Breitling has gone through more changes in the last couple of years than the weather does during 20 minutes of British summertime. The overhaul has been so radical that I’ve sometimes been afraid to look. After months of therapy, I’m happy to say I’m no longer a heady mixture of furious/incredulous in regard to the Navitimer 8 range being deemed “Navitimers.” What this has enabled me to do is step through the red mist and appreciate the watches for what they are: pretty neat timepieces. The Breitling Aviator 8 Automatic Curtiss 41 Warhawk watch may have a mouthful of a name, but it offers an eyeful of treats to make up for it.
The case of the new Aviator 8 model is lifted straight from the existing Navitimer 8 family but treated with a DLC coating. The images make the DLC coating look a little grayer than it might in real life, but it’s important to remember how starkly the underlying surface finish can affect the appearance of color once the metal has been coated. High-polished surfaces look jet black. Vapor-blasted surfaces look more like a charcoal ceramic. Brushed surfaces, as employed on the Breitling Aviator 8 Automatic Curtiss 41 Warhawk watch, land somewhere in between. It’s a great look when teamed with the military green dial. The result is a rugged tool watch that, with a closed and engraved caseback, looks ready for action.
The case is water resistant to 100m. It features a screw-down crown. The sapphire crystal is treated with a double layer of anti-reflective coating. It’s a pleasingly wearable 41mm in diameter and sports a bi-directional bezel decorated with a red triangle. This feature recalls the classic ref. 768 on which this model is based.
A Little Bit of History
Breitling has been scouring the archives of late. There’s no synthesizing heritage, however hard brands try — but try they do, over and over again. In this instance, some bright spark in the Breitling basement has unearthed the fact that Breitling was producing aircraft instruments for the RAF and other air forces at the same time as legendary aircraft manufacturer Curtiss Wright was producing their most famous plane, the P-40.
At the same time. Wow. If that isn’t cause for a special edition, I don’t know what is.
The Breitling Aviator 8 Automatic Curtiss 41 Warhawk is a very nice effort, regardless of the flimsy storytelling behind its birth.
The Breitling Caliber 17 powers the Aviator 8 Automatic Curtiss 41 Warhawk. This caliber is COSC-certified, offers a power reserve of 40 hours, and beats at a standard 28,000vph (4Hz). I’m a fan of Breitling’s in-house output. I just wish they had used a display back. Aviation watches needn’t have a closed caseback, and suffice it to say the decoration, however apt, is not particularly exhilarating.
I like the look of this watch. The ham-handed nod toward the synchronicity of Breitling and Curtiss Wright’s contribution to aviation doesn’t really put me off. In fact, I find it kind of endearing. The watch is a great commemoration of huge technological strides made contemporaneously by both companies. Simply put, it looks cool. The design hangs together very well, and the watch would certainly make a fine addition to any collection. And green is bang-on-trend. It’s probably my favorite green watch from Breitling ever (although the chronographs that accompany the release of the three-hander reviewed here might yet surpass it). The price for the Breitling Aviator 8 Automatic Curtiss 41 Warhawk watch is £3,260 (around $4,300 at the time of publication). Learn more at breitling.com.