We are ready to showcase our latest take on what we think is a true divers watch, that takes inspiration from the 1950s divers combined with modern watch technology. This watch is a true homage to tool watches which was an essential part of being a diver in this case. They had to rely on the watches when measuring time underwater to ensure that they had enough oxygen to continue diving.
This watch is called 1956 Marine and a tribute to this transformative era, capturing the spirit of innovation and adventure that defined the golden age of dive watches.
A Dive into the History of 1956 Marine
In 1955/56, Blancpain embarked on a historic partnership with the French Navy, known as Marine National. This collaboration marked a pivotal moment in dive watch history. It was a time when the watch world joined forces with elite underwater units, and the result was nothing short of legendary.
Blancpain's Fifty Fathoms, released in 1953, was a groundbreaking timepiece. It wasn't just another watch; it was the first purpose-built and designed dive watch ever to hit the market. As a result of this partnership, the French Combat Swimmers Corps adopted the Fifty Fathoms as their watch of choice. This collaboration became a cornerstone in the evolution of dive watches, shaping the very essence of what we recognize today.
Vintage Meets Modern Technology
When crafting the 1956 Marine, our aim was clear: to infuse the watch with vintage-inspired aesthetics without being a retro watch. We wanted to pay homage to classic details while incorporating contemporary materials and a modern perspective.
The watch features a straightforward sandwiched dial adorned with round hour markers, including our signature cut-outs at 12H and 6H. A frameless date window at 3H adds to the watch's functionality and aesthetics. The hour markers and hands are coated with white Super-LumiNova for exceptional visibility in all conditions.
The overall case design of the 1956 Marine takes inspiration from vintage divers from the 1950s and 60s. The slim and nearly straight profile of the lugs pays tribute to those iconic timepieces of yesteryears, although achieving a completely straight profile wasn't possible due to the 1956 Marine's more modern 41mm size – a choice made for optimal wearability.
The wide, flat unidirectional bezel and relatively small dial opening contribute to the watch's vintage diver appearance. Notably, a generous gap between the case and the bezel edge serves as both a nod to vintage aesthetics and a practical feature. This design element aids in gripping the finely toothed bezel, which doesn't protrude over the case.
For the first time in our watchmaking journey, we've employed a ceramic bezel inlay. This material choice adds a captivating contrast of glossiness against the entirely brushed steel case, and it brings a level of ruggedness that's virtually scratch-resistant. Ceramic is a premium material widely recognized in high-end divers, making this addition a true mark of incorporation of modern technology in a timeless design.
Last but not least, the sapphire crystal of the 1956 Marine presents a domed appearance that rises gracefully above the flat bezel. This design choice is a deliberate nod to the highly domed hesalite crystals that graced divers' watches from the 1950s and 60s, further connecting this timepiece to its storied lineage.
1956 Marine’s color palette is influenced significantly by the available ceramic bezel inlay colors. Developing a consistent color in ceramic material for production takes around two years.
We couldn't get every color, therefore we wanted a black version that makes the watch an instant classic diver watch appearance. Together with the black version, we will offer a beautiful blue colored dial and bezel that I hope you can see in these pictures. The blue color really pops in-hand, that stands a bit more out to the classic black dial and bezel.
If you're pre ordering before the 25th of October you'll get a free signature bracelet and a complimenting Cordura strap with your new 1956 Marine Automatic. The launch of these two variants will be the 11th of October, and the first batch is limited to 100 pcs. each. set your alarm and don't miss out on this release.
Exclusive Limited Edition
The last version of the 1956 Marine is a limited edition in Steel / Ceramic White, and there will only be 100 pcs produced ever. The watch comes with a white dial and white ceramic bezel, on our signature bracelet, that makes the watch stand out from the other versions and in my opinion even more clean than the other colors.
Take a look for yourself and join us celebrating these remarkable timepieces, a true reflection of the past and the future.
Sign up before the 8th. of October and you’ll get 48 hour early access to the 1956 Marine Steel / Ceramic White limited edition.