Flashback: May 17, 2019

Exactly one year ago Blancpain introduced their novelties during Time to Move, which took place in Zurich as a two stage event for retailers and the press. This post is not only to celebrate the first anniversary of some outstanding watches which became signature timepieces for Blancpain immediately, but also to reflect on how different 2020 is turning out.

Three 2019 novelties in the rear view mirror

Last year’s Time to Move was the first fair by the Swatch Group after having left Baselworld. In March 2019 retailers were invited to see the new timepieces, but the watches were kept under strict embargo until the event for the press was ended. On that Friday morning 8 a.m. CET, May 17 the Blancpain novelties started to surface, and the reaction was overwhelming.

It is fair to say that two watches drew a lot of the attention: the Fifty Fathoms Barakuda and the Air Command, both commemorative pieces to iconic vintage icons, received enthusiastic responses from the watch collectors community. Both are limited to 500 pieces worldwide, and wait lists at authorized dealers and Boutiques got very long quickly.

Air Command

Delivery of the FF Barakuda started in September 2019, the Air Command took a bit longer with the first pieces going to happy owners around Christmas 2019.

I have covered both the FF Barakuda and the Air Command with many photos of the prototypes in the blog, you can find my hands-on report on the Fifty Fathoms Barakuda here and the Air Command here.

A third exceptional watch introduced a year ago is the Fifty Fathoms Nageurs de combat. This novelty actually got delivered to those involved in its creation before Time to Move: the French Combat Swimmers, the very unit that also influenced the creation of the first professional diving watch in 1953, worked with Blancpain to create an outstanding commemorative timepiece, honoring the joint tradition.

FF Nageurs de combat

The FF Nageurs de combat is a limited series of 300 watches, with 240 of those being available to the general public. Delivery of this piece started in Summer 2019, and by the end of the year they were sold out.

Being a happy owner of one, I released a blog post on the Fifty Fathoms Nageurs de combat, which you can find here in the blog.

Everything is different this year

In 2020 the Swatch Group planned to hold Time to Move in early March, in one event for both retailers and the press. But in early February the Swatch Group canceled the event due to the emerging problems with the Coronavirus, at that point a very difficult but also responsible decision.

Restrictions on travel and events do not allow for what we all have been used to for decades: a gathering of retailers, journalists and collectors to see and discuss the new watches. Therefore we will find out about new Blancpain timepieces as we go through the remainder of 2020, and I will update my 2020 novelties post accordingly. We have seen some beautiful novelties already…

Life as we know it has changed drastically in 2020, and of course the impact on the introduction of new watches has little to no significance in the grand scheme of things. Still, we all need our little hideaways, and the passion for beautiful timepieces can be a welcome distraction, for the true enthusiast it is essential anyway.

Actually, the excitement about the Fifty Fathoms Barakuda, the Air Command and the Fifty Fathoms Nageurs de combat carries for much more than a year, so we can do just fine with those and the other existing Blancpain timepieces for a while. These timepieces are as fresh and impressive today on their first anniversary than they have been when released May 17, 2019.

I hope you enjoyed this Flashback report and the photos. You can find all mentioned timepieces at various places in this blog and of course on the Blancpain website.

Cheers

Henrik

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