Hands-on with the Fifty Fathoms Tech Gombessa

Feb 16, 2023,15:58 PM

Alongside the preview for Act 2 of the Fifty Fathoms 70th Anniversary lineup I had the chance to get up close and personal with this all new Blancpain Fifty Fathoms in the Munich Boutique.

The Tech Gombessa ref 5019-12B30-64A was developed in cooperation with Laurent Ballesta to support long time dives with closed circuit systems. To also support saturation dives it is equipped with a helium escape valve.

The all new case is made from titanium grade 23, it measures 47mm in diameter and a little less than 15mm in height.

The bezel has a ceramic insert with a 3 hour indication which corresponds to a fourth hand. More about that later. Let’s concentrate on the shapes first: the convex bezel insert tilts towards the dial, which creates an entirely new look for a Fifty Fathoms.

The case shapes are not as rounded as we are used to, the center lugs are a new look for a Blancpain dive watch and the design of the crown guards is perfectly aligned to the new design language.

The „absolute black“ dial absorbs close to 97% of the light. Big Luminova blocks are used for the hour markers, executed in bright orange. The dive timing hand, the bezel markings and the center seconds carry Luminova in natural color for better differentiation.

The fourth hand is coupled to the hour hand, but it runs at four times higher speed, making one full turn in 3 hours. To time a dive, the bezel is aligned to the current position of the fourth hand.

In total darkness (here the watch was lumed only for a few seconds so the emission is not necessary at full power) we see that the time related indications glow in subdued blue while the dive timing and the seconds hand glow in bright green.

When worn over a dive suit the strap extension comes into play. Its shape at the end makes sure the connection between both straps via tang buckle can’t fail.

Here you see the 47mm Tech Gombessa on my small 16.5cm wrist and it is obvious that despite the center lugs the curving of the strap makes it a bit to large for me.

Here it is on a 17.5cm wrist, and the fit is excellent. Actually the watch wears like a 43/44mm watch, albeit more comfortable.

Finally, here’s the packaging of the Tech Gombessa: a huge PeliCase, holding (other than the watch) a special watch stand, the strap extension, a travel case, a loupe and the booklet.

I hope you enjoyed these hands-on impressions.


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 By: fmc000 : February 17th, 2023-10:01
Exactly! The official pics are a bit boring IMHO.


 By: amanico : February 17th, 2023-13:46

Cool photos! I'd lose the "tech" on the dial.

 By: patrick_y : February 16th, 2023-16:22
But other than that, this is a great watch!

Yes. Agreed.

 By: amanico : February 16th, 2023-16:24

Also, the watch has no lugs!

 By: patrick_y : February 16th, 2023-16:28
The strap connects to the case in a way that doesn't show traditional lugs. It's a very innovative design.

Yes, indeed.

 By: amanico : February 16th, 2023-16:33

I like that a lot!

 By: InHavenPro : February 16th, 2023-18:30

Me too!

 By: patrick_y : February 16th, 2023-19:58
Should be easier for those with smaller wrists to wear this chunky monster of a watch too! It doesn't look as big as I would've expected on Shortys home's 16.5cm wrist.

I see.

 By: patrick_y : February 16th, 2023-20:18
It's not ideal, but, still better than the normal design with lugs.

Another cool wristshot!

 By: amanico : February 16th, 2023-22:14

 By: fmc000 : February 17th, 2023-10:02
Indeed it looks like an amazing fit. Thank you very much for all the pics.

Thanks for the report

 By: Brandon Skinner : February 16th, 2023-17:06
I like the idea of the fast running 4th hand, makes so much more sense than a chronograph.

Beautiful dive watch.

 By: InHavenPro : February 16th, 2023-18:33
Expertly crafted and designed. I love the contrast between the VantaBlack dial and the orange numerals and hour markers, as well as the two-tone luminova of the dial and bezel. Thank you very much for the pictures, as others have mentioned, they are far b... 

Nice photos

 By: sschew : February 16th, 2023-18:45
Thank You very much for a great report. Much appreciated. BTW anybody know what the Water Resistance on this watch is?


 By: shortys home : February 16th, 2023-18:51


 By: sschew : February 16th, 2023-18:58
Thank You

Love at first sight for me Henrik! especially if I would take up diving again-

 By: jlc.thomsen : February 16th, 2023-19:10
Great execution of something 2023 that want to do the same as the firs FFs back then. Looking forward to read some independent diver's reviews on it-have you seen any Henrik? I guess it's early days.

Indeed, other than the Gombessa team no watch has found its owner yet…

 By: shortys home : February 16th, 2023-19:15
… but I am sure the feedback will come at some point. Your comments made me think that an owners review on this one and the X Fathoms would make an intriguing blog topic for the future. Thanks for the inspiration!

Thanks Henrik.

 By: jlc.thomsen : February 16th, 2023-20:58
A positive feedback from professional divers would certainly be a strong argument for this watch as a great diving instrument. The divers would probably say the same as we think in this community: The price is a little steep for what you get. What do you ... 

I like to stay away from price discussions, but…

 By: shortys home : February 17th, 2023-05:24
… consider this: an annual production of max 100 pieces, all new tools, all new parts in comparison to higher production volumes with established tools and parts within the price hierarchy of Blancpain. To me it is a fit in that respect. If I compare to o... 

Yes you’re right. Sorry for taking up the price discussion.

 By: jlc.thomsen : February 17th, 2023-14:07
If it’s not boutique and not online sale, how do I get one Henrik? Have a great day and thanks for all your efforts to keep us posted first hand on everything Blancpain.

Great thank you!

 By: jlc.thomsen : February 19th, 2023-18:40

Hard pass (nt)

 By: PSV : February 17th, 2023-02:58

I like this…even if for desk diving

 By: S F : February 17th, 2023-07:44
Good to see live wrist shots. Fantastic lug design and I was wondering whether the strap would flare when worn. Looks fine on your wrist perhaps a cloth strap with thinner profile would wrap around the wrist better. Thks for the report.

Top notch pictures as usual. Thanks for sharing Henrik.

 By: _Martijn_ : February 18th, 2023-12:19
Those photos give me the urge to pick up diving again.

Will there be a 70th anniversary Act 3?

 By: Ted O : March 11th, 2023-20:56
At Watches & Wonders you think, a Bathyscaphe?

 By: Gary Shaw : March 25th, 2023-01:48
I recently read that Act 3 will be in September.