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Revisiting the Fifties: Breitling Launches the AVI Ref. 765 1953 Re-Edition


On the heels of its popular Navitimer Ref. 809 1959 Re-Edition, Breitling continues to grow its stable of pilots’ watches inspired by vintage models. The latest, which debuted last week, is the AVI Ref. 765 1953 Re-Edition, channeling the design of the original 1950s Co-Pilot watch (vintage watch pictured below) and representing, in fact, only the second official re-issue by the Swiss brand.

Since its initial drop, the AVI 765 1953 has been a quick hit among watch media, reviving a cherished design from Breitling’s rich archives and providing collectors a unique model within Breitling’s modern lineup. Interestingly enough, the vintage Co-Pilot was itself based upon onboard clocks designed and produced by the brand in the 1930s and 1940s — the same clocks from which Breitling took inspiration in designing its contemporary Aviator 8 series of Navitimer wristwatches. The new AVI 765 1953 is only being released in limited editions, but in three different materials with various colorways.

The timepiece will be available in steel, platinum, and rose gold cases, all at 41.1 mm in diameter. The case has sharp lugs that evoke those found on 1950s pilot watches, and uses vintage-style (read: small) pump pushers with a push/pull crown. Surrounding the dial is a metal, bidirectional rotating bezel marked with Arabic numerals for each hour, while protecting it is a domed hesalite crystal, hesalite being a more period-accurate material than the sapphire more commonly used on watch crystals today.

The dial of the AVI 765 1953 is black on the rose-gold and steel models, and  deep blue on the platinum version, though the configuration and faux-patina accents on each remain the same. On the external portions of the dial is a subtle chronograph-style minute ring, marked at each five minutes with small Arabic numerals, while within these markers are oversized Arabic numerals accented with Super-LumiNova. As for its subdials, we find an unusual 15-minute chronograph counter, riffing off the original’s, at the 3 o’clock position, along with a 12-hour counter and running seconds indicator at the 6 and 9 o’clock positions, respectively. Passing over the dial are two syringe-style hands common to 1950s pilots watches, while a thin, diamond-tipped hand counts the stopwatch seconds.

Powering this vintage re-issue is Breitling Caliber B09, a COSC-certified, manually-wound movement with an impressive 70-hour power reserve; it’s protected by a solid caseback engraved with the watch’s details. Interestingly, the steel model is the only version to use a screwed case back while the two precious-metal versions use the older snap-back style, though each maintain the same water resistance, up to 3 bar (30 meters/100 feet).

AVI Ref. 765 1953 Re-Edition

The AVI Ref. 765 1953 Re-Edition will be available in limited quantities, with 1,953 pieces in steel, 253 in rose gold, and 153 in platinum planned for production. Pricing currently stands at $8,600 for steel, $22,850 for rose gold, and $39,900 for platinum. Ordering for the watches can be done directly through Breitling’s website, with the first batch expected to ship in April 2020.

AVI Ref. 765 1953 Re-Edition – original vs. re-edition (left to right)

Hands-On Pictures:

3 Responses to “Revisiting the Fifties: Breitling Launches the AVI Ref. 765 1953 Re-Edition”

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  1. PitBullCH

    Wow – that rare thing: a Breitling I could actually like ! Usually they are overly fussy and not really clear to read, but these are good. Colour me interested !

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  2. Peter Currer

    I concur, sapphire at this price, even if it is a departure from the original model.

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  3. Jerry Hom

    Interesting and lovely watch from one of my favourite manufacturers. I was dropping off a SuperOcean Heritage chronograph for service at the Breitling Service/ Head office here in Toronto last month when chatting with the staff about some desirable watches that might be introduced to tempt the watch collector. My personal opinion was the issue of a no frills steel version of the Chronomat but this is even more seductive but too similar to Longines Big Eye which retails for a great deal less coin. Hesalite crystals may be more accurate to the vintage inspired models but personally is a deal breaker. I recently avoided the purchase of a terrific manual wind limited edition Panerai watch because of the hesalite crystal on the watch.

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