Quite some time ago already, Jarle sent us a question about the Blancpain Trilogy Fifty Fathoms models. These models were initiated by Mr. Jean-Claude Biver (while at Blancpain) at the end of the nineties, and are in fact the first descendants of the illustrious Blancpain Fifty Fathom models from the fifties, sixties, and even seventies.
Let’s start with the complete text of Jarle’s question:
Subject: Black sheep; Blancpain Trilogy
In 1997 the most iconic dive watch reemerged from hibernation. It was the Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Trilogy. In production for some years until it was replaced by the 5015 FF Sport. (Not counting the 50th 40mm with sapphire bezel).
Today in every mention of the FF and its history, every storyteller seems to skip/not recognize/or know of the Trilogy which restarted it all. Same quality. An identical case as today’s celebrated Milspec. Same movement as the Milspec and Bathyscape 38. Same damn good watch.
Yet the silence from every single «watchjournalist» out there. Why?
Best regards, Jarle
As Jarle indicated, very little has been written about these models indeed, and so we did some investigation. Fratello Watches has never written about these models as well, so we were happy to find some solid coverage of these models externally.
Blancpain revived itself – well, was revived by Jean Claude Biver and Jaques Piguet – in 1982, but it took until 1997 for the illustrious Fifty Fathoms models to come to life again. The new owners of the brand didn’t think the Fifty Fathoms to suit the image of their ideas with Blancpain very well. So it was only some 15 years later that they, somewhat quietly, introduced this loot of the family again.
The new Fifty Fathoms came as the diver model in a series of three sports watches. The others were a 2nd timezone watch named just GMT and a chronograph named Air Command. And then Jean-Claude Biver named this new water-land-air series the Trilogy.
Of course, Frederique Piguet movements were used in the Trilogy series. The Fifty Fathoms uses a Blancpain-Piguet caliber 1151 in an exclusive 100-hour power reserve execution. More information on the movement can, for instance, be found at WatchBase’s website here. It was housed in a 300m waterproof, 40mm, stainless steel casing. In 1999 the Trilogy triple was followed-up by somewhat upgraded versions, named Concept 2000.
That’s Jarle’s main question. This Trilogy Fifty Fathoms were technically as good as any of the later models, however, still, they’re not half as popular. A quick query at Chrono24, sorted by ‘prices low to high’, learns that it is exactly the Trilogy models of the Fifty Fathoms that are the less costly ones.
There might be two reasons. First the fact that the Trilogy series was introduced without much ado. They just happened to be available at some time, and then not even for a very long time (as they were followed-up with the Concept 2000, and later 50th-anniversary Fifty Fathoms models). So not many people might be aware of the existence of these models.
Second, although at that time quite successful for Blancpain, it might be that the execution of the rotating bezel wasn’t as attractive as the former ones used at Fifty Fathom models. At least they don’t remember of former – now much loved – bezel models very much. One could even say they look more like the first type of Rolex’ Yachtmaster bezels, introduced in the early nineties.
Well whatever the reason be, we don’t think this Blancpain Trilogy Fifty Fathom deserves it to be forgotten. Let’s hope that Jarle’s question and this article may ignite some interest for it.
As said, we didn’t cover the Trilogy Fifty Fathoms models our selves here at Fratello Watches, so we had to source the belonging pictures for this article externally. For this, we were generously helped by blancpainblog.com which I would absolutely advise you to visit.
For the rest, we found the pictures through Google and Chrono24. If these pictures point out to be yours and you would like us to credit you, please let us know.
Here are two links of articles we found. One is a WatchTime article, the other an article published in Blancpain’s home magazine ‘Lettres du Brassus’. I hope you enjoy them.
– WatchTime, The Hunt For The Fifty Fathoms
– Lettres du Brassus, The History Of Fifty Fathoms
More information on Blancpain in general, as well as its current collection, can be found on www.blancpain.com.
And if you should have a question for us to answer as well, please don’t hesitate to contact us through our contact form.
Gerard has been in the watch industry for over two decades now. He owned a watch shop in The Hague, The Netherlands, and besides that he has journalistic and photographic activities in the field of watches. Collecting watches since he... read more