Tackling the re-release of a traditional is dangerous enterprise. Oftentimes, I really feel main manufacturers get too cute when attempting to rebirth an icon from their previous. There appears to be stress coming from someplace in these large organisations to make modifications, when generally it simply isn’t vital. Actually, a number of the time, it’s utterly counter-intuitive to carry again a strong design and mess it up for the sake of novelty. What must be new about these re-imaginings is the extent of high quality we’re capable of obtain with fashionable expertise. That must be sufficient. And with the Blancpain Air Command, again no less than after a few years within the chilly, plainly the world’s oldest watch model has hit the nail on the top.
The Air Command has an attention-grabbing parentage. It was born within the late fifties, following the success of the fifty fathoms. The US Navy had been so impressed with Blancpain’s well-known dive watch, the Swiss manufacture determined to supply a really related mannequin for Airforce to be used within the skies.
Stylistically, due to this fact, the Air Command is mainly a Fifty Fathoms with a Flyback chronograph perform, a tachymeter scale, and a countdown bezel versus the rely up bezel used on the Blancpain FF.
Though it might appear as if rely down bezels could be extra appropriate for a dive watch, they’re far much less widespread in that subject that rely up timers (on which you set the zero level to the minute hand so you possibly can see how lengthy you’ve been underwater). Apparently, rely down bezels had been typically used on army or pilot watches to coordinate strikes or to trace a precise time period since a bomb drop. They had been typically, as this one is, bi-directional so no good for ISO 6425, though one hopes that whereas piloting a airplane that doesn’t grow to be instantly, and unexpectedly related to your life (or the continuation thereof). And at any charge, the water resistance of this Blancpain Air Command is just 30 meters, so it wouldn’t do you a lot good within the bathe, not to mention the briny deep…
Amazingly, regardless of its good-looking seems to be and glorious performance the Blancpain Air Command was by no means adopted by the US Airforce. A few 12 months after Allen V. Tornek, Blancpain’s US distributor, didn’t persuade the airforce to purchase in to the challenge, a barely totally different model was provided to the Columbian military, however solely a handful of fashions ever made it into their palms.
Consequently the watch grew to become an instantaneous grail for Blancpain collectors. Examples of the unique have bought for round $99,000 at public sale. Clearly, there are some collectors of superb issues that may pay that form of cash for one thing simply because it’s uncommon. But it surely certain helps when that factor occurs to be excellently designed and really a lot deserving of its day within the solar.
Outdated (proper) and new (left) facet by facet
Effectively, the Air Command lastly has its probability to shine. Though not a common launch, the 500 items being launched will considerably bump-up its presence on the earth and within the minds of watch aficienados. And having stayed so increibly fithful to the unique, historirans will little doubt be happy. The most important modifications appear to be the elevated case dimension, nevertheless marginal, from 42mm to 42.5mm, considerably chunkier lugs (albeit with a really related profile), and the set up of a contemporary, high-end motion.
The Blancpain Air Command is powered by the F388B motion, which is predicated on the Frederic Piguet 1185. With an El Primero-matching 5Hz working velocity, this high-frequency flyback chronograph isn’t messing round. The super-cool propellor rotor places on a present by means of the sapphire case again, because the silicon hairspring breathes away beneath it. The worth of the Blancpain Air Command will probably be CHF 18,500 and will probably be strictly restricted to 500 items worldwide. blancpain.com