This week, the Swiss watchmaker introduced two flyback chronographs to the eponymous line, in 18-carat red gold and grade 23 titanium models. Dubbed the Blancpain Air Command, the 42 mm examples reflect the spirit of the vintage 1950s pilot’s watch and feature a countdown rotating bezel. A deep blue color adds a modern touch, and plays nicely with the sunburst dial and finely snailed chronograph counters.
The models’ high-contrast display comes with Super-LumiNova on the hands and hour-markers, making it function for day and nighttime settings. The luminescent material is also found on each watch’s bezel, which features a scratch-resistant ceramic insert that matches the dial color. Blancpain equipped both sides of the new Air Command references with a “glass box” sapphire crystal, a design element carried over from the ’50s models that inspired the new watches. Satin-brushed and polished surfaces add a luxurious finish to complete the horological spell.
Both models have open-display casebacks that give collectors a view of the free-sprung silicon balance-and-spring assembly. This design allows the watchmaker to make fine adjustments while increasing shock-resistance. Oh, and it makes the pieces impervious to magnetic fields.
Both timepieces run on the manufacturer’s F388B movement, a variant of the F385 used in its Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe models. The self-winding movement—a column-wheel system that uses Blancpain’s advanced vertical clutch—was designed to prevent jerks when starting and stopping the piece. It’s topped by an openworked gold oscillating weight that has a snailed finish similar to the calibre’s bridges.
Blancpain’s Air Command chronograph was first introduced in the mid-1950s and is most likely the rarest watch of its era from the brand, according to the watchmaker. Traces of the example have appeared sporadically at auction, but if you don’t have time to keep a close eye on the auction block, you can order your very own Blanpain Air Command now. The titanium model is $18,500 and the red gold model will run you $29,100.