Just in time for Halloween, Spinnaker Watches has teamed up with one of the most in-demand collaborators around: seconde/seconde/ aka Romaric André. seconde/seconde/ seems to be everywhere, working on quartz affordables and Swiss luxury timepieces alike, always putting a fresh and humorous spin on the watches we love to cherish. In collaborating with Spinnaker, André has a bit of fun with the iconic Blancpain Fifty Fathoms, turning Spinnaker’s classic Fleuss dive model into a spooky pastiche of the former. The Spinnaker Fleuss Automatic seconde/seconde/ Fifty Phantoms builds on the already solid Fleuss and gives it a bit of levity for the trick-or-treat holiday.
seconde/seconde/ got his start making custom watch hands for Rolexes, which one could purchase and have swapped out; think swords, mouse pointers, and hourglasses. But it wasn’t long before brands were knocking on his door to create send-ups of their models. Early on, it was a hand here and there, but then it was rethinking entire dials. He’s collaborated with brands like Isotope, Nivada Grenchen, Louis Erard, and Sequent, to name just a few. While every resulting watch has been good for at least a quick laugh, in handling the Spinnaker Fleuss seconde/seconde/ Fifty Phantoms, I felt it was a more complete effort that may be one of his best yet.
The Spinnaker Fleuss seconde/seconde/ Fifty Phantoms uses the Fleuss dive as its base, which features a 43mm case that measures 12mm thick with its sapphire crystal. On the wrist, the curve of the 52mm lug-to-lug case lets it wear better than you’d expect, and the fun of the dial had me ignoring any size issues that might have been present. It’s made of stainless steel and features mostly brushed finishing with polishing on the chamfers and on the jumbo-sized crown, which offers excellent grip and operability. The crown isn’t part of the typical setup but is rather borrowed from the sold-out Fleuss Marlborough LE, and appropriately gives the Fifty Phantoms a more vintage look. The acrylic bezel is lumed, with 5-minute markings, and I found the tension just a bit tight given the shallow grooving used for the grip (a tricky balance, for sure), though it was still usable. Of note, there is a second model with a grey bezel that I didn’t get a chance to handle, but wouldn’t be my preference anyhow as it appears to be slightly less legible due to the lower contrast of the markings. The case is water resistant to 150m and is paired with a two-stitch black leather strap that is suitable to the watch and adds a bit of fun with lumed thread. The watch also comes with a black rubber tropic strap.
Let’s talk about ghosts and humor! Atop the pebbled black dial sit fifty phantoms (yes, I counted to confirm): overlapping, floating ghosts filled with two shades of Super-LumiNova for a fun spectacle in the light or dark. There’s a randomness to the plotting of the ghosts that makes it seem like they may just be passing through the dial, on their way to some haunting conference or something. Even without the lume, I found them to be utterly charming. They make room for most of the Spinnaker name and a cheeky “50 Phantoms” up top and an even cheekier “NO FEET” below. Despite the apparent clutter created by the apparitions, legibility doesn’t suffer. I chalk this up to the use of the Old Radium lume on the hands and applied indices, the creamy tone of which stands out against the white specters.
The rest of the dial is fairly straightforward. Once again, the Spinnaker Fleuss seconde/seconde/ Fifty Phantoms borrows from the Fleuss Marlborough LE, though ditches the open dial and date. Like the Marlborough, it takes the hallmark arrowhead 12 o’clock marker from vintage Fifty Fathoms and uses them at each cardinal hour, while using large round plots elsewhere. A simple white-on-black chapter ring surrounds the dial. Altogether, I found it a surprisingly clean and legible offering for being overrun by a horde of marauding spirits. One of the nice things about the number of ghosts is that you can almost ignore them if you want, and that’s why I feel this is such a success. Most of seconde/seconde/’s collaborations see bold, standout additions and modifications to dials, things that scream at you and can’t be overlooked. The mass of ghosts on the Fifty Phantoms nearly makes a pattern of itself, allowing the wearer to enjoy the dial and watch without necessarily being forced to acknowledge the design with every glance at the watch.
One final treat (or is it a trick?) awaited me on the movement side. A custom rotor has been fitted on the Seiko NH38 movement, with one final ghost to rule over them all, fully lumed just for fun. The movement choice is particular to this model as all other Fleuss’ have date displays. It has a 41-hour power reserve at 21,600 vph, plus hacking and bidirectional winding (unlike the alternative Miyota 9039, which often gets criticized for its whirring rotor).
I give a full bravo to this one. The sea of ghosts on the dial and its two-tone lume scheme makes for an undeniably fun watch that wears well enough and doesn’t make any significant sacrifices in the name of its design. On top of that, it’s an affordable way for people to get both a solid watch and a seconde/seconde/ design. The Spinnaker Fleuss seconde/seconde/ Fifty Phantoms is priced at $445 USD and limited to 670 pieces, delivered in a specially design box. For more information, please visit the Spinnaker website.