Hot Take: The Breitling Super AVI B04 Chronograph GMT 46 — Five Tough Pilot Chronographs
Using the original 1953 Co-Pilot ref.765 AVI as its base, Breitling is releasing five chronographs inspired by four iconic fighter planes — the P-51 Mustang, the Vought F4U Corsair, the battle-ready Curtiss P-40 Warhawk, and a British icon, the de Havilland Mosquito. For those of you with a strong visual memory, yes, these are similar to the AVI ref.765 1953 re-edition from last year. These ones, however, are on a bulk-up diet. I crushed on the 1953 re-edition and felt its 41mm size to be a perfect contemporary update. But these are big — very big — and I’m slightly confused as to why.
Their functionality is top tier, with the COSC-rated B04 caliber and a GMT function. Fresh, popping red on black hands brightens up the monochrome dials, matched to red details on the Curtiss Warhawk and Mosquito references. The Mosquito even has cool red-framed hands to brighten up your day (or mission, that is). Super AVI is yet another evocative name, and Breitling returns to its aeronautical roots like a bang through the sound barrier.
Brushed tool-like cases combine with the zing of polished timing bezels, reminiscent of the Breguet Type XX in their design. With no less than five references, these will be Breitling’s most important releases this year. But if your wrists are anything like my small-to-medium-sized ones, get to the gym and start those forearm curls. Yes, every day, and get some protein shakes too. The watches look really good, Breitling, so kudos to you for the design. But as I read the press release with a befuddled look on my face, it became clear to me that some Swiss slide rules might need recalibrating.
Vintage cool made big
The size is, well, considerable. But the design? As I said, I was a big fan of the AVI ref.765 1953 reissue earlier this year. It was a matte-dialed ’50s tool watch with just the right touch of beige lume to re-heat my love for vintage. The black-dialed P-51 Mustang Super AVI B04 Chronograph GMT 46 has the same crisp look, a sharp polished bezel, and a brushed case. But hang on. The AVI ref.765 1953 reissue was 41mm, and this is, no, surely not. It’s 46mm. That is a considerable piece of wrist area needed.
You might look like did when you borrowed your dad’s watch at six years old. I’ll be that six-year-old then, as my wrist is just about right for the 41mm. As a personal choice, I’m still infatuated with the Premier Chronograph 40, in that lovely pistachio green. But size doesn’t matter, right? Or does that just apply to reduction (innuendos not intended)?
The allure of gold
But these babies, with a 16mm thickness are way too much for this writer’s “spindly” wrists. At around 7″ in circumference, my wrists are quite average, or so I tell myself. I’d have to forget about shirts altogether unless someone invented elasticated dress shirt cuffs. First-world problems, perhaps, but still. The blue dial is just as delectable, and that perfect mid-blue with a silky matte surface treatment is enough to make me forget about sizing. Yes, Breitling has colors and finishes down to peak-perfect vintage here, and there’s even a matte grey ton sur ton dial within an absolutely stunning 18K red gold case.
To make it even sharper and increase legibility over black registers, they’ve made a discreet reverse panda. Well, as discreet as a whopping 46mm red gold case can be.
Comfortable for action heroes
With its lovely, stitched 24mm pilot’s strap, the P-51 Mustang in solid gold will be comfortable on Dwayne Johnson. But even he will feel the weight of 46×16mm of precious metal. It provides a lovely feeling of opulence, though, and I do love the suave two-tone dial.
All the Super AVI GMT 46 references are visually rather lovely, and the GMT function puts them ahead of the 1953 reissue on the table of contemporary functionality. But seriously, at least two of these would be on my wish list if they didn’t make me feel like a sissy googling “What is an average wrist thickness?” The answer is 7.25″, and mine is a bit less, at 7″. So there. Not 9″, not 10″, and definitely not the color green.
There you have it — not one, but five new supersized watches from Breitling! Prices range from €9,600 to €9,700 for the stainless steel models, and €22,400 for the 18K gold model. This will be a Boutique/e-commerce exclusive available from February 2022 onwards. For more information, I would advise that you set your eyes upon the Breitling site here.
And as always, I’d love to know what you think of the latest of Breitling’s offerings. Leave your thoughts in the comments below!