BLANCPAIN Barakuda Military Diver 1960s
Year: Circa 1968
Movement No: on request
Case No: 207'679
Model Name: Fifty Fathoms "Barakuda"
Material: Stainless steel
Calibre: Automatic, cal. AS 1902/03, 17 jewels
Bracelet/Strap: textil strap
Dimensions: 41mm Diameter
Signed: Case, dial and movement signed, outside caseback engraved with military number MW 7359
Wow! What a watch! The German Navy acquired a special model of the Blancpain’s Fifty Fathoms, featuring two-tone markers, through the aquatic supplier Barakuda (the spelling "Barracuda" seems to be used when referring to the watch is not right). While the watch was initially issued to the military, it was eventually retailed to the civilian world as well. Production numbers aren’t verified, but it’s widely believed there are about 150 of these watches. The Barakuda is characterized by its two-tone markers. The pop of red at the base of the hour markers injects a serious dose of funk into a watch that’s otherwise intentionally monochromatic, and that touch of red, along with the military provenance, have made this a very prized watch among Fifty Fathoms collectors.
The Fifty Fathoms model is perhaps the most iconic military dive watch in history. Designed by Captain Robert Maloubier and Lieutenant Claude Riffaud at the beginning of the 1950s to respond to the need of the French Navy’s combat swimmers corps, the watch was produced by Blancpain, who’s former CEO, Mr Jean-Jacques Fiechter was himself a passionate diver. The model name derives from the watch's waterproof ability: it can be submerged up to Fifty Fathoms, or 91.45 meters underwater.
Since the release of the Fifty Fathoms, Blancpain has launched a variety of versions. While the first models were made for military use, others were issued to the civilian market. The Barracuda model was originally issued to the American, German and Polish military. It is distinguished by its bicolor square indexes, which this model is best known for.
The present watch displays a clear hand-engraved “MW”, which indicates the watch was delivered to the Polish navy. This information has also been confirmed by Blancpain. The dial and the case are preserved in excellent condition with the bezel free of any visible cracks. The tritium on the dial and bezel still glows under a black light. This military watch is a real treasure to collector seeking for an issued watch that survived in superb condition.
Why buying a vintage watch?
There are many great reasons to buy a vintage watch. Every watch we sell here at WRISTCLASSICS has its own story. Over the years, with every scratch, dent and aging of the dial, they have become unique timepieces of their own. This exact watch you are looking at now, once brought a lot of joy to the first owner with the purchase years ago. And now many years later this vintage watch will bring the same joy to your life. With buying a vintage watch you are showing your commitment to protecting the enviroment, instead of supporting the mass production of modern fashion watches.
I hope this helps you with your decision of buying a vintage watch here at WRISTCLASSICS.