February 17, 2016
by Zen Love
Fans of Breitling‘s macho tone, refined aesthetics, and hearty build will likely find the new Breitling Avenger Bandit watch satisfying. You won’t confuse many other watches for a Breitling, but you sometimes have to look closely to distinguish between the models themselves. In other words, the brand has a strong and distinct identity, and this Breitling Avenger Bandit is heavy on that DNA. This latest iteration of the Avenger seeks to bring a “stealth” look to the line, and it’ll no doubt appeal to those who like a brooding, darker watch but may not want the all the black that comes with one of the Breitling Avenger Blackbird watches.
The Breitling Avenger line consists of three-handers, chronographs, and a GMT, but if you really want to feel the full “Breitling experience,” a chronograph may be the way to go – like this Breitling Avenger Bandit. Actually, this is only the third Avenger chronograph, with a majority of three-handers comprising the lineup, and it is the first Avenger chronograph in titanium. The unidirectional, ratcheted, rotating bezel you see here with its four “rider tabs” (for better grip, apparently, while wearing gloves) at the compass points is a common feature of the Avenger line, but also of the Chronomat, Galactic, and Colt lines. That ultra-grippy-looking “waffle” texture on the crown and pushers is also a likable trait of the Avenger line that bolsters the tool-watch theme.
The big story here is titanium, though. While the Avenger watches, and Breitling in general, are military and aviation themed, the Breitling Avenger Bandit feels even more so – and the marketing materials for this watch really hammer that point, in typical Breitling fashion. Yes, I actually kind of buy the “spirit of naval aviation” pitch. The completely satin-brushed titanium case to “eliminate any undesirable glinting in the heat of action” along with the material’s lightness (the Breitling Avenger Bandit weighs 100.65g without the strap) and overall muted color scheme all suggest a utility-focused design, with thankfully little bling. The flip side of titanium’s lightness, of course, is that it scratches easily. Though perhaps you, like Jerry Seinfeld (according to lore), actually prefer your Breitlings all scratched up…
The dial layout is dictated by the Breitling 13 caliber found in other Breitling chronograph watches – and if it immediately suggests an ETA Valjoux 7750 to you, maybe you spend too much time looking at watches. Indeed, this is a Breitling-modified 7750 that is (COSC) chronometer certified: automatic, 4Hz, 42 hours of power reserve, quarter-second chronograph with 30-minute and 12-hour subdials, running seconds subdial, and the date. A tool watch like this seems like a good home for a 7750, if ever there was one, because a tool watch should be simple, reliable, and not overly fancy. The solid caseback also features a useful conversion scale for the main units.
While you may be tempted to think that the Breitling Avenger Bandit is merely a fresh aesthetic take on the Avenger II or others that share the basic dial design (with even the red accents in the exact same places), note the case size. At 45mm wide, the Breitling Avenger Bandit sits right in the middle of the Avenger II (43mm) and Super Avenger (48mm) in terms of sizing. Now, Breitling does not disclose the case thickness for the Breitling Avenger Bandit, and because of the different case sizes, we cannot infer its thickness by looking at other models. However, 7750-equipped watches can tend to get rather thick, so we can confidently conjecture that – although though the titanium will certainly help wearability – this is certain to be a watch with a big presence, even with its intentionally minimized sparkle.
Another reason to try the watch on in person (which I am looking forward to) is about the dial color. I feel it is important to mention that Breitling calls the dial grey, while it appears a dark blue-greenish in the promotional pictures (though that would be a cool dial color). Perhaps that is the mixture of titanium and the antireflective (“glareproofed”) coating on the “cambered” sapphire crystal; perhaps it was just a bit too far right on the Photoshop “saturation” slider.
One more detail that drives home the Breitling Avenger Bandit’s cred as a durable professional tool is its 300m of water resistance. That’s pretty good for a chronograph that is not even trying to be a dive watch. The strap the Breitling Avenger Bandit comes on has an anthracite textile fiber exterior with rubber tread on the inside and a folding titanium clasp – and it certainly enhances the aesthetic. Given its features, and in the context of other Breitling products as well as Swiss mechanical chronographs in general, the Breitling Avenger Bandit’s price of $4,500 seems reasonable. breitling.com