Breitling Calls On Classic American War Planes For New Super AVI Collection

Breitling held their fall Summit this week in Dallas, where they introduced a new Super AVI collection alongside a slew of classic American war planes at the National Aviation Education Center. The AVI is not a new name for Breitling, and the latest collection draws from the original 1953 “Co-Pilot” Ref. 765 AVI aviator’s watch, as well as 4 very distinctive planes with unique colorways. The 4 planes have spawned 4 watches in steel, and a 5th in red gold. All feature the brand’s B04 automatic chronograph movement with GMT hand. We were on hand in Dallas to see the watches, and the planes that inspired them. 

These watches are unmistakably Breitling, with bold graphic dials and enormous, 46mm cases. As impractical as they may be when it comes to their ergonomics (on my wrist, at least), they are undoubtedly fun in their approach to creating a stylish, functional pilot’s watch. As a non-pilot, I am unable to comment on their practicality in use while flying, however in speaking to the actual pilots that flew the P-51 Mustang, Vought F4U Corsair, Curtiss P-40 Warhawk, and Mosquito to Dallas for the event, I was assured they were perfectly suited to their tasks and unique needs at the stick (yoke?).

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According to one of them, the watch is much easier to read at a glance than other chronographs he’d flown with, and as worn on the underside of the wrist, allows him to quickly make fuel and time calculations. Now, piloting WWII era war planes is a rather specific use case for these, but one that they are uniquely, and appropriately, suited for. Think of them as Deep Sea Sea-Dwellers, for the sky. As uh… robust as their proportions may be (46×15.9mm), they are quite handsome (to my eye), and certainly not unwearable. 

 

The first is the Super AVI P-51 Mustang, which is the most old-school looking of the bunch, though none are straight up vintage inspired – these are modern watches through and through. The color scheme is black with white markings filled with brown lume that glows green. The P-51 Mustang was amongst the best all-around fighters, and was built in just 120 days by North American Aviation, first taking flight in 1940. This watch also gets a red gold variant with an anthracite dial and black sub dials. 

Next, the Super AVI Tribute to Vought F4U Corsair gets a rich blue tone on tone dial and pure white markers and lume. This is the cleanest looking of the bunch, taking inspiration from the Vought F4U Corsair, a plane that featured a bent wing design and featured heavily on aircraft carriers and remote landing strips. It was also the first single-engined fighter plane to break 400mph.

You knew a green dial would be in the cards here, and that honor falls to the Super AVI Curtiss Warhawk, which goes with military green against white sub dials and white lume. Red accents appear in the minute register, accenting the red tipped GMT hand seen on each of the watches. The Curtiss P-40 Warhawk features the shark-mouth nose art, helping cool the liquid radiators of the powerful engine. 

Finally, the Super AVI Mosquito gets the most sporting colorway with a black and white dial with red hands, and a black bidirectional bezel with red triangle at 12. This model takes its name from the “Wooden Wonder”, the de Havilland Mosquito, which served a variety of functions from light bomber, to photo reconnaissance.

Each of the watches gets a dial matched date window nestled neatly at 6 o’clock, almost disappearing within the hour totalizer. Each also received an exhibition caseback with an etching of the plane that inspired it. A stitched leather strap ties the whole thing together and makes for a surprisingly comfortable fit on the wrist. Well, as comfortable as a 46×15.9mm watch can be, at least.

In creating these watches, Breitling brought these 4 planes together in the sky, flying them in formation for the first time. Each represents one of exceedingly limited examples left in flight-ready condition, appearing annually at shows and institutions such as the NAEC. They are a humbling sight to behold on the ground, and downright incredible to see in the sky, side by side. Credit to Breitling and Georges Kerns, as well as the 4 pilots and caretakers for making it happen.

The Breitling Super AVI in steel is priced from $10,100, while the Mosquito edition is priced from $10,250. The red gold P-51 Mustang is priced at $23,650. These watches are available now from Breitling retailers as well as their website. Breitling.

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Blake is a Wisconsin native who’s spent the past decade covering the people, products, and brands that make the watch world a little more interesting. Blake enjoys the practical elements that watches bring to everyday life, from modern Seikos to vintage Rolex. He is an avid writer and photographer with a penchant for classic cars, non-fiction literature, and home-built mechanical keyboards.