For connoisseurs, the flyback chronograph represents the ultimate refinement of the chronograph mechanism. The function of a chronograph is the measurement and recording of intervals of time. In the original pocket watch creations, a chronograph was actually fitted with an ink pen, marking a circular line as it measured the passage of a block of time. That design soon gave way to a far more practical method for recording the running of time: a seconds-hand that could be started and stopped as well as a minute counter and later an hour counter. Starting the watch at the beginning of an interval and later stopping it, allowed a reading of the recorded time at a glance. No ink required.
The reason that adding a flyback function represents the ultimate refinement of this time recording system is that it dispenses with many repetitive operations if multiple intervals are to be timed. With an ordinary chronograph, timing successive intervals requires three button pushes. The first stops the running of the chronograph at the end of the first interval; the second returns the chronograph settings to zero; the third restarts the chronograph for the timing of the next interval. The flyback enhancement fully dispenses with two button pushes. With a single push of the return-to-zero button, the running of the first interval is stopped, a return to zero accomplished and the restart commenced.
Until now, no one had thought of bringing this refinement to a woman’s chronograph. Flybacks, prized principally by pilots, were exclusively reserved for men. Blancpain recognized that this ignored both history and current events. Some of the most famous pilots during the formative years of aviation were women, such as Amelia Earhart, the Duchess of Bedford, Lady Heath and Hanna Reitsch, to name just a few. Today, women pilots populate flight schools, major airlines, and even the Space Shuttle. It was time to bring this ultimate pilot enhancement of the chronograph into the world of women’s watches.
The Calibre F185 model created by Blancpain’s master watchmakers corrected this snub and introduced the world’s first women’s flyback chronograph. Blancpain has since expanded the domain of fine women’s chronographs by including new versions of the flyback as key models in the Blancpain Women collection.