The Breitling Super AVI is a new aviation-themed collection of watches from a firm that is probably best-known for its proper pilot’s watches and its aviation themed timepieces too. Yes, those are not the same thing, but that is a subject for another occasion. Where some brands are virtually synonymous with diving, the military or motor racing, Breitling has established air superiority, literally. That is true even in the contemporary brand, which has undergone plenty of changes in recent years.
The Breitling Super AVI lands with five new references, all chronographs with GMT. These are inspired by just one watch, the original 1953 “Co-Pilot” Ref. 765 AVI aviator’s watch, and four planes: the North American Aviation P-51 Mustang, the Vought F4U Corsair, the Curtiss P-40 Warhawk, and the de Havilland Mosquito. This is as hardcore as Breitling has gotten in recent memory about aviation-themed watches.
This is not to suggest that Breitling has been quiet. The watchmaker regularly boosts the conversation about its timepieces, whether it is a cool video with CEO Georges Kern travelling through time to meet the key Breitling family members, or an extensive behind the scenes commentary on a new advertising campaign. Some commentators, WatchPro for one, have wondered aloud if Breitling had forgotten its core audience of aviation-loving watch enthusiasts and collectors. Regardless of where you stand on that, you will probably agree that the Breitling Super AVI will satisfy this group; we certainly think so!
To get into the watches briefly to start, they are all 46mm chronographs with GMT central hands, and the movement is the automatic B04, as you might have guessed if you are a chronograph or Breitling aficionado. You might also recall a reissue of Ref. 765 in 2020 that shared the same characteristics. Apparently demand is so strong for that piece that Breitling responded immediately with these five references. Well, immediately is quite relative in watchmaking, but Breitling has done exceptionally well to deliver a full set of well-thought through and executed models here.
There are actually four proper models, with the Super AVI P-51 Mustang version boasting two options. As the name suggests, this watch is a tribute to what is arguably the best all-around fighter plane of its day. This model is available in stainless steel with a black dial and brown leather strap, and red gold with anthracite dial and a black leather strap.
Breitling Super AVI P-51 Mustang. Image: Breitling
For more tone on tone fun, the Super AVI Tribute to Vought F4U Corsair goes with a blue dial and chronograph counters. This is paired with a black leather strap; the colour scheme matches the livery of its namesake naval aircraft.
Breitling Super AVI Tribute to Vought F4U Corsair. Image: Breitling
The Super AVI Mosquito introduces mixed materials with a combination of polished steel and satin-brushed black ceramic bezel insert — it is the only one of the four models with such a bezel insert. In this model, contrast leads the way, with a black dial framing white chronograph counters. Breitling says the red and orange elements recall the roundels and markings on the plane, dubbed the “Wooden Wonder”. We shall have to see this in person, but the effect on the Super AVI is very fetching indeed, even if we have only seen publicity images.
Breitling Super AVI Mosquito. Image: Breitling
The Super AVI Curtiss Warhawk also echoes these contrasting tones, but eschews the bezel insert. It is very much like the other three models in going with a pure steel bidirectional ratcheted bezel. Here the dial is military green and the chronograph counters are in white, with similar red markings on the Mosquito. The effect is also charming, but once again we must refrain from a final judgment till we see the watches in person.
Breitling Super AVI Curtiss Warhawk. Image: Breitling
We close with the words of Kern himself. “This collection embodies that sense of nostalgia for the early days of aviation when pilots relied on their watches as onboard tools. But you don’t have to be a pilot off vintage-aircraft buff to appreciate exceptional craftsmanship and rugged design.”
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