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New Horizons: The Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Tech Gombessa

New Horizons: The Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Tech Gombessa


The Fifty Fathoms collection embodies Blancpain’s passion for the underwater world, which began in 1953 with the creation of the first modern divers’ watch. With its 70-year history of Fifty Fathoms, the brand is closely aligned with the world’s explorers, photographers, oceanographers and conservationists who appreciate and protect precious underwater life. Now, the model line is heading for new horizons with the introduction of the Fifty Fathoms Tech Gombessa. The Fifty Fathoms Tech Gombessa not only features a watchmaking innovation that enables the measurement of dive times of up to three hours, but also marks the launch of a new line in Blancpain’s diving watch collection.

The launch of the timepiece commemorates the tenth anniversary of the Gombessa initiative, which Blancpain has supported as a founding partner since its inception in 2013. Laurent Ballesta’s Gombessa project focuses on exploring extreme depths with the aim of encountering some of the rarest marine life on earth. Ballesta and his team aim to acquire unique scientific data, photos and videos.

The Fifty Fathoms Tech Gombessa

Diving has changed dramatically since the introduction of the first Fifty Fathoms. While the 1953 Fifty Fathoms met the demands of the time, divers who can spend several hours underwater are redefining what is expected of a dive watch. To meet the new demands, Marc A. Hayek set to work with diver, photographer and underwater biologist Laurent Ballesta to develop a new mechanical timepiece to meet the needs of all extreme divers. The result of this work is the new Fifty Fathoms Tech Gombessa.

The case

Blancpain also ventures into new waters with the material of the case. Blancpain has only recently started using the material titanium 23, which proves extremely corrosion-resistant and lightweight. Not only in terms of the material, but also in terms of the bracelet, the manufacture presents a novelty. For the first time on a Blancpain timepiece, the Fifty Fathoms has lugs attached to the inside of the middle section with an integrated bracelet. The 47 mm diameter case is also equipped with a helium valve. Unscrewing the valve during ascent from the sea ensures that the helium that enters the watch while it is worn in a pressure chamber escapes continuously. In order not to detract from the visual composition, the notches of the helium escape valve correspond to those of the crown. The screw-in crown is surrounded by a crown protector, which is also trapezoidal to create a harmonious image with the lugs. The case is water-resistant to 30 bar (approx. 300 metres).

Turning the watch over, the wearer can admire the lower part of the case middle, which is not rounded as in other Fifty Fathoms models, but bevelled. The anthracite-coloured oscillating weight is almost completely skeletonized to allow a view into the movement. On it, Blancpain place discreetly placed logo of the Gombessa Expeditions.

The dial

One of the key elements that demonstrate the technical features of the watch is the unidirectional rotating bezel. Graduated with a 3-hour scale, the bezel is coupled with the special hand that rotates fully once every three hours and whose material and colour – a white luminescent coating that glows green in the dark – is matched to that of the bezel. Co-developed by Marc A. Hayek and Laurent Ballesta, this combination of bezel and movement is the first of its kind in the world and has been patented.

To ensure optimal readability even in the dark, the surface of the dial is coated with a new absolute black that captures approximately 97% of the light. The indexes are made of curved and luminescent block formations, in orange, with blue lume. To distinguish the time indication from the dive time, the hour and minute hands are also in orange.

The movement

Meanwhile, the heart of the Fifty Fathoms Tech Gombessa lies in the automatic movement 13P8. This innovative and powerful calibre has a power reserve of 120 hours and operates at a frequency of 4 Hz.

Price & Availability

The Fifty Fathoms Tech Gombessa comes in a special water-resistant and shock-resistant box. The special box also features bracelet extensions, a travel pouch, a magnifying glass and a set of dividers and cutting tools. The price for the novelty is 28,450 euros, and it is available now.

BRAND Blancpain
MODEL Fifty Fathoms Tech Gombessa
REFERENCE 5019-12B30-64A
CASE MATERIAL Satin-brushed titanium
DIMENSIONS Diameter: 47.00 mm
Height: 14.81 mm
WATER RESISTANCE 300 m (~30 bar)
DIAL Absolute black dial
STRAP/BRACELET Integrated black rubber strap with extension
MOVEMENT Calibre 13P8
FREQUENCY 4 Hz (28,800 vph)
FUNCTIONS 3-hour dive-time hand, Hours, Minutes, Seconds
PRICE EUR 28.450