At Breitling’s Los Angeles Summit this past September, the Swiss brand debuted a number of different models (including an all-new Avenger collection) and showcased many of its already popular designs. But one watch unveiled at the event seemed to stand out in the crowd: the new Aviator 8 B01 Chronograph 43 Mosquito. The new watch was above all praised for its attractive color scheme, effectively based on the already fashionable Aviator 8 B01 Chronograph design, and bringing together interesting elements of vintage and modern styles.
Breitling has, in recent years especially, taken to naming its newest models after famous planes, and this new Aviator 8 Mosquito is no different. This model is named after the British de Havilland Mosquito aircraft, which was a versatile plane built between the 1940s and ‘50s and used in a variety of roles from bomber, to fighter, to reconnaissance, and finally to passenger transport. The plane is lesser known than the famed British Spitfire jet from the same era, but nonetheless served with distinction in the Second World War. It eventually became known as the “Wooden Wonder” for its lightweight plywood and balsa wood composite construction, making it one of the fastest planes of the era while also offering a weary Britain a useful alternative plane in the face of widespread aluminum shortages. Breitling has said the new Mosquito watch holds a similar ethos of versatility and functionality, being a hardy chronograph ready and able for a variety of jobs.
The new Aviator 8 features a 43-mm steel case complete with pump pushers, screw-down crown, and a black satin-brushed ADLC (amorphous diamond-like carbon) bezel with printed white Arabic numerals and markers, alongside a small red triangle at its top. The dial of the watch uses a stylized racing-style minute ring on its outer edge, with faux patina triangles at each hour pointing to its corresponding minute value. At most hours are prominent white Arabic numerals, while at the 3 o’clock, 6 o’clock, and 9 o’clock positions are the three subdials for a 30-minute chronograph counter, 12-hour chronograph counter, and running seconds counter, respectively. Each of these subdials uses a different design, with the 30-minute counter sticking out most obviously for it use of an orange hand, alternating red-and-silver color scheme, and unique 5-minute markers, all of which allude to the watch’s vintage inspirations. Passing over the dial are two sword hands and a slim arrow hand with a Breitling “B” counterweight for the chronograph seconds, each of which is only partially painted using an orange color matching the subdial’s hands.
As in all the B01 Chronograph 43 models, inside the watch is the Breitling manufacture Calibre 01, an automatic, in-house movement developed by the brand and capable of a 70-hour power reserve. This watch follows a trend Breitling has established for many of its more utilitarian models, with the movement being protected by a solid caseback.
Overall, the design is well integrated and clearly optimized for legibility, playing host to a lot of different features but maintaining a balanced look through its multiple colors, Super-LumiNova accents, and asymmetrical layout. It even does well in subtly hiding the 4:30 date window, which could have easily become a distraction on the busy dial.
While its namesake alluding to the ‘40s and ‘50s, the Mosquito’s Aviator 8 B01 Chronograph 43 design has been commonly cited as being inspired by Breitling’s 765-CP watch, aka the Co-Pilot Chronograph, which was a pilot’s chronograph developed and released by the brand in the 1960s (picture above, via Analog/Shift). The similarities between the modern and vintage designs are clear in the pump pushers and thin rotating bezel with simple Arabic numerals and red triangle on the case. Other influences can be found in the dial’s outer racing minute ring, the small triangles for the hours, the distinctive design for the 3 o’clock subdial, and the sword-style hands.
All the model’s vintage details come together excellently in the Aviator 8 B01 Chronograph 43’s overall package. These details, in combination with the model’s modern aesthetic, owing to the materials, design, finishing, and color scheme, make it special not only in Breitling’s lineup, but in the larger arena of luxury pilots’ chronograph watches.
The new Aviator 8 Mosquito comes standard on a double stitched brown leather strap, and currently retails online and through Breitling boutiques worldwide starting at $7,710.