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Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Flyback Chronograph Luxury Watch Review

http://www.thewatchbox.com More than any individual, Captain Robert Malubier of the French Marine Nationale can claim to be the father of the modern sports watch, and this Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Flyback Chronograph is part of his lasting legacy to horology. As the individual tasked by naval special forces to dictate specifications of the 1953 Blancpain Fifty Fathoms tactical watch, Maloubier set in motion the events that lead to our golden era of dive watches. At the behest of his service, Maloubier laid out the basic format for the watch that became the Fifty Fathoms; automatic winding; unidirectional dive bezel, antimagnetic movement shielding; shock resistance; outstanding legibility; substantial size; extreme water resistance. Maloubier's brainchild quickly spawned a civilian counterpart and beat everything - including the 1954 Rolex Submariner - to market. In 2007, Blancpain recast its iconic dive watch in a modern luxury mold. The historic features envisioned by Captain Maloubier remain, but contemporary refinements included greater size, finishing standards, material quality, and improved watchmaking technology. As with each Blancpain Fifty Fathoms, the standout features are the dial and bezel. Working from the outside in, the sapphire-capped bezel sports a super premium aesthetic born of its unique convex cap. Few watchmakers accept the expense and difficulty of producing sapphire bezel caps, but Blancpain's effort proves that the payoff is stunning. The curved surface of the sapphire magnifies the fully-lumed black bezel (itself a rarity) in a fashion comparable to the subtle distortion of a vintage dive watch dial beneath a plexiglas crystal. It's a look that is unique in all of high horology and an unmistakable signature of a modern Blancpain Fifty Fathoms. Blancpain's dial instantly evokes its early Cold War ancestors, but the applied white gold indexes, rich black lacquer, and subtle contour lines of the inner dial disc speak to an artistic sensibility that transcends utilitarian roots. Immense broadsword hands in polished white gold feature abundant luminescence for low-light conditions. As a flyback chronograph, this Blancpain Fifty Fathoms enables the user to stop, reset, and restart the chronograph function with the push of a single button. This feature can be employed to time events that occur in rapid succession such as intervals in fast-paced sporting events, maneuvers of an aircraft, or legs of a regatta. Blacnpain's F185 movement is based on the Frederic Piguet 1185 integrated automatic chronograph. Considered to be one of the great haut-de-gamme luxury watch chronograph calibers of the last fifty years, the F. Piguet movement is thin, fine, exquisitely crafted, and shared with Audemars Piguet (Royal Oak Chronograph) and Vacheron Constantin (Overseas Chronograph). With a column wheel function selector for tactile excellence and a vertical clutch for smooth engagement of the seconds hand, the F185/F.P.1185 is the ideal power plant for Blancpain's flagship. Each Blancpain Fifty Fathoms features robust screw-secured lugs that offer far more strength than conventional spring pin strap retention. While the system costs more, the payoff is a watch that will resist even the most traumatic persuasion to "snap its strap." And you will want to keep this strap intact; Blancpain's unique “sailcloth” textile is nearly indestructible on top where durability is mandatory; the strap features a supple rubberized inner lining for smooth interaction with the wrist. For good measure, Blancpain includes a twin-trigger deployant clasp that cleverly reproduces the vintage appearance of a traditional pin buckle. Even the double-deployant twin-trigger clasp is redolent of quality. Its unique leaf spring assistance causes the deployant arms to snap open and closed with satisfying alacrity and a pronounced premium feel. The Blanpain Fifty Fathoms Flyback Chronograph is the rare classic that continues to set the pace for style, substance, and innovation within its product class. See this unique rendition of an all-time sports watch great in high-resolution images on www.thewatchbox.com. Video and content by Tim Mosso.