This article is from the WatchTime archives and was first published in 2020.
Wow, that’s hot! Show up wearing the Breitling Avenger Chronograph 45 Night Mission, and that’s how you’ll be greeted. This chronograph is one of 14 models presented in fall 2019 as the reinvigorated and streamlined Avenger collection, including four watches that replace the former Colt collection.
Such enthusiasm for our test watch! It’s no doubt because of its sporty, striking design with a military green dial and strap as well as its dark coated case, which gave the watch its “Night Mission” name. Everything about it exudes strength and robustness: the wide stepped bezel, the sturdy ringed chronograph pushers, the large screw-down crown with crown guard, the striking hour markers and the calfskin strap with an industrial-looking embossed pattern.
Size alone is not the determining factor in making its powerful impression – even though the watch measures 45 mm across and a strapping 16.5 mm in height, neither dimension is really all that noticeable and surprisingly, the wearing comfort is still great. With its smooth underside, supple leather strap and flat buckle, the watch fits snugly on the wrist. Of course, the light 120-gram weight also plays a role, thanks to Breitling’s use of titanium.
A Striking Design
The solid watch case has a DLC (diamond-like carbon) coating that increases the surface hardness and adds to the industrial/military look of the watch. The carbon coating Breitling uses is more anthracite in color than pure black and is a better match with the khaki green components.
The brushed finish on the case fits the overall military design of the watch. There’s only one minor drawback: despite the matte surface, it’s still possible to see fingerprints here and there, and they’re more difficult to wipe off the stepped bezel than they would be with a simpler case design.
The dial stands out with the military-look numerals that have been an iconic part of the Avenger collection from the outset. Such stenciled numerals are painted on military vehicles and other equipment – the vertical line you see here on the 0, 4, and 8 is a typical feature.
Numerals, hands, and the luminous dot on the unidirectional rotating bezel glow brightly at night, so legibility is guaranteed for many hours. It is just as easy to read the time during the day as at night — at least approximately, because the minutes track around the edge of the dial is extremely fine and doesn’t offer a great deal of contrast to the dark khaki green background. There is also a lack of contrast in the dark gray chronograph hands, so legibility is reduced here as well.
Overall finishing is excellent and designed for functionality. Thanks to a high water resistance of up to 300 meters and the unidirectional bezel and luminous dot, this pilots’ watch (with a different strap, of course) can also be used as a dive watch. The pronounced structure on the bezel makes it easy to grasp and sturdy guard rings protect the chronograph pushers from damage from side impacts. The caseback is simple — solid titanium with beige-enhanced engraving of the Breitling name and watch specs.
A Solid Movement
The chronograph is easy to start, stop and reset. Maybe a little too easy — crisper pressure points would be a better fit for the powerful appearance of the new Avenger.
Breitling submits 100 percent of its watches for chronometer certification so the new Avenger encases the Breitling 13 caliber based on the Sellita automatic SW500 “Chronomètre,” the highest of its three quality categories.
The official Swiss testing agency COSC confirms that the movement runs at a rate of between -4 and +6 seconds per day in five positions while the chronograph is engaged. We also checked the sixth position known as “crown right,” the most common position when looking directly at a watch, and often the position when a watch rests on a watch winder for several hours. The electronic timing machine showed an acceptable average daily rate of +4.7 seconds and a small maximum difference between the individual positions of 6 seconds. This was confirmed during our real-life test on the wrist where the Avenger gained almost 5 seconds per day.
The only fault found in the otherwise sturdy and accurate chronograph movement is the detectable play in the hands of our test watch when setting the time. To compensate for the slack, it’s important to advance the minutes hand forward first and then move it backward to set the exact time so the hand will engage properly upon returning the crown to its locked position and as the movement begins to run.
Good Overall Impression
All in all, the test confirmed our first impression. Breitling has created a sturdy sports watch that is suitable for everyday wear, and whose design is in harmony with its functionality. The design, finishing, comfort and ease-of-use of this new model are particularly pleasing, and the only real drawback is the difficulty in reading the elapsed time.
The Avenger Chronograph 45 Night Mission is therefore the right companion for sports and everyday missions, whether by day or, as the name suggests, by night.
Manufacturer: Breitling Chronometrie, Allée du Laser 10, 2300 La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland
Reference number: V13317101L1X1
Functions: Hours, minutes, small seconds, chronograph with seconds, 30-minute and 12-hour counters, date
Movement: Breitling 13 based on Sellita SW500 “Chronomètre,” automatic, chronometer, 28,800 vph, 25 jewels, hack mechanism, quick date adjustment, eccentric fine regulator, Incabloc shock absorber, Glucydur balance, 48-hour power reserve, diameter= 30 mm, height = 7.9 mm
Case: DLC (diamond-like carbon) coated titanium, unidirectional rotating bezel, curved sapphire crystal with anti-glare coating on both sides, screw-down crown, fully threaded DLC-coated titanium caseback, water resistant to 30 meters
Strap and clasp: Calfskin strap with DLC-coated titanium pin buckle
Rate results (Deviation in seconds per 24 hours, chronograph switched off/on):
Dial up +4 / +5
Dial down +7 / +8
Crown up +6 / +6
Crown down +4 / +6
Crown left +6 / +4
Crown right +1 / +5
Greatest deviation 6 / 4
Average deviation +4.7 / +5.7
Flat positions 301° / 280°
Hanging positions 282° / 256°
Dimensions: Diameter = 45 mm, height = 16.5 mm, weight = 120 g
Variations: With black dial and strap with pin buckle (Ref. V13317101B1X1, $5,835); with khaki green dial and safety folding clasp (Ref. V13317101L1X2, $6,035)
Strap and clasp (max. 10 points): The calfskin strap with textile-like embossed pattern and the black-coated pin buckle are well made. 8
Operation (5): Hack mechanism, quick-date adjustment, large crown and a stepped rotating bezel make operation easy. 5
Case (10): The case is well executed, is water resistant to 300 meters and has sturdy protective pusher rings. The caliber based on a supplied movement explains a solid caseback. 8
Design (15): The new Avenger is an impressive sports watch. The blue anti-glare coating on the crystal detracts from an otherwise green watch. 13
Legibility (5): The hands for the time and hour markers are easy to discern both day and night, but the discreet tracks and the chronograph hands do not stand out enough from the background. 3
Wearing comfort (10): Surprisingly, this large and bulky sports watch is perfectly comfortable to wear. 10
Movement (20): The chronometer-certified Breitling 13 based on the Sellita SW500 has decorative finishes on all visible surfaces and gold-enhanced engraving on the rotor. 14
Rate results (10): The rate results meet chronometer standards. 8
Overall value (15): The price is largely justified by the numerous updates in design, finishing and ease of operation. 12
Total: 81 POINTS