The celebrations continue at Blancpain as 2023 marks 70 years of the iconic Fifty Fathoms: the brand launches a new line in the diver’s watch collection — the Fifty Fathoms Tech Gombessa. Officially named “70th Anniversary Act 2”, the timepiece honours not only the 70th Anniversary of the collection, but also the 10-year partnership with the Gombessa project, a team that carried out deep-sea research expeditions.
This launch follows the “70th Anniversary Act 1” from earlier this year: the watch (Ref. 5010A/B/C-1130-NABA) was crafted on a 40mm stainless steel case replacing the original 54mm, with a water resistance of 300 metres and a 4 day power reserve. The case also includes a helium escape valve at 10 o’clock.
The Tech Gombessa (Ref. 5019-12B30-64A) — jointly developed by Marc A. Hayek, President & CEO of Blancpain, and Laurent Ballesta, Founder, Gombessa project — makes it possible, for the first time, to measure up to three-hour immersion times. The objective of the Gombessa V and and Gombessa VI missions was to study, photograph, and present to the public information about little-known areas in the Mediterranean Sea.
Based on the same design philosophy of the 1953 Fathom collection, the Tech Gombessa has a 47mm Grade 23 titanium case and matching outer unidirectional bezel which can allow trained divers up to 3-hours underwater. The bezel has a diamond 12 o’clock marker with a 30-minute time difference.
The dial is finished on black to absorb almost 97% of light, with a combination of orange bar shaped and Arabic hour markers, and an orange minute track on the outer periphery. The sword-shaped hour, and minute hands get the same orange colouring; the 3-hour dive counter and second hand have differently-coloured lume hands.
Powering the watch is the Blancpain Calibre 13P8, an automatic movement based upon the original Calibre 1315 delivering a 120-hour power reserve. The movement is visible via an exhibition sapphire caseback, Gombessa engraved upon its skeletonised rotor. The 6 o’clock on the dial and the engraving on the outer caseback sports the word ‘Tech’ honouring Blancpain’s association. The black rubber strap is screwed to the back of the lugs with an internal titanium reinforcement finishes the watch.