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Blancpain - Air Command

With the new  Air Command, Blancpain is reissuing a legendary model of the past in a 500-piece limited edition chronograph characterized by a marked vintage touch.

Blancpain Air Command AC01-1130-63A

The Air Command was originally developed in the 1950s as a high-precision flyback chronograph with luminous hour-markers and hands to maximise legibility. It was designed with armed forces in mind and it was offered, without success, to the United States Air Force through the distributor Allen V. Tornek, for whom Blancpain is thought to have created a dozen watches as prototypes. The total production of Air Command chronographs was very limited. Nonetheless this watch has always been considered one of the best timepieces ever developed by Blancpain and its design unanimously acclaimed.

A vintage Air Command model sold at a Phillips Watches auction in 2016
A vintage Air Command model sold at a Phillips Watches auction in 2016

The 2019 edition revives history and the unmistakable style of the 1950s combining them with Blancpain’s latest technical advances.

The Air Command comes in a 42.5 mm stainless steel case equipped with a ratcheted "countdown" rotating bezel with a black ceramic insert. Once set before flight, this bezel enabled pilots to instantaneously read the elapsed time avoiding the risk to remain without fuel.

Blancpain Air Command AC01-1130-63A

The time scale of the bezel, as well as the dial hour-markers and hands, are made of "old radium" type Super-LumiNova, reproducing the orange hue of the original chronograph indications.

Protected by a sapphire box-type crystal, the dial features a 30-minute totaliser at 3 o’clock and a 12-hour counter at 9 o’clock, while a tachymeter scale running around the chapter ring indicates speeds based on a 1000-metre distance.

Blancpain Air Command AC01-1130-63A

The caseback reveals a snailed movement graced with a contrasting propeller-shaped red gold oscillating weight.

Blancpain Air Command AC01-1130-63A

The high frequency (5 Hz or 36,000 vibrations per hour) of the F388B movement ensures greater accuracy, especially when timing events as it enables each second to be divided into tenth-of-a-second intervals. Its vertical clutch provides the chronograph seconds hand with a smooth start, as well as optimally seamless stop and start functions. It also features a column-wheel system, a distinctive feature of high-end chronographs which  gives a velvety feel when starting or finishing a measurement and returning the hands to zero. The flyback function enables instantaneous zero-resetting and restarting.

Water resistant to 30 metres / 100 feet and fitted with a patinated calf leather strap, the Blancpain Air Command (ref. AC01-1130-63A) has a price of Swiss Francs 18,500. blancpain.com

Suggested reading:
- Blancpain, the history of the oldest watch brand

Blancpain Air Command AC01-1130-63A

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Time and Watches | The watch blog: Blancpain - Air Command
Blancpain - Air Command
Blancpain Air Command. With the new Air Command, Blancpain is reissuing a legendary model of the past in a 500-piece limited edition chronograph characterized by a marked vintage touch. The Air Command comes in a 42.5 mm stainless steel case equipped with a ratcheted "countdown" rotating bezel. Fitted with a patinated calf leather strap, the Blancpain Air Command (ref. AC01-1130-63A) has a price of Swiss Francs 18,500.
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Time and Watches | The watch blog
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