Breitling Celebrates The 70th Anniversary Of The AVI Co-Pilot
Known for its outsized contributions to the world of aviation, Breitling has once again hit a major milestone in its rich history. A favourite of pilots everywhere, the original workhorse “Co-Pilot” collection celebrates its 70th anniversary this year, with Breitling debuting its new, more accessible Classic AVI range to mark the occasion. This remarkable timepiece puts a modern twist on the iconic aviator’s chronograph while continuing to draw inspiration from the original 1953 Ref. 765 AVI Co-Pilot and paying homage to four legendary planes. Not to be outdone, the 46 mm Super AVI collection also welcomes an exciting new member—the black ceramic Mosquito Night Fighter. With its bold and striking appearance, this timepiece makes a powerful statement. Available for pre-order from Watches of Switzerland now, read on for all the details of these new aviation-inspired timekeepers.
The Original AVI “Co-Pilot”
By the 1950s, Breitling had already established itself as a watch manufacturer of great repute in the aviation industry, thanks in large part to the pioneering work of its Huit Aviation Department, which was set up in the 1930s. Initially focusing on precision cockpit instruments, the company would later expand to manufacturing wrist chronographs specifically suited to the specialized needs of the then-emerging field of aeronautics. One of the early successes of this endeavor was the Ref. 765 AVI, a pilot’s chronograph with a rotating 12-hour bezel for recording flight times, which Breitling debuted in 1953. This highly legible and easy-to-operate watch proved so useful a tool for aviators that it was rebranded the AVI “Co-Pilot”.
It is this same model that Breitling drew on for inspiration when creating the acclaimed Super AVI collection. Making its debut in 2021, this series of robust 46 mm timepieces come in a variety of colorways and designs that honour four of history’s greatest aircraft: the North American Aviation P-51 Mustang, the Vought F4U Corsair, the Curtiss P-40 Warhawk, and the de Havilland Mosquito. Popular with aviation enthusiasts everywhere, there was just one slight hitch, as Breitling CEO Georges Kern explains:
“People love the sturdy, understated look of the Super AVI, but not everyone has the wrist to pull off the extra-large size that gives it its authentic tool-watch feel.”
Known for not only listening to but also acting on feedback from their customers, Breitling has been busy working hard behind the scenes to offer a more modestly sized alternative. As such, we are delighted to announce that this pioneering pilot’s watch has become more accessible than ever. The new Classic AVI assortment takes inspiration from the highly acclaimed 46 mm Super AVI design and presents it in a more compact 42 mm format. The result is a rugged and effortlessly wearable timepiece that suits a wide range of wrists, whilst still offering the same colour schemes dedicated to the four legendary aircraft.
Let’s get into the detail.
The Breitling Classic AVI Chronograph 42
As previously mentioned, each watch in the collection pays homage to a specific aircraft, showcasing a thoughtfully crafted combination of dial colours and straps. The Mustang-inspired timepiece features a black dial paired with a gold-brown leather strap, epitomizing the versatility of the legendary aircraft. The naval-themed Corsair meanwhile boasts a striking blue dial complemented by a black strap. The Warhawk-inspired design showcases a khaki dial paired with a brown strap, capturing the camouflaged aesthetics of the aircraft. Finally, the Mosquito plane fondly referred to as the “Wooden Wonder,” is represented by a black dial adorned with a black ceramic bezel on a brown strap.
All four versions are offered in a 42mm stainless steel case measuring 14.7mm thick, with an additional 18K red gold version for the Mustang timepiece. Drawing inspiration from the roundels and markings of these historic planes, vibrant touches of colour embellish the hands and sub-dials of the watches. As a nice finishing touch, the engraved silhouettes of the respective aircraft grace the back of the solid cases. Inside beats Breitling Calibre 23, a self-winding chronograph movement that delivers approximately 48 hours of power reserve. To cater to individual preferences, all watches can be elegantly worn with a choice of a top-stitched calfskin leather strap or a five-row metal bracelet.
The Breitling Super AVI Mosquito Night Fighter
In addition to the launch of the Classic AVI, Breitling also delivers a special new stealth version of the Super AVI Mosquito. Its monochromatic colorway is inspired by that of the Mosquito Night Fighter 2 — a sleek, all-black, two-seater aircraft designed for stealthy maneuvers under the cover of darkness. This extraordinary timepiece pays homage to the aircraft’s dark livery through its black ceramic case, black military leather strap, and black dial featuring anthracite sub-dials. The monochrome aesthetic creates a captivating contrast against the titanium pushers, crown, and buckle.
True to the distinguished Super AVI design, this watch features generously sized Arabic numerals that ensure excellent legibility, housed within a robust 46 mm case. The knurled bezel and fluted crown offer superior grip, even when wearing gloves. Pilots and globetrotters alike will appreciate the convenience of tracking a second-time zone using the 24-hour scale on the inner bezel, accompanied by the GMT hand with a grey tip. Powering the Super AVI is the COSC-certified Breitling Manufacture Calibre B04 movement, delivering approximately 70 hours of precise timekeeping. The movement’s intricate workings are visible through the open titanium case-back, beautifully etched with the outline of the Night Fighter aircraft.
Available Now From Watches of Switzerland
All models discussed above are available for pre-order now from Watches of Switzerland. With limited allocations available though, we encourage you to act quickly to avoid disappointment. Shop online today or make an appointment to visit us in-store at any one of our boutiques across Australia.