Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Aqua Lung ‘No Radiations’
I am continually perplexed that lovers of dive watches know the Fifty but have not yet made familiar with the civilian version. Yes, there was a civilian model. The Navies of France, Germany, and the United States all used the Fifty Fathoms and in so doing made it a relatively famous and desirable tool. Blancpain produced about twenty versions of the Fifty Fathoms between introduction and the 70s. Of these, those sold under the Aqua Lung name went to civilians. However, many also received one of the most desirable dial stamps ever for those in the know.
The eye-catching radiation sign at 6 with a cross through it was meant to denote the lack of radium and, hence, and radioactive material. See, it was at this time that Rolex had made famous through their 6542 GMT that having a freshly applied radioactive substance on wrist at all times might not be the best idea. Yet, Blancpain were still using radium in some of their military-issued wristwatches as the glow was stronger. So, to delineate the two (and eventually the military switched as well), this signature was created to instill public confidence.
I quite like the blatant attempt to shout, ‘hey everyone, we won’t kill you, we promise!’ right on the dial. The rest of the watch is equally bewitching and quirky. Its case is a svelte 35mm with a thin rise. The bakelite bezel is a hallmark we all love from an era long forgotten. Interestingly, these civilian models often included a date window which was quite an advanced blend of sport and practicality for its era. A different era it was, one with some beautiful legacy.
This example is strong overall. The case is full, with what appear to be fully factory lines. Light surface wear is visible through the steel but nothing worth noting. All tritium applications have aged to a light orange tone, very gorgeous and even. The dial is undegraded. Often, these watches were actually used as diving tools for the public. This one appears to have gotten off light as its condition is well above average. As ever, please do all your own research as these can be tricky. It comes recently serviced from a well-regarded eBay seller with 100% feedback.
Find this Fifty Fathoms here from @uptownwatchesllc on Instagram for 29500 USD.