Blancpain Air Force Commander Chronograph can undoubtedly be classified as a legendary watch, and its extreme rarity has made watch collectors fascinated by it. Although the original intention of the creation is still a difficult mystery and people have produced various conjectures, it is certain that it has carried military missions. This chronograph is widely regarded as superior to other similar timepieces, and has received worldwide acclaim for its outstanding design. Today, Blancpain has decided to re-engrave this legendary model and issue 500 vintage limited edition watches again; by reintroducing this new watch to the brand’s product camp, it unveiled the tip of its little-known historical background .
In the early 1950s, the French Ministry of Defense was seeking a high-precision chronograph that could meet its specifications. Participating models must be equipped with a black dial, luminous hour markers and hands to maximize the legibility of the watch. The movement of the watch must have a flyback function, and a small second hand must be equipped for this indicator function. A few years later, other armed forces also began to look for similar timepieces. At that time, Blancpain had won the favor of the US Navy with its Fifty Fathoms diving watch, so it was determined to draw inspiration from it and develop a chronograph for the US Air Force. The timepiece was provided to US Air Force pilots through dealer Allen V. Tornek, and it is believed that Blancpain produced 12 sample watches at the time. The total production of the Air Commander’s chronograph may be extremely limited.
As a high-quality and rare military chronograph in the late 1950s, the Blancpain Air Force Commander watch is now reborn. In terms of style, the new 2019 models are completely loyal to the original. The original Air Force Commander watch was designed for pilots flying the most advanced aircraft of the time; the new watch, like the original, was also equipped with a ‘counter-clockwise’ rotating bezel with pawl function. Just complete the setup before take-off, and when the fuel reserve is insufficient to propel the aircraft to continue normal flight, the pilot can instantly read the precise remaining time of fuel availability. The time scale on the front circle of the watch, the hour markers and hands on the dial are coated with a ‘gold radium’ Super Luminova super luminous coating, which reproduces the orange hue of the original chronograph indicator. The watch is equipped with a 30-minute minute dial with a flyback function at 3 o’clock, a small 12-hour hour dial at 9 o’clock, and a tachometer ring running around the seconds ring. The speed at 1000 meters per hour is displayed.
In order to enhance the legibility of the watch information and highlight the main characteristics of this collector’s watch, Blancpain has improved the dial window of the first representative model. The new Air Force Commander watch is equipped with a box-type sapphire glass, which is also a major feature of the original model; this time, Blancpain is equipped with the same back for the first time in a newer model. In this way, through the sapphire glass case back, the movement beauty of the movement is clearly visible: the snail-shaped movement mounted in the 42.5 mm diameter stainless steel case complements the propeller-shaped red gold oscillating weight, forming a sharp visual contrast.
A legendary timepiece should be equipped with the same legendary movement. The new Blancpain Air Force Commander watch is equipped with the F388B movement. The high frequency of 5 Hz fits perfectly with the watch’s performance. This frequency allows the movement to be subdivided into 10 tenths of a second during operation. This high frequency ensures that the watch has a higher accuracy and is particularly suitable for timing. Another great advantage of the F388B movement is that it is equipped with a vertical clutch to ensure the smooth start of the chronograph second hand, and to achieve a seamless connection between the stop and start of the chronograph. The movement is also equipped with a column wheel system. This system has only been stored in advanced chronographs so far, which can bring a smooth and comfortable feel when the time starts, ends and the hands are reset to zero. The flyback function enables the watch to be reset and restarted instantly.
What is TimetoMove: Last year, the Swatch Group announced its withdrawal from the 2019 Baselworld Watch & Jewellery Show. Then from May 14th to 16th of this year, six high-end brands under the Swatch Group: Breguet, Harry Winston, Blancpain, Jaquet Droz, Glashütte Original Glashütte Original and OMEGA jointly held a new product launch exhibition in Switzerland to display brand new models of this year. At the same time, nearly 200 media from around the world are invited to participate.