Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Automatique 5015 Watch Review

Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Automatique 5015 Watch Review

Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Automatique 5015 Watch Review   wrist time watch reviews

Years ago when I first got into timepieces I stumbled upon a previous generation Blancpain Fifty Fathoms watch and fell in love it with. It remained an idle love for quite a while and eventually Blancpain decided to release a brand new version of its base Fifty Fathoms Automatique which has remained the cornerstone of its sporty dive watch collection ever since. I now have the pleasure of offering a hands-on review of a deliciously designed Swiss diver with a great design, great character, and matching "great" price.

You aren't the first person to notice that indeed this watch is water resistant to more than 50 fathoms. The Fifty Fathoms name is derived from the original version of this watch that dates back to the middle of the 20th century during the great dive watch race among major watch makers of that era. Brands such as Rolex and Blancpain pushed the limits of the then available technology to equip those engaged with the emerging world of SCUBA and other sport diving. It was in the 1950s that the modern dive watch was born - a timepiece designed for professional use, but also suitable (and available) for hobbyists. In fact, if you think about it, the dive watch is a unique creature because it is among the few items originally designed as a professional instrument that transcended into one's normal life without undergoing any real changes. It would be like someone wearing a construction yard hardhat out on the town - and while it didn't work with most things, it did with diving watches.

Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Automatique 5015 Watch Review   wrist time watch reviews

The newest generation Fifty Fathoms is no longer new, but it does represent a beautiful timeless design. Even when Blancpain updates this watch again, the "5015" generation Fifty Fathoms will still remain a beautiful item. It was released when large timepieces were still all the rage, and just before most dive watches began to use ceramic bezel inserts. Having said that, the rotating bezel insert is still very durable because it is made of sapphire crystal.

When the 5015 Fifty Fathoms was released it was very impressive to have an all-sapphire crystal bezel. What is more impressive is how it is shaped. Having a flat sapphire crystal bezel isn't that big of a deal, but having one that is curved requires a much more sophisticated and time consuming machining process. Under the sapphire crystal is a vintage-styled timing bezel design that has become a symbol of how minimalistic design translates well into dive watches. I should also note for those who don't know, sapphire crystal is very durable so it makes the bezel virtually scratch-proof. The bezel numerals are further produced in SuperLumiNova. So even though ceramic bezels are bit more modern, the bezel on this Fifty Fathoms is more expensive to produce, and very beautiful in its own right. I consider it among the nicest high-end dive watch bezels available.

Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Automatique 5015 Watch Review   wrist time watch reviews

Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Automatique 5015 Watch Review   wrist time watch reviews

Don't ask why but unfortunately we weren't able to get a lume-shot of the Fifty Fathoms in the dark. Worry not because the luminant is excellent. Applied to the hands (even the seconds hand), hour markers, and the bezel, the C3 (green) SuperLumiNova is generously applied and makes for among the brightest dials you'll see after it has been charged by light. It is really the icing on a very nice dial cake. But seriously, even though the Fifty Fathoms dial may not be as widely recognizable as that of a Submariner, in my opinion it is every bit as classic because it combines good looks and effortless legibility.

50 fathoms is actually 100 meters (exactly 300 feet). This Fifty Fathoms was is water resistant to 300 meters, which is closer to 1000 feet. Clearly Blancpain has improved its cases over the last 60 or so years. Even though this is a timepiece with a high level of pedigree, it is still very much a professional dive watch in theme. The supremely clean dial even incorporates a date window between 4 and 5 o'clock that does not disrupt the hour markers and is put on a black disc. What really makes the dial feel good is the high-quality parts and finishing that Blancpain uses. I will go even further to suggest that this timepiece is a good example of how quality components can make something otherwise simple great. Let's face it, the overall design of the Fifty Fathoms - while highly refined - is quite simple. What really makes it feel like a high-end item are the materials and components. And without those components and level of refinement most luxury products would lose that which makes them so desirable to the sophisticated consumer.

Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Automatique 5015 Watch Review   wrist time watch reviews

47 comments
Pamy104
Pamy104

Unfortunately, this watch is anything but quality. In 6 months I have owned it its been in service half the time. Two broken bezels, common problem they dont address. Broken screw for changing strap that takes 4 weeks to get. This watch is incredibly fragile.

hobtests
hobtests

Little correction. 50 fathoms is exactly 91.44 meters not 100

JeffJenkins
JeffJenkins

I care not what others may think, the BPFF in all it's incarnations is the most beautiful dive watch of all time.

marbstiu
marbstiu

ill get laid more if i wore this! 

Superstition
Superstition

The Fifty Fathoms was one of my grail watches, until I tried it on in person.  I'm not a big person by any means but the 45mm was essentially a rock on my wrist. I still love this watch, but I wish it came in a 40mm, I would own one easily at that point.

Piero
Piero

It is definitely one of my grail watches. I specially like the sapphire bezel, the lume (on the bezel too!), the date in the same color of the dial... Only the back is disappointing, but i see that there is a special edition with transparent case back.

MikeinFrankfurt
MikeinFrankfurt

I really vacillate on whether I like or desire this watch; it's a classic which makes me say yes but the price and especially the price are negatives IMO.  The pictures in this article are fantastic and the bezel is something to behold in person.  One thing that these great pictures showed me is the "embossed" Blancpain on the side of the case.  This really seems a bit cheesy on an otherwise cleanly designed and purposeful watch.  Plus, the name is on the dial!

Also, I agree with one other commenter that it should come with a steel bracelet at this price...and the strap as well!

D S Vilhena
D S Vilhena

What a beautiful and timeless watch!


But with such polishing, the only diving it would do with me would be into my fish tank. If only I had one ;)

extelee
extelee

I am fortunate  to own both the s/s and rose FF in the chronograph. The s/s is my daily work horse watch (for two years now) and I just love it. It goes everywhere with me and that includes the gym and riding the mountain bike. It is is my humble opinion the best high end sports watch one can own without looking bling. And let me tell you - the lume is the best i have ever come across. Perfect for checking the time when you wake up in middle of the night.

BIGCHRONO
BIGCHRONO

For these shekels, a stainless steel bracelet should be standard.

ScottinArizona
ScottinArizona

I have tried this one on the wrist  a couple of times.  The only reason I haven't owned one is the price.  I don't think you can appreciate the finish and beautiful execution of the piece without seeing it "in the metal".  It is truly special, and while technically a 'dive watch' this model is clearly more than that.  It's one of the few "larger than life" pieces I have worn.

DangerussArt
DangerussArt

I'm sure it's just me, but these bezels have always brought to mind the gloss black bakelite toilet seats you'd seen in airports some time ago. Thus I've never been much of a fan.

nealdives
nealdives

Absolutely love this diver but I would never bring it diving with me. Great polished finish and I love the bezel. One of my favorites.

Ryan B
Ryan B

Lugs are too straight, they need a little curve in them.

Tourbillion87
Tourbillion87

Beautiful watch! I wish the case had a brushed finish.

SuperStrapper
SuperStrapper

It is really nice, but I'm not once of the FF gushers - I'm sure there are people cuddling a photo of this when they sleep at night, it does have a strong following. 


I have a hard time with a 'spot' watch that is 100% polished - and the polishing here looks immaculate - looking at it the wrong way probably puts a swirlie on it somewhere. 


Caseback is disappointment sauce. Too... basic. 

Fraser Petrick
Fraser Petrick

How many people wear a $15,000 watch scuba diving? Maybe to the swim-up bar at the resort, but 300 feet underwater....?

Panagiotis
Panagiotis

Thumbs up for the photos--this is a notoriously difficult watch to photograph==a friend of mine who owns the watch cannot keep it in focus and it comes out all blurry in his photos ;) I think he reads this blog actually :p


On a side note--it COULD be a little smaller as I think it would make it easier to wear and more versatile. But this is a watch lover's watch for sure...

DG Cayse
DG Cayse

Great review Mr. Adams of a truly outstanding watch.

This is probably a "Grail" watch for me. As you mentioned, it is a matter of simplicity.

Simply excellent design. Not flashy or overstated.

Simply excellent parts and manufacture. The best materials used intelligently.

A simply excellent watch. It is indeed, the sum total of its parts.


Curves like a womans hips. Dark and relective like her eyes. Strong, sexy and timeless.

Whats not to love?

MarkCarson
MarkCarson

50 fathoms = 300 feet (not 100). No matter, it is a cool sounding name even though its water resistance is far greater these days. I really love the FF bathyscaphe, but the sapphire bezel on this 'full size' FF is the bomb. As far as I'm concerned, this beats to death ceramic bezels which typically have just a single lumed pip.

MarkCarson
MarkCarson

@hobtests Yeah but "The Blancpain Fifty-Four Point Sixty-Eight Fathoms" does not work very well as a model name (assuming the watch was originally good for 100 meters of water resistance), ha ha. Well at least 50 fathoms does equal 300 feet. Cheers.

MarkCarson
MarkCarson

@marbstiu I checked with my wife just now (showed her the photo of the FF) and she assured me that I would NOT get laid more if I wore it. Sure I'm crushed. But even more so by wondering if the problem is the watch or me...

Statick
Statick

@Superstition  Have you tried the Bathyscaphe? That is also quite the piece. I'm currently in between getting one of those or a Jaeger LeCoultre Master Compressor Navy Seals Diving Automatic, it's not too easy of a decision.

Heysteria
Heysteria

@extelee  I owe a s/s version and it's the watch in my collection with the most bling.

I get the most reaction of women, liking this watch.

Panagiotis
Panagiotis

@ScottinArizona  Hey there Scott, greetings from a former Tempe rez :) I agree with what you say and I think that, above all, this is a watch that gets you the "slow silent nod" from those in the know...No words need be exchanged.


It also gets you a nice pat on the back from your friendly neighborhood oligarch, You know--the nice one with the non-threatening private army.

Zeitblom
Zeitblom

@DangerussArt You are far indeed from being alone. I thought exactly the same thing and I have heard of others saying it too......

Thanatos42
Thanatos42

@MarkCarson  Well, sapphire is technically a ceramic, but I know what you mean.

I'm a little surprised that so few watch makers are working with the metal infused ceramics.  I think just Hublot and Chanel.  Not sure what Rado is doing.  Seems most of their silver-colored materials are SS.

DG Cayse
DG Cayse

@MarkCarson @marbstiuWell said Mr. Carson. I did a very early post referring to the perceived sensuality of the FF timepiece. Unfortunately, it does not appear to have survived review.

As we all know, a display on the wrist is merely an assist to snappy chatter and a senserie demeanor when dealing in matter of amour.

Fraser Petrick
Fraser Petrick

@Frauss @Fraser Petrick I do. And my $20,000 and my $30,000 and my  $110,000 watche(s) when I'm at The Club in the city.  When I'm with "the people" I wear my Timex Expedition to show that I am still one of them. Wealth is a burden, you know, always switching watches. I depend on Carson (of Downton Abbey, of course, not that dreadful Hawaiian) to keep me straight.

MarkCarson
MarkCarson

@DG Cayse Yes of course. My wife and I snap at each other all of the time. And hence my love life (or dearth thereof). Cheers

Thanatos42
Thanatos42

@MarkCarson Ack, silly Android device choked on this page.  I'll try again with this proper computer.

I was referring to the processes where metal is included in the matrix either before sintering (like Chanel's Chromatic) or is diffused under heat and pressure into the sintered piece (like Hublot's Magic Gold).  Rado seems to use a plasma surface treatment to achieve the desired colour.
As for Omega's liquid metal infused bezel, I would guess that the high temperatures required to flow into the markings would be the biggest hurdle. Omega's literature seems to say that it is squeezed into the finished bezel somehow.  The advantage of liquid metal there (aka bulk amorphous solid) is that it does not shrink much when it cools. 

MarkCarson
MarkCarson

@Thanatos42 Well, to get picky about it, sapphire is always a crystal while ceramics may or may not have a crystalline structure. More to the point, ceramics are created by the action of heat and subsequent cooling which does not necessarily create a single crystalline structure. And yeah, I know that heated materials are used in creating synthetic sapphire boules. But the process for a typical 'ceramic' is very different from creating sapphires or rubies (which don't shrink during creation).

I think the trick is using 'liquid metal' for bezels is that ceramics shrink quite a bit during the firing/cooling cycle. I'm not sure if one metal versus another is harder to use with a ceramic bezel. 

Thanks for your post. Cheers.

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