AVI-8 Hawker Hurricane Battle of Britain
AVI-8 has been discussed numerous times on this blog by myself and a colleague. I admire the vast majority of their styles but have to admit I am more of a dive watch guy so admiration is about as far as it goes. All of the watches I have reviewed really fall in the realm of budgetary pilot watches, which is the focus of the company. This model, the AVI-8 Hawker Hurricane Battle of Britain has similarities to other Hawker Hunter models with some nice upgrades. The AVI-8 Hawker Hurricane Battle of Britain has a rather modest 43mm case, which is very lightweight. This model comes in several different dial colors and case finishes so if regular stainless with a black dial isn’t to your liking check out the others at: http://www.avi-8nation.com/pages/hawker-hurricane-battle-of-britain.
COLLECTION: HAWKER HURRICANE
- MODEL: AV-4046-01
- MOVEMENT: Automatic Japan 3 Hands with Date
- CASE: Stainless Steel
- CASE DIAMETER (mm): 43
- CASE THICKNESS (mm): 12
- CASE LENGTH (mm): 52
- CASE COLOR: Stainless Steel
- DIAL COLOR: Black
- BAND: Genuine Leather NATO Strap / Nylon NATO Strap
- BAND COLOR: Brown / Blue
- BAND WIDTH (mm): 20
- WATER RESISTANCE: 5ATM
- WATCH WEIGHT (g): 120
- WARRANTY: 2 Years International
Retail Price (On AVI-8 website) $430 USD
*AVI-8 shows when you go to the website and sign up for the newsletter, you can receive 20% off your first order, or use code “Britain”*
Jumping right in let’s take a look at the materials and quality. The price point on the AVI-8 Hawker Hurricane Battle of Britain is a pretty decent value in my book. Most AVI 8 watches are fitted with mineral crystals and for watches under $300 I have come accustom to that shortcoming. Guess what? Upgrade!! The Battle of Britain comes with a very clear sapphire crystal. I’m not certain if the crystal has an anti-reflective coating but admit taking photographs was not all that difficult as I didn’t have to fight much glare at least from the crystal.
Next, the stainless steel case is brushed very nicely with no visible imperfections. The crown does not screw down, as one would expect from a watch with a water resistance rating of 50 meters. The crown functions well and doesn’t have any wobble as with many budget friendly watches. I have to admit, I would much prefer a screw down crown and a bit more water resistance even though this is a pilot style watch. The dial stamping is fairly significant which is rather typical of what is found on many AVI 8 watches. The vast majority of their dials have some nice textures or stamping on them. The dial is fairly clean with just the typical branding and numerical markers with a twist. I really really like the look off the mixed markers between the standard numerals and Nav B style minutes. The hands are large and easy to read with yellow tips on the minute and hour hands and a yellow plane at the tip of the second hand. As far as the date window just above the 30, I would have preferred it was just left off. It is fairly small and some may have difficulty reading it. The lume is decent but not great as it fades rather quickly, though this is not a huge deal in my book for this style of watch.
At this point I know exactly what everyone that is reading is thinking. What movement is AVI 8 using in the Battle of Britain? Before I mention the movement, I have to get on my soap box just a bit. Now what I am about to say is very subjective so you have been warned. I hear all the time that people will not buy a watch because it has this movement or that movement but really never explain why. Is it cost? It the characteristics of the movement? Seriously, what is that all about? I think you have to take the movement and price into perspective. AVI 8 is a fairly well established brand and I’m not sure I would consider them a micro-brand. However, when you look at the vast majority of established micro-brand watch companies, what do you get these days for $550 to $800? Let’s see; A sapphire crystal, stainless steel case with a good finish, nice dial, good lume, and a few strap/bracelet options and in many instances a Miyota 9015 automatic movement are the biggest features, or at least should be, right?
The Battle of Britain provides all of those features except it contains a Miyota 8215 instead of a Miyota 9015. Am I a fan of the Miyota 8200 series of movements? Nope. Would I probably buy this watch? Nope. However, it isn’t because the Miyota 8200 series movement isn’t a solid movement, it is. The Miyota 8200 series has been around for a long time and is quite durable. Besides the watch just not being my style, I’m picky and I just can’t stand a second hand that doesn’t have a smooth sweep around the dial. The Miyota 8200 series as everyone knows can have what almost appears to be a ticking type sweep. Keep in mind the Battle of Britain is $430. Put a Miyota 9015 in it and guess what? The price is all of a sudden somewhere around that $550 price so $430 is quite reasonable if you are not picky like me about second hand smoothness. Okay, that is all for my soap box.
The movement in the Battle of Britain looks great which isn’t typical for this type of movement. Now, while the movement itself isn’t decorated, I was pleasantly surprised to find a customized rotor on a Miyota 8215. I admit, a pilot watch with an airplane style rotor at $430 is pretty cool.
A good pilot style watch needs a nice strap. The Battle of Britain comes with a super quality 22mm leather NATO and a nylon strap (blue in this instance). The leather NATO has really nice hardware finished off with heavy duty signed thumbnail buckle. I’m not a fan of NATO straps but as always quality straps from AVI 8.
Wrist shot on 7 3/4 inch wrist
While the AVI-8 Hawker Hurricane Battle of Britain isn’t the perfect watch for me, it is really a solid pilot watch. If you a looking for a pilot watch and want to keep in under $500 this is an affordable option to consider. You really can’t go wrong with a good looking case and dial, sapphire crystal and a slightly customized automatic movement. Yes, adding a higher quality movement would make it even better, but that just probably wouldn’t be possible at the $430 price. AVI-8 will continue to have a huge following that is for certain and I applaud their efforts with producing great looking pilot watches at affordable prices. I look forward to seeing what they come up with next.