Breitling takes off in formation with three Avenger B01 Night Mission chronographs for elite forces in United States naval aviation. Specifically, the first two are for the test squadrons the Bloodhounds, stationed at Point Mugu, California, and the Dust Devils, based in China Lake, California. The third edition is for the US Naval Academy in a blue and gold color scheme matching the emblem at 9 o’clock. The USNA is based in Annapolis, Maryland, and is America’s flagship institution for naval training. Utilizing the newly refreshed Avenger B01 from November 2023, these new watches continue a tradition of Breitling military collaborations.

Breitling has a long history of supplying military forces with bespoke timepieces. According to the fantastic Navitimer Story book, which you can find here, Breitling’s relationship with the aeronautical world began in the 1930s. In the early days of flying, onboard chronographs were developed for aviation. The sector became so crucial that, in 1938, Willy Breitling founded the Huit Aviation Department to continuously create more accurate, legible, and reliable onboard instruments. By growing the expertise in the then-emerging field of military aviation, the technological advancements carried through into the birth of commercial and recreational air travel and beyond. While the Avenger only joined the Breitling lineup in 2001, the model has cemented itself as Breitling’s de facto military offering.

Breitling_Avenger B01 Chronograph 44 Night Mission USN Bloodhounds and Dust Devils Editions (left to right)

Breitling Avenger B01 Chronograph 44 Night Mission USN Bloodhounds and Dust Devils Editions (left to right)

Breitling Avenger B01 Chronograph 44 Night Mission

Breitling’s military department is not as overt as that of some brands. Often, the watches are shrouded in secrecy rather than used as a marketing hook. Typically, these sporty watches honor specific regiments or get deployed to active duty. However, these three new watches are available to civilians and those within the squadrons. The Avenger’s rugged, functional case design and fuss-free dial lend themselves to high performance. The easy-grip unidirectional bezel with four rider tabs works well in all scenarios, and the 300m water resistance rating is a nice bonus. Interestingly, the brushed black ceramic case has a potentially brittle quality that may not meet modern cockpits’ demands. However, the matte black material is very resistant to scratches and looks fantastic, especially with each elite squadron’s emblematic colors.

For the Dust Devils, the color scheme is red and black for a stealthy look. The USNA edition receives a striking blue dial with gold accents on the rehaut, sub-dials, and chronograph seconds hand tip. Yet, my favorite from the bunch is the anthracite and yellow for the Bloodhounds squadron. I particularly like the matte gray dial matching the solid titanium chronograph pushers and crown. Yes, the insignia at 9 o’clock is quite loud, but it is in keeping with the overall aesthetic, and that is how US patches tend to look. Continuing the yellow accents with the 22mm military calfskin leather strap stitching is also an inspired choice. Completing the loop is the titanium folding buckle clasp with the Breitling logo engraving.

Breitling Avenger B01 Chronograph 44 Night Mission US Naval Academy_ref. SB01474A1C1X1

Other specifications and thoughts

Like military operations, this release almost went under the radar, but I was keen to look at these new watches. Outside of the new squadron logos, the specifications remain the same as the previously covered Red Arrows edition. The watches house the COSC-certified automatic chronograph B01 movement with a column wheel, vertical clutch, and 70-hour power reserve. Just this year, I visited the fabulous Breitling Chronométrie in La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland, where this bespoke caliber is manufactured. The efficient yet meticulous approach to creating each caliber is impressive, reflecting the high performance. The 44 × 15.2mm black ceramic case also shares its dimension with the new steel Avenger Chronograph, making it slightly smaller and slimmer than the outgoing 45 × 16.46mm references.

However, there are a couple of setbacks with these new releases. First, the pricing seems a little inconsistent. For example, the new Avenger lineup from last year included the longstanding “Night Mission” edition with a yellow dial for £7,650. With the Red Arrows starting in May this year, the price bumped to £7,950 despite being non-limited. Now these US Navy aviation models sit at £8,200. That’s a £550 difference, and I struggle to comprehend what alters the price other than the dial palette and engraving on the rim of the case back. Georges Kern does like to remind me that I shouldn’t be so rational with watches, but it is worth pointing out to prospective buyers.

Breitling Avenger B01 Chronograph 44 Night Mission USN Dust Devils ref. SB01473A1B1X1

Bring back the wings

Second, since the Avenger stems from the early 2000s, the Breitling wings logo should be applied to the new Avenger. I’ve heard all the arguments about consistent branding and heritage, but this model did not exist at the time of the stylized “B” logo. Furthermore, the Avenger is a product of the Schneider era, which should use the wings logo introduced in 1985 out of respect. Not only would it be more honorable but it would also be an aesthetic improvement to balance the top half of the dial with the sub-dials. I’ve brought this up many times with Breitling personnel, even on my recent visits, but it was brushed aside.

Breitling Avenger B01 Chronograph 44 Night Mission USN Bloodhounds ref. SB01472A1B1X1

So, instead, I am using this moment as an impassioned plea. Breitling, please return the wings logo to the Avenger, as seen with the Aerospace and Endurance Pro.

Visit the Breitling website here for further information on the new Avenger editions. Despite the US-centric identity, these watches are available worldwide in Breitling boutiques and authorized dealers.

Breitling Avenger B01 Chronograph 44 Night Mission US Naval Academy ref. SB01474A1C1X1

What are your thoughts on these new watches? Should Breitling bring back the wings logo for the Avenger? Comment below, and let me know.

Watch specifications

Avenger B01 Chronograph 44 Night Mission
SB01474A1C1X1 (US Naval Academy) / SB01472A1B1X1 (USN Bloodhounds) / SB01473A1B1X1 (USN Dust Devils)
Blue with and gold-colored accents (US Naval Academy), anthracite yellow accents (USN Bloodhounds), or black with red accents (USN Dust Devils), all with black sub-dials and applied luminous indexes
Case Material
Black ceramic with titanium crown and pushers
Case Dimensions
44mm (diameter) × 53mm (lug-to-lug) × 15.2mm (thickness)
Sapphire with antireflective coating on both sides
Case Back
Titanium and sapphire crystal, screw-in
Breitling 01: manufacture caliber, automatic chronograph with manual winding and hacking, 28,800vph frequency, 70-hour power reserve, 47 jewels, column wheel, vertical clutch, COSC-certified chronometer
Water Resistance
300 meters
Black or blue military leather (22/20mm) with titanium folding clasp
Time (hours, minutes, small seconds), chronograph (12-hour and 30-minute registers, central seconds), date, 60-minute unidirectional timing bezel
£8,200 / €9,400 / US$10,200