First Look at the AVI-8 P-51 Mustang Automatic Bottisham Edition

AVI-8 has carved out a niche for themselves by creating watches that are directly inspired by specific aircraft. These aren’t “pilot’s watches” per say, but rather watches that share distinct design elements with the planes that they pay tribute to. The result is something that is completely unique aesthetic and a series of watches that serve as real collectibles to aviation enthusiasts in a way that a traditionally designed flight watch doesn’t. The brand’s latest release, the P-51 Mustang Automatic Bottisham Edition, takes as its inspiration one of the great fighter planes of World War II. Let’s take a closer look. 

AVI-8 P-51 Mustang Automatic Bottisham Edition

  • Case Material: Stainless steel
  • Dial: Green/Yellow (featured here); Gray/Blue; Black/Red
  • Dimensions: 43mm
  • Crystal: Sapphire 
  • Water Resistance: 5 ATM
  • Crown: Push/pull with fixed crown protector 
  • Movement: Seiko NH35 with custom rotor
  • Strap/bracelet: Leather two-piece; mil-inspired nylon
  • Price: $363-$383
  • Expected Release: Available now on AVI-8 website


First, a little history. The P-51 Mustang was built by North American Aviation, and in the 1940s was powered by the same Rolls Royce Merlin engine found in the legendary Supermarine Spitfires and Hawker Hurricanes built in Great Britain. Together, these planes had a major role in winning the Second World War, flying in Europe, the Meditteranean, and the Pacific. The P-51 Mustang was known for its supreme speed and maneuverability, and remained a mainstay in many Air Force regimens throughout the world into the 1980s. This is an aircraft that came to symbolize excellence in air fighting by the Allies during and long after World War II.

AVI-8 has created a watch in three different colorways that borrows design elements from the Mustang that students of aviation history will appreciate. The multilayer dial not only closely mimics the gauge design of the Mustang (including typography, and the sword shaped hands), but indeed the unique shape of the dashboard in the cockpit is replicated in the cutaway on the dial. This is the kind of extremely inside-baseball reference that is so specific it winds up having a subtle (and thankfully not overpowering) impact on the overall watch design. A similar nod to the Mustang can be found in the detailing on the robust crown guard — this is meant to call to mind the distinctive exhaust system on the aircraft. Again, it doesn’t scream “This comes from a plane!” but is more of an Easter egg that those in the know will find satisfying. 

The P-51 Mustang Automatic Bottisham Edition is 43mm in diameter and 13mm thick, an appropriately hefty watch for something inspired by a fighter plane. The dial layout is busy at first glance, but once you get your bearings time telling shouldn’t be an issue at all — the hands are large and easy to see, as are the minute and hour markers. Arabic numerals circle the dial, with large multi-tiered numbers at three, six, nine, and zero (twelve) indicating the hours, and minutes called off in a smaller, printed font at five-minute intervals in between. It’s essentially the same layout as the modern Rolex Air King, although on the P-51 numerals on the right side of the dial are obscured by some of the watch’s other design elements. 

Each individual P-51 Mustang is numbered, and the series is limited to a total of 1,490 pieces. It is available on a pre-sale basis right now on the AVI-8 website, with a wider release to follow. AVI-8

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Zach is a native of New Hampshire, and he has been interested in watches since the age of 13, when he walked into Macy’s and bought a gaudy, quartz, two-tone Citizen chronograph with his hard earned Bar Mitzvah money. It was lost in a move years ago, but he continues to hunt for a similar piece on eBay. Zach loves a wide variety of watches, but leans toward classic designs and proportions that have stood the test of time. He is currently obsessed with Grand Seiko.