Air Command Flyback Chronograph - 2021 new model
Blancpain's new Air Command, which is joining the eponymous collection, fully reflects the spirit of the vintage pilot's watch. It features a flyback chronograph and a countdown-type rotating bezel.
The flyback function is a valuable element for pilots, as it enables them in a single press to reset the current timing operation and start a new one while the chronograph is running. With a conventional chronograph, each new measurement requires three presses – on two separate pushers – to stop, reset and restart the mechanism. The purpose of the countdown bezel is to indicate the time remaining until the destination is reached. Its numerals or hour-markers run counter-clockwise, unlike those on the bezel of a diver's watch. The Blancpain Air Command also has a tachymeter scale indicating ground speeds, a 30-minute counter with three elongated markers marking three-minute increments and a 12-hour counter.
The back of the watch reveals the Manufacture F388B movement (a variant of the F385), distinguished by a free-sprung silicon balance oscillating at a frequency of 5 Hz. The design reflects Blancpain's philosophy of both precision and robustness. The free-sprung balance-and-spring assembly regulated by inertia screws was conceived to facilitate fine adjustments and increase shock-resistance. Compared to generally used metal balance-springs, the silicon balance-spring is insensitive to magnetic fields and guarantees greater precision throughout the power reserve. The 5 Hz frequency not only contributes to improved accuracy, but also enables a clear division of the seconds into 1/10th intervals. The F388B movement comprises a column-wheel system with a highly advanced Blancpain vertical clutch ensuring perfect starting and stopping without the jerks that occasionally occur with horizontal constructions. It is self-winding and topped by an openworked gold oscillating weight with a snailed finish identical to that of the calibre's bridges. This aesthetic coherence is accentuated by the colour of the rotor, which matches that of the watch case.