Blancpain Air Command

The Vallée de Joux Goes Diving: Our Favorite 2019 Blancpain Novelties

During #TimetoMove, the scenic Swiss Jura played host to six of Swatch Group’s most popular brands. One of our first stops was a visit to the Blancpain manufacture to discover the brand’s novelties.

By Vincent Daveau
Managing Editor France

Instead of exhibiting at Baselworld, Swatch Group chose to offer two hundred journalists the chance to visit their manufactures and discover the novelties firsthand and for the first time outside of a trade show.

About the Manufacture

Blancpain's manufacture has significantly evolved since its humble beginnings in 1735. Today, the brand is located in Le Sentier and Le Brassus. The company has extensive know-how and the ability to produce its calibres in-house. Blancpain’s primary movements are made in Le Sentier, while more complicated pieces are assembled in the beautiful town of Le Brassus where the brand has been since the 1990s.
 

Blancpain Manufacture

Blancpain: Evoking Its Roots

Among the highlights of these new novelties, is the Villeret Extra-Plate. A great classic revisited! This timepiece is the sign of the manufacture’s desire to return to the essential. A minimalist piece (available in red gold or steel) and powered by the manual winding 11A4B caliber derived from the famous caliber 1150.
 

Blancpain Villeret Ultraplate

With a power reserve of four days thanks to two barrels powering high-performance balance springs. A power reserve indicator is located the back of the piece and viewable via a sapphire crystal case back. This piece will stimulate fans of sport dials. It is sized at 40 mm and only 7.40 mm thick and outfitted with an opaline dial on the red gold variant or white dial in steel. The piece is also available on a metal bracelet.
 

Blancpain Villeret GMT Date

Also presented in this collection is a new edition of the Villeret GMT, in a 40mm case crafted in red gold or steel and powered by an automatic caliber 5A50. This piece is sure to charm frequent travelers.
 

Blancpain Villeret Date

And to complete this collection is the Lady Villeret with date. The piece asserts every detail of its feminine character via a 33.2mm case. Available in red gold or steel and with the choice of gem setting, with or without diamonds.
 

Blancpain Villeret Date

Military Inspiration

But of all the timepieces presented, the military pieces were undoubtedly the most impressive. In tribute to their close collaboration French combat divers, Blancpain implemented a special edition of its famous Fifty Fathoms.
 

Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Automatique

On the dial, you can spot the number seven: a number reminiscent of the maximum depth at which military divers equipped with oxygen can swim before it becomes toxic. Limited to 300 pieces, this 45mm piece is water-resistant to 300 meters. Carrying the robust caliber 1315, regulated by a silicon spiral, meeting the strictest antimagnetic standards. Equipped with three barrels mounted in a series, it also provides a five-day power reserve.
 

Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Automatique

Another of the reissued pieces is inspired by the German Navy’s collaboration with the German company "Barakuda." This 40mm piece is water resistant to 300 meters and inherits the name its original supplier. The Barakuda features a dial combining black background with large red and white indexes. These are reminiscent of "old radium." The date takes its position in the counter. Furthermore, Blancpain has added its iconic unidirectional bezel with scratch-resistant domed sapphire insert.
 

Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Barakuda

The Reborn Of a Legend

The most talked about piece would have to be the Air Command chronograph. During our tour, we spotted a rare original piece on the wrist of Marc Hayek. An instrument with a military vocation; this scarce timepiece has become almost mythical. For the record, it's said that Blancpain previously produced a series of 12 pieces that Allen V. Tornek - their reseller in the United States - was to offer to the United States Air Force. To satisfy those who are desperate to find an original version among the small number of known references existing, the manufacture has chosen to relaunch its production in a limited series of 500 pieces.
 

Blancpain Air Command New & Vintage

This faithful interpretation is sized at 42.5mm and carries the prestigious, self-winding caliber F388B whose high-frequency operation (5 Hertz or 36,000 vibrations per hour) is perfectly adapted due to its high precision and ability to measure to the tenth of a second accurately. The sapphire case back makes it possible to appreciate how great the finishes are and to admire the gold oscillator, which reminds us of an airplane propeller. The pieces come on a patinated calfskin strap to emphasize its vintage character.
 

Blancpain Air Command caseback

Marilyn Monroe’s Watch: The Mystery Behind The Icon’s Blancpain Timepiece

By Viviana ShanksSocial Media Manager and Junior Editor
Over the years, many celebrities have worn beautiful timepieces that carry captivating stories and memories. Such is the case with Marilyn Monroe’s...

Love And Attention: Blancpain Revisits Staples Of Its History In Their 2019 Novelties

By Thomas HendricksContributor
For 2019, Blancpain offers a collection of remastered greatest hits that bring classic military and dress watches into haute horology territory.

Fine Art In Motion: Discovering Jaquet Droz’s 2019 Novelties And Interview With CEO Christian Lattmann

By Thomas HendricksContributor
Involving hundreds of man-hours per piece, the new Jaquet Droz novelties are hidden gems for savvy collectors.

Modern Royalty: Breguet Knights Their 2019 Novelties (Hands-On)

By Vincent DaveauManaging Editor France
One of our favorite stops during #TimetoMove was the historic Breguet manufacture. Join along as we discover this year's novelties. 

TESLAR: A Watch That Makes You Feel Good?

By Viviana ShanksSocial Media Manager and Junior Editor
Suffering from stress, lack of sleep, anxiety, and low energy? Perhaps you’re blaming it all on your boss, but maybe the problem is elsewhere. Perhaps...

Why Swatch Group’s ‘Time To Move’ Summit Was More Of A ‘Time To Reset’

By Vincent DaveauManaging Editor France
Swatch Group’s recent “Time to Move” press event followed an ambitious itinerary that offered guests a guided tour of the most exclusive...

We’re Going To Need a Bigger Watch: A Sharktastic Guide to Blancpain’s Diving Watches

By Rhonda RicheEditor-At-Large
2018 marks the 65th Anniversary of the legendary Fifty Fathoms — the world’s first modern diving watch. To celebrate, the company brought a...

Hands-On with the Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe Day Date 70’

By Josh ShanksManaging Editor US
Let’s shine a light on one of my favorite pieces from Baselworld 2018, this retro inspired Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe. Now with a Day-Date complication...

A New Blancpain Villeret Date Watch For Women In A Range Of Interpretations

Blancpain is enriching its extensive collection of women’s models with the addition of a calendar timepiece. Often associated with a moon phase, the...

Blancpain Villeret Extra-Plate: Revisiting A Classic

At Blancpain, luxury is emotional and never ostentatious, as the Manufacture once again proves with an understated and refined new arrival enriching its most...

A Ceramic Face For The Blancpain Fifty Fathoms

Blancpain is reinterpreting its Fifty Fathoms, the iconic diver’s watch that has inspired the entire genre since its launch in 1953. The 2019 edition...

Travelling Back To The End Of The 1960s With A Limited Edition Of The Fifty Fathoms Barakuda

Blancpain is revisiting one of its diving watches from the end of the 1960s, the Barakuda. The 500-piece 2019 edition retains the features of the original...

Blancpain Air Command: Rebirth Of A Legend

The Blancpain Air Command chronograph belongs to the select circle of legendary watches whose very rareness exacerbates their appeal to collectors. While its...

A Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Honouring French Combat Swimmers

A pioneer in the development of military and civilian diver’s watches, Blancpain pays tribute to its original collaboration with the founders of the...

The Blancpain Villeret Collection Welcomes A New GMT Model

For nearly four decades, the Villeret collection has been offering timepieces combining technical sophistication with refined aesthetics. In keeping with...