Blancpain Fifty Fathoms 70th Anniversary Tech Gombessa Revealed

by Chamath Gamage

Blancpain continued their celebrations for the 70th Anniversary of Fifty Fathoms, which saw a new chapter being opened for their diver’s model range. The Fifty Fathoms Tech Gombessa was designed and created to meet the technical diving requirements of the modern age. This all-new timepiece features an innovative technology that was created in a joint partnership between Marc A. Hayek, President & CEO of Blancpain, and Laurent Ballesta, founder of the Gombessa project.

The release of this timepiece is quite timely, too, as it celebrates not only the 70th anniversary of Fifty Fathoms but also the 10th anniversary of Gombessa. Blancpain is one of the founding partners of the Gombessa initiative that was created back in 2013.

The first Fifty Fathoms timepiece was born seventy years ago, and over the years has become an icon of modern diving watches. Blancpain’s 1953 Fifty Fathoms timepiece, created by Jean-Jacques Fiechter (then CEO of Blancpain) met all the requirements that he wanted from a diving watch at that time. Now, however, as modern diving has greatly evolved, so do the instruments that accompany the diver. The divers that are now spending several hours underwater require a timepiece that can match this task. This is where Blancpain and Gombessa come in, innovating an instrument named “Tech Gombessa” that can measure the duration of a dive for up to three-hour immersion times.

This latest Fifty Fathoms Tech Gombessa comes in a 300m water-resistant (30 bar) grade 23 titanium 47mm case, which was only recently introduced into the brand’s collections. This particular grade of titanium was chosen because it is distinguished by exceptional strength and anti-allergenic properties, while also being very light. Even though it’s 47mm in size, the case material makes the watch comfortable to wear with almost a bearly on-the-wrist feel. As standard with all Fifty Fathoms watches, the case comes with a screw-down crown with a surrounding crown guard. This guard has a new-trapeze shape compared to previous models, so that it has visual consistency with the shape of the lugs. The case also features a helium valve located at the 10 0’clock position.

The Tech Gombessa instrument utilizes two key elements from the watch; the bezel and the movement. The uni-directional rotating bezel with black ceramic inlay has a three-hour scale. There is a special hand on the dial that completes one full turn in three hours. This measurement scale is a world-first and is patent pending.

To indicate the hand’s reference to the bezel markings, the hand has the same white luminescent with green emission as the bezel scale. The bezel was also designed to endow a stronger curve and be more tilted towards the dial.

The dial on the Fifty Fathoms Tech Gambossa is also optimised for best readability. To ensure this enhanced readability, the dial comes with a new finish; absolute black. Absolute black is able to capture almost 97% of light, which means that anything that accompanies the dial will stand out almost immediately. This is exactly the case with the Fifty Fathoms Tech Gombessa. The hour indices which are block-shaped appliques and the hour and minute hands have orange luminescent with blue emission. The contrast between this absolute black dial and the orange is crystal clear.

Blancpain has given this latest Fifty Fathoms timepiece the 13P8 self-winding movement. This movement was chosen due to its simplistic nature as it doesn’t even feature a date wheel. Blancpain opted to stay away from a date window on the dial as they thought it would make it too cluttered. The watch does come with an open-case back, which allows the wearer to see not only the movement but also the anthracite-colored oscillating rotor with the stamped Gombessa Expeditions logo.

The Fifty Fathoms Tech Gombessa comes with a black rubber strap that is screwed to the back of the lugs to ensure it won’t come undone during the pressurised deep dives. The rubber strap comes with an internal titanium reinforcement that guarantees long-term shape, while also featuring an extension so that the watch can be safely worn over a tech-diving suit.

Intended to meet the needs of all extreme divers, starting with the members of the Gombessa Expeditions whose research work involves long-duration deep dives, the Fifty Fathoms Tech Gombessa was born. Now, this timepiece has been adopted as the official timepiece of the Gombessa Expeditions. The creation of the Fifty Fathoms Tech Gombessa is also the start of a new collection of watches for Blancpain, named the Fifty Fathoms Tech collection.

Reference:  5019-12B30-64A


  • Case: 47 mm and 14.81mm in thickness
  • Case Material: Satin-brushed Grade 23 Titanium
  • Dial: “Absolute Black”
  • Crystal: Anti-reflective Sapphire crystal
  • Water resistance: 30 Bar (300m)
  • Movement: 13P8
  • Power reserve: 5-days (120 hours)
  • Bracelet/Strap: Integrated rubber strap with included dive extension

Australian Recommended Retail Price: AUD 38,900

Availability: Late 2023 release

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