Here comes the big one. With its 45mm Speed Command Chronograph (ref. 5785F-11D03-63), Blancpain has introduced its sportiest model so far. Although the exterior defies the recent trend of making rugged-looking devices (inspired by real tools, they often come with lots of angles, lots of machine-brushed surfaces and feature deliberately rudimentary, even crude look to their components), the new Speed Command makes a strong impression thanks to its glossy black sapphire bezel and scratch-resistant body of the same color.
Made of brushed steel with Diamond Like Carbon (DLC) coating, the gadget’s case measures whole 45 millimeters in diameter claiming a significant share of your wrist real estate. Still, thanks to its relatively short lugs, the timepiece will probably not look silly if worn by a normal person, although I am not that sure about skinny types. Just don’t forget to try it before ordering it online or buying a pre-owned model.
The large case houses an ultra-thin self-winding chronograph movement, the iconic caliber Piguet F185.
Based on the well-known Piguet 1185 caliber, the new movement is built on the same 37 jewels but features four more components and sports the flyback function.
Very convenient (if you plan to use the chronograph,) the complication allows you to start, reset, and restart the chronograph with a single push of a button.
Predictably, the mechanism features a somewhat rudimentary, yet classy finish to its greyish oscillating weight (it is treated with the usual Geneva stripes) and the bridges that are decorated with circular-graining (aka perlage): a pattern that you will often see on instrument panels of hand-built British cars like those manufactured by Morgan. Although in most cases the decoration technique is usually frowned upon and even considered cheap, in this particular instance it indeed looks great.
Being only 5.5 millimeters thick, the movement is still capable of storing enough energy to provide the chronograph with at least 40 hours of uninterrupted power supply.
Although the Speed Command Chronograph is not officially positioned as a diving tool, you can definitely use it as such, since it is not only water-resistant to 300 meters but also features a bidirectional “countdown” type rotating bezel made of black sapphire: an inevitable part of a true diver.
The only problem that I see here is that the stock leather strap may be seriously damaged (if not ruined) by salty seawater, so, if you plan to use the Speed Command as a diver, it would be wise to change the leather strap for a rubber band.
Like the overwhelming majority of today’s sporty chronographs, the dial features a traditional design with a tri-compax layout.
The chronograph minute and hour totalizers are located at 3 and 9 o’clock respectively, while the small second sub-dial is conveniently placed at 6 o’clock.
The device’s hour, minute, and second hands, though thin, are clad with ultra-bright red Superluminova applications so there won’t be too many problems with legibility in the dark.
Review Score: 4/5
Build quality: 4.5/5
Overall Legibility: 4/5
Nighttime Legibility: 4.5/5
Value for money: 4/5
Blancpain Speed Command Chronograph (ref. 5785F-11D03-63) specification
Price range: $20,400 (MSRP)
Movement: Automatic column-wheel chronograph, Caliber F185 (base Frederic Piguet 1185,) modified in-house, Swiss Made
Case: Brushed steel with DLC coating with black sapphire bezel, scratch-resistant
Functions & Complications: Chronograph with flyback function, Hours, Minutes, Small Seconds, Date
Dial: Checkered carbon fiber, Black with orange or yellow Arabic numerals
Strap: Barenia leather strap with inner surface lined in rubber, deployment clasp
Water resistance: 300 meters
Crystal: Sapphire, antireflective
Size: 45.00 mm
Thickness: 16.00 mm