An extremely rare, important and large stainless steel fly-back chronograph wristwatch with glossy black dial, tachymeter scale, rotatable bezel and presentation box

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  • Condition Report

  • Manufacturer: Blancpain
    Year: Circa 1960s
    Case No: 15’016
    Model Name: Air Command
    Material: Stainless steel
    Calibre: Manual, cal. Valjoux 222, 17 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: Leather
    Clasp/Buckle: Stainless steel Blancpain buckle
    Dimensions: 42 mm diameter
    Signed: Case, dial and buckle signed
    Accessories: Accompanied with Blancpain black leather box

  • Catalogue Essay

    One of the rarest and most epic vintage pilot’s watch models, Blancpain’s Air Command model is shrouded in a haze of myth, legend and glory. As a matter of fact, no official documentations can be found about this mysterious model, and scholars have asserted that it was never serially manufactured or commercialized. At the turn of the 1950s, Blancpain decided to enter the market for pilot’s wristwatches, and offered the Air Command to the U.S. Air Force. No orders were placed and the Air Command project was not pursued.

    When the quartz crisis struck Blancpain in the early 1970s, the brand had to sell many of its properties, including some of its unfinished examples. This speaks volumes for the unmatched rarity and originality, especially also considering that only an extremely small number of specimen are known to have survived. With its history, the Air Command is one of those rare cases when the watch is truly deserving the moniker “icon”.

    The thick and robust 42 mm case houses the Valjoux caliber 222 featuring the ultra-desirable fly-back function. This function provides improved accuracy for aviators by no longer requiring the wearer to use the stop function prior to resetting the chronograph. Preserved in excellent condition, the present watch is only 26 numbers apart from another example that was sold at START-STOP-RESET: 88 Epic Stainless Steel Chronographs.

  • Maker Bio

    Blancpain

    Swiss • 1735

    As the watchmaking brand with the earliest founding date, Blancpain remains close to tradition, concentrating on classical mechanical watches. Established in 1735 by Jehan-Jacques Blancpain, the Le Brassus manufacturer today continues to innovate with the development of high-quality calibres and is proud of their heritage, having never made quartz watches. One of the firm's greatest successes was the Fifty Fathom wristwatch introduced in 1953 — the vintage models of which are now highly coveted by collectors. The earliest dive watch available to the market, Fifty Fathom came out a year prior to Rolex's Submariner.  Another key model is the Air Command from the 1960s, considered one of the most mythical collector's watches due to their extreme rarity. Today, the firm specializes in creative innovated complicated timepieces. 

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Blancpain

An extremely rare, important and large stainless steel fly-back chronograph wristwatch with glossy black dial, tachymeter scale, rotatable bezel and presentation box

寶珀,「Air Command」,非常重要及罕有,精鋼腕錶,配飛返計時功能及黑色錶圈,約1960年代製。附錶盒

Circa 1960s
42 mm diameter
Case, dial and buckle signed

Estimate
HK$390,000 - 780,000 
€44,500-89,100
$50,000-100,000

Place Advance Bid
Contact Specialist
Thomas Perazzi
Head of Watches, Asia
thomasperazzi@phillips.com
+852 2318 2030

Phillips & Blackbird: SPORTS

Hong Kong Auction 27 May 2019