Originally introduced in 2007 at the time when Blancpain launched the contemporary Fifty Fathoms collection, the Fifty Fathoms Tourbillon 8 Jours is more of a symbol of horological expertise than a tool for hard and abusive use, but of course, no one in their right mind would advocate this watch as a beater. Well, you might beat the on-trend watch buyer with this, particularly those who just would not understand how a tourbillon finds its way into a dive watch.
The Tourbillon 8 Jours is a manifestation of style, possibilities, and sophistication. If you want to own just one Blancpain watch, and you would like it to be a complicated one (and you also wish for it to be a Fifty Fathoms), then you need not look further. If you also want to lord it over the heaving masses, obsessed with certain makes of dive watches, the Tourbillon 8 Jours is also perfect.
For 2022, Blancpain presents two new versions of the Fifty Fathoms Tourbillon 8 Jours watch in red gold and in titanium. The case measures 45mm in diameter and is appropriately given a satin finish; this is typical for the Fifty Fathoms collection, which requires impressive wrists for best results. Unusually, both models share the same deep blue dial with a sunburst finish whose aura serves to highlight the splendid flying tourbillon at the 12 o’clock position.
That flying tourbillon is idiosyncratic to a tee, having no official business being in a dive watch. Of course, the contemporary dive watch is far more than its humble tool watch origins suggest. It certainly helps that Blancpain is a pioneer in dive watches itself, with the Fifty Fathoms model being based off the original 1953 model that brought the unidirectional bezel to watchmaking. No other manufacturer could produce dive watches with grand complications in quite the way that Blancpain can. It is a point of pride encapsulated in this watch — and beaten only by Blancpain’s own Aqualung minute repeater, but that is a story for another time.
Make no mistake though, the Tourbillon 8 Jours is a proper dive watch, being water-resistant to 300 metres and everything. It also has a full eight days of power reserve, which does make the watch a paragon of reliability and resilience, but altogether too beautiful for those words. The proof is in the movement, visible via the exhibition case back. The self-winding Calibre 25C with a gold rotor displays all the hallmarks of hand-finishing; maybe this watch really is for the dive watch collector on the lookout for the most beautiful example he can find.
Movement: Automatic calibre 25C with flying tourbillon; 192-hour power reserve
Case: 45mm in rose gold and titanium; water-resistant to 300m
Strap: Blue sailcoth, blue NATO or bracelet (titanium only)
Price: From CHF111,400 in titanium
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