If you’ve been looking for a go-anywhere, do-anything, super legible, satisfyingly robust, everyday timepiece for absolutely no money at all, you’re in luck. In our second watch giveaway of 2021, Avi-8 has kindly donated the Flyboy Automatic, Sydney edition for your pleasure.

I love free stuff. Who doesn’t? Unfortunately, an irksome little thing I like to call journalistic integrity prevents me from keeping a lot of the nice things that would otherwise call my watch box home. That’s good news for you lot, though! Last week, we gave away the handsome Zelos Nova to our worthy reader Luka. This time around, we have another interesting texture on the dial but, beyond that, a different proposition entirely.

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A military vibe

The design of Avi-8 watches frequently references military history. Models are often named after legends of the armed forces. Details nodding to a military association range from the minuscule (such as the counterpoise of this model) to the massive (check out the rotor weight and case flanks of the Avi-8 Spitfire I reviewed here). For fans of the Airforce, in particular, these watches are a real treat. But for those of you that don’t care so much about a watch’s inspiration, and, instead, prefer to judge a model on its looks, why should you care about the wearable wares of this surging British brand?

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Legibility front and center

I actually do have an Avi-8 Spitfire in my collection. I never ever considered buying one until I saw it in real life. On paper, that model had absolutely nothing to offer my collection. It wasn’t until I had it on my wrist that I realized the dial had four levels to it and was just about as legible a dial as I’d ever seen.

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The proud numbers are a treat. The massive hands made life easy for my ever squintier eyes. I loved the clever use of numbers on the dial, shifting from one format to another without disrupting the gaze at all. I was hopeful the same level of legibility had been achieved by the Flyboy Automatic. Happily, I came away very impressed.

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Lume on a stick

There is something incredibly satisfying about those proud numbers. To begin with, I’m a huge fan of the green/gold colorway and I think the yellowy lume was a good choice here, but it truly pops against the mottled green background thanks to standing so high above the dial on those raised lume platforms masquerading as numbers.

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We often view legibility and depth as two separate disciplines dial designers must master. Here though, I am reminded that everything about a dial is reliant on everything else. For a truly great display, you need all of the elements to be working together. I get that this rough dial texture (and it is really rough on the Sydney) is polarizing and will not tickle every fancy among the Fratelli, but it does provide a remarkably distinct base against which those yellow numbers are able to leap out towards the eye.

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A brand I have a lot of time for

All brands are different. And I’m not talking about their watches. Of course, the style and quality of products varies wildly. But beyond the analyzable articles a brand sends to market, the way a company is run behind the scenes can make or break its reputation.

Avi-8 comes across as a very friendly (and hyper enthusiastic brand). That’s just as well, really, as in this competitive price segment, being anything but nice would probably put you on a fast track to nowhere. However, it is always pleasant to speak and work with a team that seems thoroughly committed to and confident in their company and its commodities.

This shines through in the brand’s watches. There is a sense of freedom in the designs. Nothing feels over-considered. It looks to me that if the designers think something is cool, they just go with it. Why do I think that? Simply because these Flyboy watches are a lot of fun, kind of goofy elements that made their way into the final products. The roundels, the faux-riveting, the gauge-heavy design, the spitfire rotor, the big red trigger buttons, and the charming but odd colorways are but a few of the things a more conservative design team would have considered and cut before the final take. It’s pretty neat to see these things come to life.

Will they be for everyone? No. But they are clearly for some people. Those some people are otherwise known as Avi-8’s fan base, and more power to them!

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How to win the Avi-8 Flyboy Automatic Sydney

So how do you throw your name into the hat for the Flyboy? Firstly, I need you to create a Fratello account. You can create an account in a few seconds. When you have time, why not add your own collection to your profile page? Upload a profile pic (we love to see your faces/wrists in the comments section), and tell us a little bit about yourself.

On your profile, you’ll be able to see your most recent comments and list your favorite brands. In the future, your profile will also have other features allowing you to grow your standing in the Fratello community. The most active users will receive prizes and invites to events (when we’re able to host them again). For more information on these developments, you can also sign-up for the newsletter here.

Secondly, you need to comment on this article with your answer to this question:

What makes the perfect pilot watch? Tell us everything that matters to you. Diameter, colors, dial layout, lume strength/homogeny… You name it. Don’t hold back! Build your perfect pilot’s watch in the comments below.

Talk to us!

So what am I looking for? I’m looking for user engagement. I’m looking for smart, well-thought-out answers that further the conversation. The winning comment needn’t be a standalone comment: it could be a response to an existing comment. Talk to each other. Comment multiple times if it makes sense. Spam won’t win you the watch, but if you want to get into a debate, then do so. We’re looking for quality over quantity, but the more you want to interact in this zone, the better.

What’s next?

Every couple of weeks, I’ll be offering a watch donated to me by a brand as a giveaway. Every time, the question will be different. We want to learn more about you. What do you like? What do you hate? Crucially, what would you like to see more of? Now’s your chance to tell us!

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I’d like to see more and more people becoming official members of the Fratello family so we can grow our network to be something more physical than just stats on a page. We have the #SpeedyTuesday community already. Now we want the Fratelli to come out in force. And as soon as we’re able to meet-up again, we’ll be inviting the most active readers along to partake in some very exciting experiences.

In the meantime, though. Why not win a watch? I can’t wait to read your comments and join in with the discussion. Let (good-spirited) battle commence! Learn more about the Avi-8 Flyboy automatic here.