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AVI-8 Flyboy 4021 Automatic Watch Review

AVI-8 Flyboy 4021 Automatic Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

It isn’t all the time I get excited about more affordably-priced mechanical watches such as the Flyboy by AVI-8. Why is that? Am I simply too much of a snob to be interested in those items that most people can afford even though I am one amongst them? No, it isn’t that, and regular aBlogtoWatch fans know how excited I get each time we review a new Casio G-Shock. It really isn’t about price but rather where the bar is set. Lower-priced watches often have to cut corners where more expensive watches can afford to use the best materials, components, and manufacturing processes. Being so accustomed to these high-brow watches, I simply find it difficult to get excited about anything that is produced to be more affordable. Mostly, but not always.

I became attached to the AVI-8 Flyboy the first time I saw it (in Hong Kong actually), and immediately felt that it was a worthy watch to wear. I don’t wear it all the time of course (I’m too busy wearing lots of other watches to review), but nothing in me said “you don’t want to be seen in this.” I know I risk sounding rather involved with my own sense of horological privilege, but that sort of comes with the territory of being exposed to so many fine timepieces… all the time. Anyhow, let’s get back to the AVI-8 Flyboy, a pilot style watch from a rather new brand with a Japanese mechanical automatic movement inside of it.

AVI-8 Flyboy 4021 Automatic Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

AVI-8 Flyboy 4021 Automatic Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

The Flyboy is actually a larger collection of watches from AVI-8 that is new for 2013. The mechanical ones are in the AV-4021 collection and this specific piece is the AV-4021-01. While it is an aviator watch at heart, it combines other elements as well. The crosshair style motif on the dial is taken from 1960s sport watches, often racing ones. What the Flyboy is particularly good at is mixing and matching some common elements that people like into a satisfying package.

A good example is the seconds hand. Tipped with a red “plane-style” arrow, the shape is borrowed from the central chronograph minute hand often seen on watches with the famed (and no longer made) Lemania 5100 movement. For many people, an element like that is something they vaguely recall having seen before, but aren’t quite sure where. The same thing goes for the 12 o’clock hour indicator. AVI-8 opted to go for the more trendy “0” versus “12.” To be honest I am not sure who did this for the first time, but it’s another successful watch design element that found its way into this piece. The magic of course is that AVI-8 was able to blend everything together well without going overboard on the design.

AVI-8 Flyboy 4021 Automatic Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews



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  • Ulysses31

    A very decent looking watch.  I can’t say I love it but there is a lot to like, such as the tarmac/asphalt dial that kills reflections, or the raised numerals.  Personally, I think the strap, while comfortable, is thin and cheap-looking and doesn’t suit the case from a purely visual standpoint.  How accurate is an unadjusted movement like this?  I’m assuming it’s not way off, and could be improved by a watch repairer with a timing machine.  The price is a little high but considering so many watches more expensive than this totally miss the mark design-wise, I think it’s not bad.

  • LapYoda

    I see these frequently on the online boutiques for less than $200.  Glad to know it isn’t half bad, and could be a respectable fashion or beater watch.

  • Grinnie Jax

    Thank you for introducing another fine inexpensive brand with its specific design and features. Kentex, which you have introduced some time ago, also does very-very solid nice pilot watches:

  • Tekky

    Let’s see if I understand… for the same amount as an ETA or Sellita CW with appropriate length hands, nice metal bracelet and sapphire, they skimp on the movement, the crystal and won’t even put in enough metal for in-proportion hands?  The C8 Pilot MkII at the same price even throws in IncaBlock, deployment on the strap and anti-magnetic casing.

    The AVI-8 is kind of cool, but that’s a few too many trade-offs.

  • Grinnie Jax

    Tekkysuppose, you didn’t realize that its MSRP, not real market price. AVI-8 Flyboy are sold on Amazon for prices from 80$ to 250$, not more.

  • vmarks

    Unapologetically Unadjusted™.

    I’m glad to see such a tasteful dial, but one of the things I’m picky about is the NATO strap.

    You can use the most supple leather in the world, but when you stitch with nylon thread and then melt the ends of the thread to secure it, you’ve ruined the strap. The hard melted ends then scratch my wrist and forever remind me of the poor materials choice.

    Sure, I know the strap is replaceable. I don’t care. If it has melted thread, It’s a bad first impression. Every part of the consumer experience, even in a cost-reduced watch, needs to be paid attention to.

  • Tekky

    Grinnie Jax Tekky Ah, no, I hadn’t realized or expected that a watch with an Invicta/Swiss Legend like approach to pricing would be reviewed here. <ducking>

  • Tekky

    Ryan B I’ve had several watches with the base quartz Miyota movement.  It seems to get floppy over time.  Perhaps it’s just that the assembly of watches using that movement is sometimes careless, because the seconds hand is a quarter-second off alignment on one of these also, so presumably that’s not the movement’s fault.

    On the other hand, at this point it seems like almost any movement – Miyota, Seagull, even Poljot – is better than most from 50 years ago.

  • Shawnnny

    Yep, overpriced in the 6 range. I could see 2 and a half though. I love the textured dial, love the red seconds hand, but can’t get into the zero at 12. It just makes absolutely no sense at all. Like they are just doing it to be different.

  • Ryan B

    TekkyRyan BThink I deleted my first post on accident, anyway I haven’t tried their quartz yet .. not sure if I will. The automatics are sure taking a beating.

  • FalconerInd

    While the watch doesnt look bad, i still think that 620$ for a 8215 is a bit on the high side.

  • DG Cayse

    I like it…but…
    As it is – US$475 to US$525 tops. (This is probably what these will go for on the street anyway.)

    Improvements – screw-down crown, add 13 thru 24 markers to the dial, lume on the second hand, maybe offer choice of a rubber (neoprene or new compound-type) band. I can live with the mineral crystal. Maybe use a solid case back;nothing to see back there anyway. With these improvements…then maybe…US$575 – US$600.

  • jkizzle

    Found it new online for $180. I assume for that price it’s a definite yes? How does it compare to Orient or others in that price range

  • Grinnie Jax

    jkizzleKentex Skyman is a bit more interesting as for me… But Flyboy is definitely worth its money.

  • jkizzle

    The Skyman is beautiful. Love the silver dial and the lume on the second hand. Love the Flyboy too though. I like the simplicity, and size.

  • chrislanue

    This watch does not have sapphire crystal. I think that sapphire crystal is probably the only thing that differentiates a cheap “fashion” watch from a nicely built watch; basically its presence is a threshold. The watch sells on amazon for $135 ( today, 12/27/2013 ), which is probably the right price.

  • somethingnottaken

    FalconerIndAgreed. I’d like to see a 9015 in this watch.