In the immortal words of esteemed 1970s rock band Heart, “Ooooooh Barracuda!” Among Blancpain’s pantheon of iconic, original Fifty Fathoms variants, none seems safe from the proverbial Swatch Group refresh. Normally, I roll my eyes at these cash-grabs. However, on rare occasion, my eyes roll for a millisecond before reshaping into the heart-eye emoji thing. The Fifty Fathoms Barakuda reissue of 2019 was just such an occasion.
The Barakuda was a variation of the Fifty Fathoms issued to the Bundesmarine, or German Navy. It is believed that of the original run of watches, no more than 150 survive. Barakuda were a German diving firm who supplied specialized diving parts for Blancpain with this bright heavily-lumed two-tone indices. The red accent in the dial’s base was intended to contrast and provide legibility at depth in an era where that was necessity.
This tribute changes very little of that original formula. For starters, it’s based on the modern Fifty with its marvelous calibre 1151, an advertisement for Blancpains’ exceptional haute horlogerie roots. Look, if you’re going to vote with your bank account in favor of a faceless corporation’s production, you may as well get something remarkably beautiful and well-constructed. Blancpain are milking their history to the nth degree. But they somehow still get away with it unscathed, making something I find quite desirable in the process.
This example comes lightly worn with little wear across all surfaces. The original bracelet and buckle are included. It comes with a full set from a well-regarded retailer.
Find this Barakuda here from 41 Watch for 21500 USD.