Blancpain Takes Flight
Introducing the Air Command Titanium Blue
WRITTEN BY THEO BAKER
IMAGERY COURTESY OF Blancpain
NOVEMBER 23, 2021
Way back in 2019, Swiss luxury watchmaker Blancpain made notable waves with the release of its latest novelty, at the time unveiling the new Air Command. Taking inspiration from a vintage watch of the same name developed for the U.S. Air Force in the late 1950s, the then-new Air Command channeled suave, historical chronograph cool paired with the modern, luxurious manufacturing that the brand is so well known for.
This fall, Blancpain returns to the Air Command design, releasing its first update since the original 2019 release. While featuring an overall similar aesthetic and silhouette, the new model importantly brings the vintage-inspired style into a trendier, modern light by introducing a titanium case paired with a lovely new blue colorway. It might as well be described as avant-garde meets military-chic, with clear recalls of historical military aviation watches popular in the mid-century paired with a use of material, colors, and finishing that is nothing short of superbly contemporary.
Taking a closer look at the new watch, we find a 42.5mm by 13.77mm chronograph. Its size is likely to feel plenty sturdy on the wrist due to its dimensions, but is noticeably lightweight because of its titanium construction. With the use of polished and brushed finishing throughout, the watch is elevated beyond a simple sports watch into something much more luxurious. These careful details are best seen in the contrasting look of the watch’s sharp lugs, the uncommon use of brushed finishing on its pump pushers, and deep grooving on its bezel and enlarged crown, which adds additional ease to the watch’s operation. The bezel itself is where we spot the first use of blue on the watch, the color is applied to a ceramic insert matching the stitched leather strap that connects it to the wrist.
On the dial and beneath a box-type sapphire crystal, a vintage-inspired look once again greets the viewer. The configuration is executed upon a sunray blue dial, which features white and lume accents. A tachymetric scale surrounds the look, with printed Arabic numerals in the signature font of vintage Blancpain watches put to use for most hour positions. A pair of contrastingly textured sub-dials for the 30-minute stopwatch and the running seconds breaks up this pattern, while a historically accurate handset sweeps over in showcasing the regular time.
Flipping the watch over reveals its lovely movement of Blancpain’s in-house Caliber F388B, a notable variation on the brand’s better-known caliber F385. The automatic movement features a high-beat frequency of 5 Hz, with its timekeeping able to maintain a 50-hour reserve when fully charged. The movement importantly features a flyback chronograph, the uncommon feature allowing the chronograph’s seconds hand to elegantly glide back to its base position when reset. This feature was importantly included in the original vintage model which inspired the watch, and so it was crucial to Blancpain to include it once again in its latest edition.
The new Blancpain Air Command Titanium Blue is available on a non-limited basis via Blancpain boutiques and authorized retailers, with pricing set at $18,500.