Blancpain expands its legendary Air Command collection with the Air Command Flyback Chronograph in grade 23 titanium, a high-end variety rarely used in the world of watchmaking. The collection draws inspiration from a highly sought-after 1950s Blancpain chronograph that was produced in small quantities.
Paying homage to the vintage pilot’s watch, the new model features a flyback chronograph and a countdown-type rotating bezel. The flyback function enables pilots in a single press to reset the current timing operation and start a new one while the chronograph is running. With a conventional chronograph, each new measurement requires three presses, to stop, reset and restart the mechanism. The countdown bezel is used to indicate the time remaining until the destination is reached. Its numerals or hour-markers run counter-clockwise, unlike those on the bezel of a diver’s watch. The Blancpain Air Command also has a tachymeter scale indicating ground speeds, a 30-minute counter with three elongated markers marking three-minute increments, and a 12-hour counter.
These indications are highlighted with the help of a deep blue color. The dial is enhanced by a fine sunburst pattern, while the chronograph counters are snailed. Super-LumiNova® is found on the hands, hour-markers and the watch’s bezel, which incorporates a scratch-resistant ceramic insert matching the dial color. Blancpain has fitted both sides of its Air Command model with a “glass box” sapphire crystal.
Housed in the 42.5 mm-diameter titanium case beats the robust F388B automatic movement with a 5hz frequency. The movement comprises a column-wheel system with a highly advanced Blancpain vertical clutch providing perfect starting and stopping without the jerks that occasionally occur with horizontal constructions. It is self-winding and topped by an openworked gold oscillating weight with a snailed finish identical to that of the caliber’s bridges. The rotor color matches the new titanium case for an additional monochromatic touch.
Available in red gold or grade 23 titanium, the case is water-resistant to 3 bar. For a final classic touch, the Air Command Flyback Chronograph is paired with a sporty blue calfskin leather strap with white stitching and priced at $18,500.