and return with a follow-up article in which the Fifty Fathoms was put in its natural habitat. No, not the ocean. I mean the highly competitive world where other luxury dive watches roam and fight for survival. Well, that day has come. On a Monday, no less. Here’s some food for thought to start the watch/work week.

The reactions on the most recent Blancpain dive watch, the Fifty Fathoms 70th Anniversary Act 3 (5901 5630 NANA) lead to more or less unanimous reactions. The watch is limited to 555 pieces and comes in a 41.3mm 9K Bronze Gold case. It’s worn on a striped NATO-style strap made from recycled fishing nets. And the watch, with its long, slender lugs harking back to the original Fifty Fathoms models, has a list price of US$32,000. From the comments, I learned that you liked the looks but were struggling with the price. Let’s examine the watch one more time.

Blancpain Fifty Fathoms 70th Anniversary Act 3

Putting the Blancpain Fifty Fathoms 70th Anniversary Act 3 into perspective

The 9K Bronze Gold adds a touch of luxury to a watch that was once conceived as an instrument for divers. It’s the same patented alloy consisting of 37.5% gold, 50% copper, and smaller percentages of silver, palladium, and gallium that Omega uses, but more about that later. The shimmering alloy has more luster than bronze, but it also doesn’t look too ostentatious as Blancpain chose a grained texture for the case. That finishing looks robust and luscious at the same time. To put the Fifty Fathoms 70th Anniversary Act 3 and its price in perspective, let’s first start with two other models from the Blancpain catalog before looking at watches from other brands.

First up is the 45mm steel Fifty Fathoms Automatique (5015 1130 52A). This “basic” or entry-level Fifty Fathoms has a retail price of US$15,300. There’s also the 18K red gold (5015 3630 52A) version on a sail-canvas strap that will set you back US$31,800 at a retailer who doesn’t want to give you a discount. The fact that the new Act 3 is a festive limited-edition model is part of the price, and so is the special alloy. But isn’t 18K red gold more special/valuable than a 9K alloy? Normally, it is.

And since we’re talking about limited editions, you might want to know that the 42.3mm steel Fifty Fathoms 70th Anniversary Act 1, which came out at the beginning of the year in three series of 70 pieces, has a list price of US$17,400. Also, the 2021 No Rad (5008D 1130 B64A), a 500-piece limited edition in a 40.3mm steel case, had an original sticker price of US$14,100 — on Chrono24, sellers are now asking roughly double this price.

Blancpain Fifty Fathoms 70th Anniversary Act 3

Speculative thoughts

Just like the 2021 No Rad, the 2023 Fifty Fathoms 70th Anniversary Act 3 could become a good investment. A visual extra on the dial, whether a “No Radiations” sign or a moisture indicator, seems to attract collectors. And that pushes up the price on the secondhand market. A doubling of the $32K list price might take some time. It may also seem unlikely, but you can’t rule it out. That’s also because, besides the visual incentive on the dial, the characteristics of the Act 3 are right up a collector’s alley. There’s the original case shape and size along with a ceramic bezel that mimics the original dive ring — the bulky/bulging sapphire bezel would have looked completely out of place. And the fact that the Act 3 is a limited edition of (just) 555 pieces might be an important factor in a steady price increase on the secondhand market.

Blancpain Fifty Fathoms 70th Anniversary Act 3

Same Swatch Group gold

It is impossible to talk about the Fifty Fathoms 70th Anniversary Act 3 without mentioning the Omega Seamaster 300 ( That retro-style dive watch has a 41mm 9K Bronze Gold case. Yes, that’s precisely the same alloy and also (almost) the same case size. That it’s the same alloy can hardly be a surprise since both Omega and Blancpain are Swatch Group brands.

The Act 3 and the Seamaster 300 have even more things in common. They both are modeled after a watch from the 1950s, for instance. And that historical fact results in a look that has a lot of resemblances. Both have a ceramic bezel insert with a diving scale and plenty of vintage-looking Super-LumiNova on the hour markers and hands.

There are differences too. The Omega is outfitted with the ultra-precise Co-Axial Master Chronometer caliber 8912, for instance. This METAS-certified 3.5Hz movement with a 60-hour power reserve represents the ultimate in mechanical accuracy. The Blancpain is outfitted with Blancpain’s caliber 1154.P2. That’s a movement that beats with a lower 3Hz frequency. Yes, that (partly) contributes to a power reserve of 100 hours, but the movement doesn’t have a chronometer certification of any kind. Both movements use silicon parts, and both are decorated. However, you might argue that the decoration of the Omega looks richer. It seems more elaborate and therefore more expensive than the high-end, yet rather sober movement finishing of the Blancpain.


Name your price

Now we come to the price. So, the Act 3 has a price of US$32,000, while the Seamaster 300, a vintage-inspired dive watch that is comparable in almost every way except its strap, has a sticker price of US$13,200. That’s a price difference of US$18,800. That’s a huge price difference based on mostly immaterial things. Yes, the Blancpain is a limited edition, and the Omega is not. So there is indeed a difference in tangible exclusivity. But for the most part, the price difference is based on the fact that the mother company Swatch Group has positioned Blancpain as a more exclusive brand than Omega.

Blancpain Fifty Fathoms 70th Anniversary Act 3

It’s all about image and perception. And asking people to pay $18K extra for image and perception seems to be quite bold, to say the least. The pricing almost suggests that the execs at the top of both Swatch Group and Blancpain think that Omega and Blancpain wearers never meet — that both the target audience and the brands operate in parallel universes that never come in contact with each other.

Other “fish” in the sea

Since I was going to put the Fifty Fathoms Act 3 in its natural habitat, the highly competitive world of the luxury dive watch where more brands are active, here are two comparable watches. When looking at the Act 3, I can’t help but think about and bring up the Tudor Black Bay Fifty-Eight 18K. This is the luxurious gold version of the successful retro-styled dive watch that brought Tudor so much success and love from watch fans. This noblest of all the Black Bay models has a retail price of US$16,800.

And in the same realm — the watch I want to finish with is from Tudor’s mother company Rolex — the illustrious Submariner also lurks. You could say that the “Sub” is the undisputed king of the oceans. And it’s the reference 126618LN in full yellow gold that I need to mention when looking at the Act 3. The shiny gold Sub has a list price of US$39,000. Yes, that’s more than the Fifty Fathoms 70th Anniversary Act 3. But for the extra money, you get a nobler alloy and a solid-gold bracelet instead of a strap made from recycled fishing equipment.

Blancpain Fifty Fathoms 70th Anniversary Act 3

So many thoughts

You’ve seen the various watches and their prices. Well, comparing them leaves me struggling with the $32K price tag of the 9K Bronze Gold Fifty Fathoms 70th Anniversary Act 3. Of course, taste is very personal, but in my humble opinion, the watch looks fantastic. That said, the price is equally fantastic…and not in a positive sense. To me, it seems that Blancpain aims this watch at people who have plenty of funds, those for whom $32K is small change. Maybe it’s even for people who don’t understand the rich history of the Fifty Fathoms and/or those who don’t give a new watch too much thought. What do you think?