INTRODUCING: Breitling Classic AVI & Ref. 765 1964 Re-Edition
The watchmaker celebrates the 70th anniversary of the AVI Co-Pilot with a slew of inspired watches.
In 1953, Breitling launched the Ref. 765 AVI, a pilot’s chronograph that featured a 12-hour rotating bezel for measuring and recording flight times. This meant the chronograph function, the complication of choice for pilots early on, need not be used to track their travel and could be used for other flight calculations.
The practical benefit of the Ref. 765 AVI was such that it earned the moniker of “Co-Pilot”, and the watch was re-branded as the AVI Co-Pilot. Now, 70 years later, Breitling is celebrating this notable timepiece with a series of watches sized down from the collection’s Super AVI range and a tribute model dedicated to the original.
The Classic AVI Chronograph 42
The Classic AVI Chronograph 42 is similar in style to the Super AVI but with a much smaller case at 42mm instead of 46mm. Launched in 2021, the Super AVI celebrates some of the most important aircraft in aviation history: the North American Aviation P-51 Mustang, the Vought F4U Corsair, the Curtiss P-40 Warhawk, and the de Havilland Mosquito.
CEO Georges Kern explains, “The Classic AVI trades some functions to achieve the pared-down format our customers have been asking for. The Classic and Super models will now live side by side, providing more choice.” What he means is, with the smaller case size, the COSC-certified Breitling Calibre B04 GMT Chronograph simply cannot fit into the watch. Instead, it dropped the GMT complication and opted for the Calibre 23 instead. That’s the Valjoux-based Breitling movement that’s amped up to COSC standards.
The four steel Classic AVI Chronograph 42 models commemorate the same planes as the Super AVI but in a classically stylish manner. A narrow bezel and oversized Arabic numerals add a hint of vintage elegance to the contemporary chronograph, which is paired with a calfskin leather strap. The black dial with gold brown strap celebrates the Mustang; the blue dial with black strap commemorates the Corsair; the khaki dial with brown strap pays tribute to the Warhawk; and the Mosquito-inspired watch features a black dial with matching ceramic bezel and brown strap.
A playful touch of colour appears on the 30-minute totaliser for each five-minute mark, in cool opposition to the militarily inspired dial colours of khaki, blue, and black. The silhouette of each plane is engraved on the stainless steel caseback of the corresponding model, and there’s also an additional red gold version of the Mustang. The Classic AVI Chronograph 42 is also available with a five-link bracelet.
Ref. 765 1964 Re-Edition
In addition, a new AVI Ref. 765 has been launched based on a 1964 version of the watch. This reverse panda model with a black bezel was worn by Jean-Claude Killy at the 1968 Winter Games, where he won gold in three competitions. The sunk-in counters of the AVI Ref. 765 1964 Re-Edition are striking against the strong black dial. The bezel has an ADLC coating, and the manual-winding B09 calibre powers the watch.
Vintage lumed indexes, hands, and totaliser markers bring out the simplicity of the AVI Ref. 765 1964 Re-Edition, and the watchmaker has chosen to use hesalite crystal rather than sapphire to keep it true to style. Only 164 pieces will be produced, as indicated on the caseback.
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