Introducing Blancpain Air Command Flyback Chronograph

Introducing Blancpain Air Command Flyback Chronograph

The Low-Down

In 2019, Blancpain surprised us with the reissue of the Air Command, a limited edition, high frequency flyback chronograph. While I was impressed with the watch, there were a few things that were holding me back from declaring it as the perfect sports watch. The “old radium” Super-LumiNova, aka “fauxtina,” was my major issue with the watch. Also, the Air Command is a large watch at 42.5mm and I felt that the comfort level was slightly diminished with the heft of a stainless steel case. Finally, the red gold winding rotor in the shape of a propeller was a bit gimmicky.

Enter the 2021 Air Command. It was as though Blancpain had listened to a recording of me complaining about the 2019 reissue to Alexa. The 2021 Air Command has natural colored Super-LumiNova. The comfort level is greatly enhanced with the satin-brushed grade 23 titanium case. The propeller rotor is out; instead, a well-thought out, openworked oscillating weight in gold with snailed sunburst finishing is seen through the caseback. Throw in the striking sunburst blue dial and a matching bezel with blue ceramic insert, and we have a perfect sports watch. There is one minor wish for improvement – the current water resistance ratings is 30 meters, which can be increased to 100 meters. To be fair, Audemars Piguet 15200 (or 15500), the quintessential sports watch, is also only 50 meters water resistant. A variation of the 2021 Air Command is available in satin-brushed red gold case, for first-class fliers.

Blancpain Air Command Flyback Chronograph

The technical details remain the same as the 2019 version. It features the F388B high frequency 5Hz automatic movement with 50 hours of power reserve. A vertical clutch provides the chronograph seconds hand with a smooth start and the flyback function allows for instantaneous zero resetting and restarting.

Blancpain Air Command Flyback Chronograph

IMHO

Just as the Blancpain Fifty Fathoms makes for a worthy diver’s watch, the Air Command makes for a great everyday sports watch. Historically, it was issued to American military pilots, and it continues to retain the rugged semblance. The sunburst blue dial adds a touch of modern flair to keep it from being labeled as purely vintage inspired.

In the words of Don Draper of TV series Mad Men, “Make it simple, but significant.” That pretty much sums up why the Air Command 2021 is worthy consideration for an everyday sports watch.

Blancpain Air Command Flyback Chronograph
Blancpain Air Command Flyback Chronograph

Tech Specs

Case: 42.5mm x 13.77mm, satin-brushed titanium, 30 meters water resistance
Movement: F388B automatic movement, 50 hours powers reserve, 293 components
Functions: Hours, minutes, flyback chronograph, tachymeter scale
Dial: Sunburst blue
Strap: Blue leather strap with contrast stitching
Price: USD 18,500

Tags