News: Insert Rad Pun Here – The Blancpain Tribute to Fifty Fathoms No Rad
We don’t really tend to think about lume, yet it is one of the most important features on a dive watch—it allows the user to operate and read their watch when light is scarce. The earliest dive watches—like the Blancpain Fifty Fathoms—used radium to achieve luminosity. Radium, if you didn’t know, is radioactive and therefore harmful.
Being that people didn’t want to strap something potentially harmful to their wrists, companies raced to find an alternative. The substance they chose to replace radium? Tritium: a much less pernicious—but still faintly radioactive—substance.
This is where the Blancpain “No Radiation” watches come into play. Blancpain wanted customers to know that there was no radium in its watches. It didn’t go the marketing route—no, that wouldn’t be direct enough—instead, Blancpain opted to add a bright red and yellow “No Radiation” symbol to its watches.
So, why am I telling you all this? Well—if you haven’t already guessed from the title of this article—Blancpain has released this: the Tribute to Fifty Fathoms No Rad—an incredibly faithful modernisation of the watch it released to the world all those years ago.
There are two key differences between this new No Rad and the one produced in the 60s: the date at 3 and the size. This watch—much to the delight of myself and others with smaller wrists—is 40mm, 5mm smaller than the last tribute Blancpain produced and 1mm smaller than the original itself.
Despite its new size, the new No Rad is the spitting image of the original. It has the polished steel case, the 60-minute rotating dive bezel, the diamond hour marker at 12, the iconic “No Radiation” symbol near to 6 and a water-resistance of, yes, you guessed it, fifty fathoms—300m. The watch even has faux-tina applied to the hands and hour markers to mimic the ageing you might expect an original one to have—a nice little touch if you ask me.
Flipping over the new No Rad reveals the Calibre 1151, visible through a sapphire case back—a feature the original definitely didn’t have. The automatic Calibre 1151 boasts a silicon balance spring, two barrels—which help the watch to achieve its 100-hour power reserve—and beats away at 21,600 vph. The Calibre 1151 is a rugged, practical movement fit to accompany this iconic tool watch.
The Blancpain Tribute to Fifty Fathoms No Rad is a rad-iculously good-looking tribute to a watch that represents a rad-ical—okay, I’ll stop—development in watchmaking—one that stopped dive watch users becoming a knock-off Dr. Manhattan.
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Blancpain Tribute to Fifty Fathoms No Rad
Case | Stainless Steel
Dimensions | 40.3mm Diameter x 13.23mm Height
Dial | Black With "No Radiation" Symbol
Crystal | Sapphire Crystal
Water Resistance | 300m
Movement | Calibre 1151, Automatic
Frequency | 21,600 vph
Power Reserve | 100 Hours
Strap | Rubber
Functions | Seconds, Minutes, Hours, Date, 60-Minute Rotating Dive Bezel
RRP | CHF 13,200
Reference | 5008D-1130-B64A
Limited Edition | Yes, 500 Pieces