Just two years ago, Breitling relaunched a piece of its history with the return of a line of pilot’s watches inspired by legendary military planes called the Super AVI. The very first AVI model the brand ever made, the Ref. 765 AVI, hailed from 1953 and now, seven decades later, Breitling is expanding the line with three new models based the original.
The first iteration within the trio is the Classic AVI, which puts a universal spin on the rugged aviator’s chronograph. This model most closely aligns with the original Ref. 765 AVI. It notably lacks the GMT function that has given previous models in the revamped Super AVI collection a substantial 46 mm build and instead offers more accessible sizing of just 42 mm. Alternatively, the Classic AVI comes equipped with Breitling’s caliber 23 chronograph movement and comes in four style variations coinciding with the four legendary planes: the North American Aviation P-51 Mustang, the Vought F4U Corsair, the Curtiss P-40 Warhawk, and the de Havilland Mosquito.
“People love the sturdy, understated look of the Super AVI, but not everyone has the wrist to pull off the extra-large size that gives it its authentic tool-watch feel,” says Breitling CEO Georges Kern. “The Classic AVI trades some functions to achieve the pared-down format our customers have been asking for. The Classic and Super models will now live side by side, providing more choice.”
Next in the lineup, we have the Mosquito Night Fighter. This model pays tribute to a variation of the Mosquito aircraft called the Night Fighter 2, an all-black two-seater aircraft meant to slip stealthily through the night sky. Here, we see the aesthetic of the plane reflected in the watch’s all-black composition, featuring a black ceramic case and black dial with anthracite subdials, complete with a black military leather strap. Offering GMT functionality thanks to Breitling’s COSC-certified caliber B04 movement, the Mosquito Night Fighter boasts the heftier 46mm proportions of previous models in the Super AVI collection.
The third model in the trio is a faithful re-edition of the 1964 edition of the ref. 765 AVI. By the 1960’s, the original AVI collection had progressed from a true pilot’s tool to an element of style sported on the wrists of prominent celebrities and sports stars of the era, including the French skier Jean-Claude Killy, who famously wore his AVI when he won gold in all three alpine skiing events at the 1968 Winter Olympic Games. The new 1964 Re-Edition honors the evolution of the AVI from a utilitarian pilot’s instrument to a statement piece for everyday wear. With this model, Breitling has taken extreme attention to detail with its reverse panda dial and a true-to-the time hesalite crystal, as well as the baton indexes and lumed pencil hands used on the original. However, the brand has also included a few updates, like the durable amorphous diamond-like carbon (ADLC) coating that gives the bezel its black finish. Inside, you’ll find the manually wound caliber B09 to further preserve the watch’s vintage character.
“Everything about this re-edition is so Breitling because you can see our aviation tool-watch roots coming through, yet it’s precisely that simplicity that gives it its universal appeal,” adds Kern. “That’s also why the AVI, in all its forms, has stood the test of time to become one of our most emblematic collections.”
Each of the three new AVI models are available today. The Classi AVI ranges from $5,800 to $38,200, depending on the style choice. Alternatively, the Mosquito Night Fighter is priced at $12,100, and the 1964 Re-Edition, which is a numbered limited edition of 164 pieces, is priced at $9,050. For more information and to purchase, please visit the Breitling website.