Watchout Event 2019: Blancpain Air Command

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One of the watches which I have been curious to see in the metal, Blancpain’s “specialities” – the Air Command. Not included in any of the brands more well-known lines like the Villeret or the Fifty Fathoms…

Based on the original Air Command which according to the story “never took off” and only a handful watches were produced and offered to US Air Force pilots.

Now the Air Command has always been surrounded by rumours and myths… I might add to that with some input..

Let’s start with having a look at this new limited edition of 500 pieces.

The new Air Command is clearly based on the version that was sold at Phillips a few years ago. Similar hands and bezel as the Fifty Fathoms, Tachymetre scale, even faux patina on the super luminova…

Blancpain Air Command – limited edition 2019

The resemblance is there, but with some small differences – it’s still a T.W.O register chronograph, but the running seconds has been replaced with hour indicator for the chronograph.

Here is a picture of the watch sold at Phillips, picture credit: Phillips.

Blancpain Air Command – picture credit: Phillips

Other details such as the lugs, more straight on the new watch and not drilled – a detail I would have appreciated if it had been kept…

Blancpain Air Command – limited edition 2019

Inside is the Calibre F388B with the rotor formed as a propeller… Kind of cool but personally I would rather have had a closed case back with a nice engraving.

Blancpain Air Command – limited edition 2019, Calibre F388B

Now to my thoughts on the original Air Command: if you would Google for information of the original Air Command it often says “1950s” and no exact year.

I have a French document “The watches and crafts” from 1958 which illustrates a watch called Air-Command from Rayville. The document includes several watches which were released in 1958 like the Zenith S. 58 and the Eterna-matic KonTiki.

Here is a scan from that document:

The watch and crafts 1958 – Rayville Air Command

The document translated: “Air Command, for pilots of the most modern aircraft, offers a rotating bezel, set before the flight and instantly gives the exact time at which the fuel reserve no longer allows the flight to continue.”

Now, could it be that the Air Command were made in 1958? Maybe… At least not later!

Another thing that I find very interesting is that the watch illustrated have a different bezel, nothing similar to the Fifty Fathoms. There is no Tachymetre scale which puts the numerals closer to the bezel. Minute track is close to the edge of the dial which gives a longer minutes hand and no logo, the dial is sterile… Only reference is in the text, Rayville…

Food for thoughts…

Either way, this new Air Command is a great looking watch! A bit shiny for my personal taste due to the ceramic bezel and it wears quite big. At 42.5 mm it’s only a half millimetre larger than the Polaris I was wearing but it felt much larger…

Blancpain Air Command – on the wrist

A big thank you goes out to Nymans Ur & Krons for hosting the Watchout Event 2019 and to Blancpain for letting me handle this new Air Command!

if you want to know more about this watch, please visit Blancpain home page.

More reports on this event to follow, so stay tuned…