I remember vividly my excitement when I saw the first ever Blancpain Leman watch with the new case diameter of 40mm in a catalogue 2004: the Flyback Split Second reference 2086. The watch immediately resonated with me, and for a few years to come I was not even aware of this special and extremely limited version of the Flyback Split Second, called A’Toute Vitesse.
The first 40mm Leman model
Before getting closer on the ATV, let’s spend a moment on some general aspects of the Flyback Split Second ref 2086.
Blancpain couldn’t have picked a better model for launching the new 40mm Leman at the time, it still offered the legendary looks of the 38mm Flyback but also a new combination that can be considered highly collectible.
Reference 2086 is powered by calibre F186 (base cal 1185) with automatic winding, a column wheel chronograph offering the rare combination of a Flyback and Rattrapante function… you might say it’s the ultimate chronograph.
Reference 2086 was only made in stainless steel, and the only variation to the standard model is one of the finest and rarest Blancpain Leman watches ever, the limited to 12 pieces Flyback Split Second A’Toute Vitesse.
One of 12 pieces made
There have been three A‘Toute Vitesse models created for the US dealer Swiss Fine Timing: a limited to 20 Flyback in 38mm, a limited to 12 pieces Leman GMT Reveil and the above mentioned ref 2086, also limited to 12 pieces. The distinguishing elements for the A‘Toute Vitesse watches are the dial and hands color code and special engravings on the case back.
Long before „fauxtina“ became a term to describe Luminova coloring to mimic tritium patina, the color code of the ATV watches brought a warmth on the dial that was previously unseen with mostly green or white colored luminous material. It was not meant to mimic aged tritium, it simply followed a great idea of those who designed it. You may say they have been quite ahead of developments to come.
I have embedded the next three photos not using the gallery view for you to immediately focus on this exceptional color code. The blue hue is due to the outer antireflective coating on the crystal.
I tried to contact Swiss Fine Timing to find out about their thoughts behind the color code and also the name A‘Toute Vitesse. Unfortunately I have not received an answer, so if any of my readers can provide any insight, I would highly appreciate it.
A versatile grail watch
The Leman Flyback Split Second A’Toute Vitesse works fine on different straps, it’s a versatile and subtle beauty that brings utmost pleasure every time you look at it.
Here are some wrist shots to give you an idea:
A fellow Blancpain enthusiast once called this watch the pinnacle of the Leman series. I like to think that it is hard to argue with that statement: a versatile, moderately sized, complicated and very rare timepiece… what’s not to like?
Recently I found a strap which corresponds almost perfectly with the color of the numerals and the specific finish of the dial:
As you can see the Leman Flyback Split Second has become a favorite photo object of mine. Actually this very timepiece is as close to my personal grail watch as possible. Here are some final wrist shots of the Leman Flyback Split Second on the different straps:
The last aspect I want to highlight is that this watch loves special light conditions like twilight or the effects of the Loupe System light ring, may they be cold white or ultraviolet. It has some serious luminosity as well.
I hope you enjoyed the report on this rare bird and the many photos. If you want to get a lot more information on the Leman line in general, you can find part one of my Leman series overview with a focus on the 38mm timepieces here, part two with the 40mm collection here and part three concentrating on the limited editions and the Haute Horlogerie pieces here.