It’s always a big deal when one of the famous names in Swiss watchmaking releases a bunch of new models and that’s certainly true with Breitling’s latest announcement. As you’d expect from a brand famed for its aviation heritage, each of the new watches references the history of flight. Four of the new releases are inspired by classic aircraft, there’s a stunning black ceramic version of an existing model and a very limited edition remake that will have watch enthusiasts more than a little excited.
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These latest releases from Breitling – seven watches in total – are part of a lineage that is worth mentioning. Since the 30s Breitling established itself as a leading name in the world of pilot’s watches and by the 50s was a supplier to some of the world’s largest airlines. 1952 saw the debut of its iconic Navitimer model and then a year later the Ref. 765 AVI, a pilot’s chronograph with a rotating 12-hour bezel. It’s that watch which is the precursor of these latest models. It was an easy-to-operate and highly legible chronograph that also inspired 2021’s 46mm behemoth, the Super Avi.
So where do these latest models sit in this family of aviation timepieces? For watch fans with modestly sized wrists, Breitling has answered our prayers. The new Breitling Classic Avi Chronograph takes the aesthetics of the larger Super Avi and repackages it in a modestly-sized 42mm case. The Super Avi came in four variations, each one built in tribute to one of history’s greatest aircraft. These latest releases stick with that theme and the corresponding colourways.
The Classic Avi Chronograph forgoes the GMT function of the Super Avi, ensuring that the watch not only has a smaller diameter but also comes in at a slim 14.7mm in height. The model built in tribute to America’s P-51 Mustang features a black dial and is the only model available in two case variations – either stainless steel or red gold. There’s a blue dial version that takes inspiration from the Vought F4U Corsair, an aircraft used by the U.S. Navy.
There’s also a militaristic khaki model that emulates the camouflage of the Curtiss P-40 Warhawk and an eye-catching reverse panda-dial model that references the de Havilland Mosquito. The 42mm version of the Breitling Classic Avi Chronograph offers more versatility than the Super Avi and comes equipped with the B23 movement and 100M of water resistance.
But don’t worry, if large watches are your thing, the chunky 46mm Super Avi is still available. Indeed, one of the new models to drop is a blacked-out version of the Super Avi. Crafted from black ceramic and powered by Breitling’s in-house Calibre B04, the latest iteration pays homage to the Night Fighter 2, an all-black two-seater aircraft built from wood. The aesthetics and inspiration sit nicely alongside the Classic Avi Chronograph, but it’s a bigger and bolder watch that also boasts an additional GMT complication.
Sitting between those two watches is the last, and possibly the most memorable watch from this release. The 41mm Breitling Avi Ref. 765 1964 Re-Edition is a limited edition piece that recreates a watch from, you’ve guessed it, 1964. It’s a beautiful piece that benefits from Breitling’s attempt to remain faithful to the original. It’s a hand-winding model that features a hesalite crystal, rather than modern sapphire, and sports a black bezel made from amorphous diamond-like carbon. It’s limited to a mere 164 pieces and this is noted on the rear case of the watch. The 1964 Re-Edition rounds out an exciting collection of new Breitling models that offer a great selection of sizes and colours, all with a common vintage aviation theme.
Breitling Classic Avi Chronograph 42
Case: Stainless Steel/Red Gold
Movement: Breitling Calibre 23
Strap: Calfskin or Stainless Steel
Water Resistance: 100M
Price: From AUD $7,990
Breitling Super Avi B04 Chronograph GMT 46 Mosquito Night Fighter
Case: Black Ceramic
Movement: Breitling Manufacture Caliber B04
Strap: Black Military Calfskin
Water Resistance: 100M
Price: AUD $17,390
Breitling Avi Ref. 765 1964 Re-Edition
Case: Stainless Steel
Movement: Breitling Manufacture Calibre B09
Strap: Black Vintage-inspired Leather
Water Resistance: 30M
Price: AUD $11,790