Last Update: 29 January 2020
The Blancpain Fifty Fathoms was notably the very first modern diver's watch made back in 1953. To date, it had been celebrated with multiple iterations of designs and innovations. Importantly, the principle distinctive characteristics of this archetypal diver’s watch remain unchanged throughout the decades.
Over the past few years, there have been various adventurous endeavours by diver's watch aficionados on recreating the Fifty Fathoms in the SEIKO watch modding community. Not only has there been success at recapturing and preserving the distinctive characteristics of the Blancpain Fifty Fathoms, the SEIKO watch modding community had also branch out to various different and unique designs.
For the fledglings, this article will not only introduce you into this world of modding excitement, but also guide you to where to source the parts and build your own Fifty Fathoms Homage.
Is it difficult to mod a timepiece? Not at all. With the correct tools and patience, it certainly is not difficult at all. Generally speaking, the toughest part of this mod would be inserting, aligning and spacing the hour, minute, seconds hands. Alternatively, you can procure all parts separately and have a mod specialist or professional watchmaker to build a complete timepiece.
Firstly, you want to look for a base watch. Any modification usually begins around a base watch. From here, you may opt to change its dial (watch face), hands (hour, minute and second hands), sapphire crystal, bezel, bezel insert, chapter ring and strap.
Two of the most popular models with similarity to Blancpain Fifty Fathoms are SEIKO 5 Sports SNZH55 (Black) and SNZH53 (Blue). These are the two most commonly use base models. There are also other variants such as SNZH57 with accent of gold and SNZH59 in stealth black.
Another retailer, The Happy Sushi , also sell their own version of Blancpain Fifty Fathoms watch case, known as 52 FF style watch case . In this case, it will just be a vanilla watch case without a movement, dial, and hands. So you will need to procure all these parts separately.
Secondly, the most crucial part of all mods would be the dial - the face of the watch that carries heavily the look and feel of a timepiece.
In our dial collections, our own iteration of the infamous Blancpain Fifty Fathoms, named The Great Fathom in limited run. Named aptly The Great because we pushed the envelope and went the extra mile to recreate the impression by sandwiching two dials into one. Furthermore, having a differently brushed effect; sunburst brushed and radiant brushed for the top dial and bottom dial, respectively.
Carrying inspiration from both Blancpain and Seiko, we further created the Save The Ocean Edition - a dial with an alluring ultramarine blue gradient yet having a distinctive characteristic of the legend.
Lastly, the hands for hour minute and second indication. One of the most commonly used style would be Blancpain's unique syringe hands - progressively wider as it distal and a red tip on the second hand.
Other less common varieties include paddle hands and pencil hands.
Of course, you are not limited to these hands. The hands selections on the aftermarket are huge. The beauty of this is the ability to choose one that resonate with what you like.
Bezels for SNZH5x models are extremely rare find or non-existent. On another hand, a few selections of bezel inserts for SNZH5x can be found on Yokobies . This no doubt can radically change the look of your build.
Now that you know where to source most of the parts, the next step is to actually piece them all together. This requires watch tools and know-hows.
The following tutorials will give you in-depth step-by-step on how to change the dial, hands, bezel inserts and sapphire crystal.
Alternatively, you can always get a SEIKO mod specialist to build you a piece.