Bronze Gold: Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Act 3 Debuts in Cannes

The Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Act 3 was recently shown in Cannes, France, marking the end of a year-long celebration for the first-ever true dive watch. Before this reveal, there was much anticipation, especially after Blancpain shared some hints that were a bit tricky to decipher (mentioning a type of metal that didn’t give away much). The watch itself is a 41.3mm dive watch without a date function; instead, the 6 o’clock position has a mark to check for water-resistance, like the military watches from the 1960s.

The size of this watch is similar to the 1953 Fifty Fathoms, but there’s debate about the specific model it takes inspiration from. Some experts suggest 1967, while Blancpain mentions a 1964 model. However, this Final Fathoms watch is a unique new creation. It’s not overly complicated, but it does feature an upgraded movement, and the case is made of a special material called bronze gold.

Bronze gold, which we saw in an Omega watch last year, is now used by Blancpain. This seems like a fair exchange of knowledge since Blancpain contributed to Omega’s innovative Chrono Chime. Visually, the Fifty Fathoms Act 3 aims to capture a vintage style, typical of bronze watches. However, this isn’t your ordinary bronze; it contains 37.5% gold, with copper as the main component (50%). The rest is made up of silver, palladium, and gallium.

If you plan to wear this limited-edition watch (only 555 pieces worldwide), expect some patina to develop over time, but not as much as standard bronze. Blancpain assures that it can be worn against the skin, and there may be minor differences in the bronze gold used compared to Omega’s. It appears that Blancpain will have exclusive rights to bronze gold for a while, but this is based on unconfirmed remarks from Blancpain representatives, so it’s worth asking them for more details if you’re interested.

As for the choice of 555 pieces, it’s linked to a reference from Shakespeare’s “The Tempest,” where the name “Fifty Fathoms” originated in 1953. Now, some folks might wonder why there will be more Act 3 watches than Act 1 pieces, but that’s a different matter.

Regarding the Fifty Fathoms as a whole, there’s some ongoing discussion and controversy, but that doesn’t really relate to the Final Fathoms model. What’s important here is the unique case material and design characteristics. The case and lug shape is new, although it’s still a round watch.

If you’re used to wearing a 42mm watch without overhang, you might find the Final Fathoms a bit challenging. The watch has an exhibition caseback that reveals a new movement for Blancpain, the calibre 1154.P2, featuring a silicon hairspring escapement and an antimagnetic escape wheel. This movement is designed to withstand 1,000 Gauss without the need for a soft iron inner case. It offers an impressive 100 hours of power reserve.

The Final Fathoms’ price of S$44,800 might be a disappointment to some, but given its uniqueness and importance to Blancpain, demand is expected to be high, and the price may not be a significant concern for most collectors.