Blancpain Fifty Fathoms BUND 1976



Rare Blancpain Fifty Fathoms “BUND”. Wristwatch manufactured for the German Navy combat divers in 1976. The case back is stamped with issue number 6645-12-171-4162. The watch has strong steel case and an thick mineral glass crystal. The bezel is a simple steel-framed model with an acrylic insert and a tritium triangle marker. Original black dial with red 3H inscription (hydrogen-3 a.k.a. tritium). Original hands. The minute hand is traditionally red, but has now aged to a yellow color.

The watch houses a tested and well-functioning Rayville RPGA 3BW (Eta CD 2873) automatic movement. The case has a screwdown crown, and the watch is still waterproof (tested at +10/-0.7bar).  The diameter of the case is 41mm. The watch has fixed lugs for attaching the case to the strap. The watch is available with either a NATO strap or a rubber strap attached with heavy-duty spring bars. We also have other strap options available.

The watch has a 12-month service guarantee.

This watch was custom-designed for the West German Navy combat divers (Bundeswehr Kampfschwimmers). In the early 1970s, the combat divers had switched to closed circuit rebreather scuba systems and needed a watch that could be used for longer dives. The watches were manufactured by Rayville SA, Montres Blancpain, Villeret, in 1976. As per order RPGA3 BW by the German Armed Forces, the watches have a simple bezel that contains only a tritium triangle to mark the time elapsed. The dives could last for several hours, so the old-fashioned 0–60 dive time markings were no longer useful. These watches were only used at normal dive depths for combat dives and demining missions, so the case needed to withstand only a pressure of 10bar (100 m). The cases were manufactured by Von Buren (Squale), and the same cases were also used by other watch brands, tested up to 1000 m. The automatic movement of the watch needed to be shock-resistant with a power reserve of 36 hours. The movement was supplied by ETA, and the model used was CD 2873 with 25 jewels.

Source: Konrad Knirim, Military Timepieces, 150 years of Watches and Clocks of German Forces.