Breitling’s Navitimer 1959 Re-Edition was the watchmaker’s finest launch of last year. It fed on the hunger for archival designs and hit the nail on the head with a pitch-perfect collectors’ reissue. It was only a matter of time before Breitling did it again and now that time is nigh, with the AVI Ref. 765 1953 Re-Edition.
The AVI, for a bit of background, was released in 1953 and was dubbed the “co-pilot” by the guys in the cockpit actually wearing the thing. It was a step away from the Navitimer with it’s bolder look and oversized numerals, a quintessential aviation watch – hence the AVI name. In short, it was the rugged, less technical sibling to the Navi.
The AVI is actually a watch that’s inspired a lot of modern Breitling. It was based on the original 30s and 40s cockpit instruments Breitling made for professional pilots and in turn was the inspiration for the current Aviator line.
Nevertheless, this new limited edition is as faithful to the original as possible. It has precisely the same Arabic numerals, colour of lume, syringe hands and a hesalite crystal that’s made in the exact same way as the 50s ones would have been. The 41.1mm stainless steel case is also a perfect replica. In short, it’s obsessive.
As with all these things, the movement is one concession; the B09 manufacture calibre is a step above vintage Breitling. But there are a couple of other changes, even if they are small. The first is an upped depth resistance (still only 30m so no big whoop) and the word GENEVE has been stripped from the dial. They’re small and understandable, even among die-hard vintage buffs.
Precious metal though might be a bit too far. Still, the AVI 1959 is also being released in rose gold with a black dial and platinum with a blue dial. Breitling are walking a tightrope with this pair but haven’t included the Re-Edition moniker on either, so it’s excusable. And the platinum version is particularly handsome.
The rose gold edition is limited to 253; the platinum is limited to 153. The main event, the AVI Ref. 765 Re-Edition however will not be limited. Just expect a bit of a wait… it’s another fantastic-looking archival Breitling.
Price & Specs:
Model Name: Breitling AVI Ref. 765 1953 Re-Edition
Ref: AB0920131B1X1 (steel); RB0920131B1X1 (rose gold); LB0920131C1X1 (platinum)
Case/Dial: 41mm diameter, steel, rose gold or platinum
Water Resistance: 30m (3 bar)
Movement: In-house Breitling B09, manual-winding
Frequency: 28,800 vph ( 4Hz )
Power Reserve: 70h
Functions: Hours, minutes, small seconds, chronograph with 15-minute and 12-hour counters
Strap: Leather (black or brown) with pin buckle
Price: £6,520 (steel), £16,950 (rose gold), £28,900 (platinum), steel is limited to 1953 pieces, rose gold is limited to 253 pieces, and platinum is limited to 153 pieces, available April 2020
More details at Breitling’s website.