Warplanes on the Wrist: Breitling Super AVI Collection Pays Tribute to Aviation History

In recent years, Breitling has expanded its already extensive fleet of aviation-centric timepieces to include a series of models in its Aviator 8 collection that are inspired by some of the world’s most storied aircraft, including the de Havilland Mosquito and Curtiss P-40 Warhawk. Last year, in another blast from its past, Breitling resurrected a beloved model from 1953, the so-called “Co-Pilot” watch, in the form of the AVI Ref. 765 Re-Edition. This year, these initiatives dovetail to establish the launch of an all-new watch series from Breitling, called Super AVI. Kicking it off are five timepieces with “Co-Pilot” designs, celebrating four classic planes.

The Breitling Super AVI collection

Aviation history buffs will instantly recognize the inspirations for the watches. The Super AVI P-151 Mustang is the only model available in both steel and 18k rose gold variations, while the other three are in exclusively stainless steel cases; they include the Super AVI Tribute to Vought F4U Corsair, the Super AVI Curtiss Warhawk, and the Super AVI Mosquito.

Super AVI P-51 Mustang in rose gold (left) and steel

Positioned as the “debut series” in a larger planned Classic AVI collection, the watches that comprise the Super AVI family share a host of design elements derived from the 1953 model. The cases measure 46 mm in diameter, with oversized screwed crowns and knurled bidirectionally rotating bezels; the dials and bezels feature large, legible Arabic numerals and a tricompax design for the small seconds and chronograph subdials. Beating inside all the models is Breitling’s in-house, automatic Caliber B04, which in addition to driving the timekeeping and stopwatch functions also powers a second time zone display by means of a red-tipped GMT hand and a rotating 24-hour inner bezel. The in-house movement carries a COSC chronometer certificate for accuracy and stores a 70-hour power reserve. In all the models, it is visible behind a sapphire caseback decorated with a silhouette of the watch’s namesake aircraft.

Super AVI Tribute to Vought F4U Corsair (left) and Super AVI Curtiss Warhawk

Both versions of the Super AVI P-151 Mustang (steel model pictured below) take their stylistic cues from the powerhouse aircraft regarded as the best all-around fighter plane of all time, which first took off in 1940 and was built by North American Aviation. The steel case is paired with a black dial and a golden brown leather strap, while the rose-gold version, which is exclusive to Breitling’s boutiques and online store, sports an anthracite dial and black leather strap.

Sporting a blue dial with tone-on-tone subdials and mounted on a black leather strap, the Super AVI Tribute to Vought F4U Corsair (below) adopts the livery of the World War II naval aircraft with famed “bent wing” design that became renowned as the first single-engine fighter to break the 400 mph speed barrier.

The hallmark military-green color scheme and legendary shark-mouth nose art of the Curtiss P-40 Warhawk, which first took flight in 1938, inspires the dial of the Super AVI Curtiss Warhawk watch (below), which features contrasting white subdials and red details. It comes on an aviator-style brown leather strap.

Built between 1940 and 1950, the de Havilland Mosquito was known as the “Wooden Wonder” due to its construction from wood in an era of wartime aluminum and steel shortages. The Super AVI Mosquito (below), on its brown pilot-style leather strap, takes cues from the plane’s distinctive livery, with a polished and satin-brushed black ceramic bezel and black dial with high-contrast white counters and red and orange elements.

Prices for the Breitling Super AVI collection are $10,100 for the Corsair, Curtiss Warhawk, and the Mustang in stainless steel; $10,250 for the Mosquito (presumably an upcharge for the ceramic bezel); and $23,650 for the Mustang in 18k rose gold.

The exhibition casebacks feature illustrations of the namesake aircraft.
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