Many fans of the Blancpain Fifty Fathoms have been yearning for a non-limited edition in a smaller case — a watch like the 42mm Fifty Fathoms 70th Anniversary Act 1 limited edition of last year. Well, steel stays limited, but red gold and titanium iterations are now unlimited, meaning 14 possible variations made their way into Blancpain’s current collection.

While 2023 might have been the year of the Fifty Fathoms, the luxury dive watch will stay in the spotlight in 2024. That’s because the brand has announced new 42mm versions that are taking their place in the current collection. Did Blancpain listen to the market, the collectors/fans, and the passionate commenters here on Fratello? Well, the brand most definitely listened to feedback from its dealers. Whether Blancpain listened to collectors, fans, and commenters is up for debate. After all, the new models are smaller versions of the existing 45mm watches. You don’t get the retro look of the Bronze Gold Fifty Fathoms 70th Anniversary Act 3.


5010 12B40 89S

Blancpain launches the 42mm Fifty Fathoms Automatique watches

To me, 42mm seems like the perfect size for a dive watch. It’s not too big or too small, not too retro or too avant-garde. What about 42.3mm? I ask because that’s the actual size of the new Fifty Fathoms Automatique watches that come in 14 possible versions, of which we’ll show you four. Above, there’s the version with a titanium case and bracelet and a blue dial (5010 12B40 89S). Then there’s one with a titanium case with a black dial and a strap (5010 12B30 B52). There is also the red gold version with a blue dial on a strap (5010 36B40 NAOA). The last one here is in red gold with a black dial on a strap (5010 36B30 B64). But with strap options ranging from sail-canvas to NATO-style and retro Tropic-style rubber, plus a titanium bracelet, there are 14 new references in total.

Fifty Fathoms 42mm

5010 12B30 B52

We have no news on the case length yet, but it measures 42.3mm wide by 14.3mm thick with a 21.5mm lug spacing. Yes, that’s a bit awkward/annoying if you like to constantly change straps. The water resistance and the movement are the same as the 45mm versions of the three-hand Fifty Fathoms Automatique. So you get a 300m depth rating and the caliber 1315, a 227-component movement with a 120-hour power reserve. The movement displays hours, minutes, and central seconds plus a date between 4 and 5 o’clock on the front. It also shows itself through a sapphire window on the case back. The movement has received Haute Horlogerie decorations and an NAC-coated 18K red gold oscillating weight with looks inspired by the rotor of the original Fifty Fathoms of yesteryear.

Fifty Fathoms

5010 36B30 B64

Sunburst dials and plenty of strap options

Whether you pick the lightweight titanium versions or the heavier, more luxurious-looking red gold, all variations have a sunburst dial and the rounded, unidirectional sapphire bezel characteristic of the modern FF. Now, the sapphire replaces the more fragile Bakelite of old and can be seen as a functional evolution. But it’s hard to perceive a sunburst dial as a functional upgrade of a matte one. It’s very much a decorative upgrade. Shiny stuff tends to be regarded as more luxurious. And no matter the instrumental qualities of the new Fifty Fathoms models, these high-end creations probably won’t find themselves in situations in which functionality trumps looks.

Blancpain Fifty Fathoms

5010 36B40 NAOA

Whereas the dials and bezels present themselves in a shiny fashion, the cases in 18K red gold and Grade 23 titanium have a satin-brushed finish. The three-row titanium bracelet is also fully brushed.

Now we come to what everyone wants to know — the prices. The titanium models will cost €21,500 on a bracelet and €18,150 on a NATO strap. If you want them on a sail-canvas or rubber strap, both with titanium folding clasp, you’ll be looking at a €20,050 price tag. The red gold models will be €33,800 on a NATO and €37,500 on either a sail-canvas or rubber strap with a matching folding clasp. If you wanted a red gold bracelet, unfortunately, you’re out of luck for now. Visit Blancpain’s official website to see all 14 new references.

We will request both a titanium and a red gold version of the new 42mm — sorry, 42.3mm — Fifty Fathoms Automatique watches for a proper hands-on and in-depth review. For now, tell us what you think of these watches. Do you have a favorite, and is the 42.3mm size exactly what you wished for? Or were you hoping to see a newly designed Fifty Fathoms, perhaps something a bit more novel and adventurous? Don’t be shy; share your thoughts in the comments below.