AVI-8 has released their latest aviation inspired limited edition, and this one is the second and final watch that the brand has made as a tribute to the 50th anniversary of Transatlantic Air Race from London to New York. That race was won by Tom Lecky-Thompson, who piloted his Harrier XV741 to victory in 1969. The Hawker Harrier XV741 Blue Nylon Limited Edition, like all AVI-8 watches, pays homage to the plane that inspired it with both very obvious and far more subtle details, and this release even contains a small piece of Lecky-Thompson’s plane, making it a true collectible for aviation and watch enthusiasts alike.
The basic premise of AVI-8’s watches is to take a standard pilot’s watch format (big case, big numerals and hour markers, and large hands that make legibility a snap) and then transform it into something that honors a specific aircraft. This can be done in a number of ways, from color choices on a dial, to representations of the plane’s various instruments, with everything rendered with a level of detail that is of particular interest to anyone with an interest in the history of aviation. These watches also function as teaching tools for anyone interested in these historic planes, and they are meant to hold up as useful, attractive watches made in a contemporary style that you’ll actually want to wear. They’re not for everyone, but they fill a niche in the watch world very nicely, and the brand seems to have a genuine interest in helping the broader watch buying public to better understand these planes and the stories behind them.
With the Hawker Harrier XV741 Blue Nylon watch seen here, Avi-8 has stuck to this formula. First and foremost, and likely of the highest interest to collectors, is the piece of the fuselage from the Harrier XV741 that has been placed behind the 12 hour index (here, represented as a zero). Additionally, the winding rotor and chapter ring have been modeled on the turbine of the Rolls Royce Pegasus engine that powered the XV741, and an etching on the caseband references the takeoff and landing coordinates of the Transatlantic Air Race.
This watch features a 24 hour scale at 9:00 (not a second time zone, but more of a day/night indicator), and the shape of that subdial matches the shape of the cockpit of the XV741. This is the sort of subtle design choice that doesn’t scream “aviation inspired” but will perhaps please those who already have a working knowledge of Harrier jets. On the other end of the spectrum, text on the running seconds display reads “11.29 miles,” a reference to the average distance Lecky-Thompson covered every minute of his journey (this equates to approximately 677.5 miles per hour).
The Hawker Harrier XV741 Blue Nylon, like other Avi-8 watches, is quite imposing at 44mm in diameter. While certainly a large watch, it fits with the contemporary pilot’s watch aesthetic, and offers an expansive canvas for the small details that make this watch what it is. The “Blue Nylon” designation in the watch’s name is a reference to the code word used for the XV741’s participation in the race, and naturally the watch is fitted to a leather backed blue nylon strap. The watch is powered by a Miyota 8S27 movement, and carries a retail price of $495. AVI-8