Earlier this year, Blancpain held a traveling vintage exhibition that consisted of more than 50 historic Blancpain dive watches, as a Tribute to Fifty Fathoms. The exhibit was displayed during Baselworld 2011, which is where I was able to take photos of some of the most important and collectible timepieces.
LIP-Blancpain watches were not the first dive watches on the market when they were introduced in 1953, however, they were the most modern dive watches at that time. The reliability and compactness of Fifty Fathoms models, which were originally designed for military use, became legendary.
The reputation earned them the right to be used by armies such as French Navy, Czech, Polish, German federal, some Nordic countries, and also by the US Navy (SEAL, under water demolition team, Frogman). Blancpain created a Tribute to Fifty Fathoms timepiece, which was introduced at Baselworld 2011 (last two images in slideshow), to celebrate 55 years of the Fifty Fathoms model. All other images in this post are of beautiful, and very rare historic Blancpain dive watches (most of which have been loaned to Blancpain for this exhibit.)