In the late 1950’s the US Air Force had a watch specifically made for them by Blancpain. This model known as the “Air Command Flyback Chronograph” would go on to be a vintage collectible. But, back in 2018 a regular production reissue was finally produced and now Blancpain has extended its options by adding two new smaller models.The 36.2mm case is available in Grade 23 titanium or 18k red gold with contrasting satin-brushed and polished surfaces. While both have a screw-down sapphire crystal exhibition case back, which allows to view the inner workings of the mechanical movement. So in this aspect it deviates from the original “Air Command” (just like the larger 42 and 42.5mm options) which had a solid screw-down caseback that also housed a different non in-house caliber movement.Mounted to the case is a bi-directional countdown-type rotating bezel with a blue ceramic insert and luminous hour markers, unlike the “count up” bezel used on the “Fifty Fathoms” model. It differs from traditional chronographs that require it to be pressed three times (stop / reset / restart), by only needing a single press to start a new timing sequence. So this countdown bezel can be used to indicate the remaining time until reaching its intended destination, instead of the numerals running counter-clockwise like a diver’s watch.The lugs on these regular-production editions are also thicker than the drilled lugs found on the vintage model. All topped by a boxed sapphire crystal, instead of acrylic as the vintage edition. Water-resistance on these watches can reach up to 30 meters (96 feet).Time is exhibited on a blue sunray-brushed finish dial with Arabic numerals, followed by a white printed 60-minute scale; while a 1000 tachymeter scale is circling on its other side nearing the periphery of the dial. There are two snailed sub-dials: a 30-minute counter at the 3 o’clock position and 12-hour counter at the 9 o’clock position. The central pilot-style hands and Arabic numerals have all been fitted with a luminescent coating, for an enhanced legibility.
Blancpain Air Command Flyback Chronograph 36.2mm
This “Blancpain Air Command Flyback Chronograph” (References below) is powered by the self-winding mechanical movement, caliber F188B with 35 jewels, and 36,000 vph. It comes equipped with an integrated automatic column wheel flyback chronograph. Power reserve on this watch can last up to 40 hours, when fully wound.Mounted to the watches is a blue calf leather strap with exposed off-white stitching, while secured to the wrist by a pin buckle, matching the case alloy. For more up to date information visit the official Blancpain website here.