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Breitling Revives The Legendary AVI Ref. 765 With Three New Limited-Edition Models

Breitling Revives The Legendary AVI Ref. 765 With Three New Limited-Edition Models Watch Releases

In the long history of pilot watches, there is perhaps no more visually iconic chronograph than the 1953 Breitling AVI Ref. 765 “Co-Pilot.” While its Navitimer stablemate may be more famous, the clean simple forms and external rotating steel bezel of the AVI ref. 765 became the de facto template for pilot chronographs for decades, influencing designs from the likes of Dodane and even Breguet. As part of the brand’s continuing push to reintroduce classic models into its lineup, Breitling has premiered the limited edition AVI Ref. 765 1953 Re-Edition in three different versions. The stainless steel iteration is a remarkably faithful recreation of the classic original, while two further editions reimagine the design in precious metals.

Breitling Revives The Legendary AVI Ref. 765 With Three New Limited-Edition Models Watch Releases

All three iterations of the AVI Ref. 765 1953 Re-Edition begin with a 41mm case. Apart from a very minor upsizing from the original, this reissue case is nigh-on identical to the 1953 original. The lugs may be a touch longer, and the 12-hour bidirectional rotating bezel is just a hair wider with slightly bolder numerals, but, overall, the stainless steel case offers a far more faithful experience than most vintage reissues. While the two additional models stay true to this elemental form, the change in materials creates a drastically different wearing experience. The 18-karat red gold example is a louder, more modernist take on luxury, clearly announcing itself as more than its utilitarian form while maintaining a sense of gentlemanly style. The platinum version, meanwhile, offers a more stealth-wealth approach, maintaining the look of the original at a glance while rewarding close observation with that metal’s unique sheen. All three versions offer 30 meters of water resistance and are topped with an appropriately old-school hesalite crystal. Breitling Revives The Legendary AVI Ref. 765 With Three New Limited-Edition Models Watch Releases

Like the cases, the dials of the AVI Ref. 765 1953 Re-Edition cleave extremely close to the original. The oversized printed Arabic numerals, elongated tips on the syringe hands and lume-filled 15-minute subdial at 3 o’clock are all present here, but the finer details are also in place. The snailing on the subdials has returned from the classic originals, and even the subdial layout remains the same. (Even on faithful recreations, this is usually a surefire sign of a reissued model using an existing movement.) In fact, the only visual giveaway on the stainless steel model is a very slightly different outer seconds track, replacing the 1/5 second lines with dots. Once again here, the red gold and platinum variants of the AVI Ref. 765 1953 Re-Edition are allowed to play with the color scheme slightly to create a new experience. The difference in the case of the red gold is slight, but it speaks to the more luxurious experience on tap: While all three versions share the same khaki Super-LumiNova, for the red gold variant, this lume is applied by hand over the dial surface for a more personal, human touch. If the case material of the red gold version adds a warmth to the overall dial design, the platinum edition makes a conscious effort to move the watch in the opposite direction. Here, a desaturated midnight blue replaces the stark black, drawing in tones from the case material and creating something that feels more contemporary and cleaner. In addition, the platinum variant also receives hand-applied lume.

Breitling Revives The Legendary AVI Ref. 765 With Three New Limited-Edition Models Watch Releases

All three models share the same movement: the brand new in house handwound Caliber B09 chronograph. This manufacture powerplant features a complex and costly column wheel for superior pusher feel, along with a vertical clutch system. While not necessary for a mechanical chronograph movement, both of these additions are highly prized among enthusiasts. In addition, the B09 movement is COSC chronometer-certified and features a robust 70-hour power reserve, along with a smooth 28,800 bph sweep.

Breitling Revives The Legendary AVI Ref. 765 With Three New Limited-Edition Models Watch Releases

Breitling fits each version of the AVI Ref. 765 1953 Re-Edition with a heavily contrast stitched leather strap. For the stainless steel version, this strap is a supple satin black, while the 18-karat gold model is paired with distressed tobacco brown, and the cooler tones of the platinum version are contrasted with a warm saddle tan.

Breitling Revives The Legendary AVI Ref. 765 With Three New Limited-Edition Models Watch Releases

Although these three are strictly limited editions, one has to commend Breitling’s commitment to accuracy in reviving these classic chronographs. If this is an indicator of things to come in the standard Breitling product line, 2020 has the potential to be a very special year for the brand. All three are currently available for preorder through Breitling’s website, at a price of $8,035 for one of the 1,953 limited edition stainless steel models, $21,360 for one of the 253 18-karat red gold examples, and $39,665 for one of the 153 platinum pieces. Delivery for these limited models is expected in April 2020.

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  • DanW94

    Handsome looking watch which obviously shares it’s DNA with the Breguet Type XX-XXI. I wonder which one debuted first back in the 50’s?

    • aWtchslvr

      From what I´ve read the Breitling.

    • WatchFred

      the Breitling AVI 765 entered mass production in February 1953, the Breguet TypeXX Aeronavale that resembles it a bit was introduced in late 1958, so half a decade later.

  • Trevor

    Us poor people in the back can make due with the Dan Henry 1963 and be more than happy with it.

  • WatchFred

    some corrections:
    the movement in the AVI 765 Re-Edition is the cal. B09, a new hand-wound in-house caliber, not an automatic as stated.
    the lume is hand-applied on all three version, steel, gold & platinum

    • PR

      Indeed I was wondering why the article referred to an automatic. Do we know if it’s a solid or sapphire case back? A manual wind chronograph cries out for a sapphire case back even if it’s not a true reissue not found on the original. I think that’s one update I would like

      • WatchFred

        it is a Re-Edition, so as close to the original as technically possible; none of the vintage models had display back, so this is solid too. We will see that caliber in other models over the years, I’m sure some will have a display backs.

        • Gokart Mozart

          In my opinion if they wanted to be faithful they should have used the same size case and the more delicate bezel and lugs. Also no gold or platinum.

          Then i would agree use a closed back. In this case a sapphire back would be fine.

          • WatchFred

            size, bezel & lug dimensions are precisely the same – or, to be precise to the “typical” AVI 765 vintage case, as there are some differences in lugs chamfering and dimensions there, we are talking pre-CNC production here)

  • SuperStrapper

    The fact that so many people think it was Breguet first shows right away that it doesn’t matter who does it first in the long run, but who does it most memorably.

    • Independent_George

      That was a point made on the ‘Dink. But ultimately, I feel too many enthusiasts equate originality with authenticity, a trend that is exacerbated by the Internet and Instagram.

  • aWtchslvr

    Hi. I only have one watch with a “plastic” crystal, a Seiko, mineral glass. Its transparency is not the best and it reflects too much light… but it costs 400$. What is your experience with hesalite? Thanks in advance.

    • Independent_George

      Scratches easier, that’s for sure. But you can buff a lot of the scratches out with polywatch and keep it clear with a mirror polish. Do it twice a year and you should be good to go. Reflectivity shouldn’t be a problem because Hesalite isn’t as reflective as sapphire or glass.

      If you can find an Omega AD, check out a Hesalite and a Sapphire Moonwatch next to each other.

      • aWtchslvr

        Thank you so much!!

  • Independent_George

    Honestly, if your only issue with with the crystal, I wouldn’t sweat it. Like Strapper says, sapphire is almost always preferable, but I disagree that it’s a buzz kill. There are tons of tops and products for keeping Hesalite look good, and, to be honest, like bronze, if you preform some home maintenance, it should be good to go.

    I agree about the 15 minute counter, especially since the 12-hour register has hashes for 30 minute intervals, but not 15. But I would be willing to overlook that because the overall package is done so well.

  • PR

    This is sort of the problem I have with some of these reissues. On one hand you do update it with size, modern movements, straps and lume. But then you miss out on other modern aspects that really elevate ownership experience like proper AR coated crystals on both sides and loupe level attention to detail on the dial and markers. With the price ranges in question I would rather the brand go all in and update all aspects and not try to go vintage on parts that add value

    • SuperStrapper

      I personally couldn’t care much less about keeping a watch that faithful to the original. If you are going to borrow from the design, go ahead and do that while also delivering a contemporary watch that offers all of the conveniences that people expect today. The minute you update the size, which everyone does in a reissue, you’ve abandoned the original anyway! And also updated movements? Why is that never a problem in a ‘vintage’ reissue? Doing stuff like adding plastic crystals and applying the lume with your toes as a way to fake vintage authenticity basically always insults me as a consumer.
      I’ll be interested in a vintage watch when a vintage watch is actually re-released. Break out the original tooling and just make the watch again.

  • JosephWelke

    If you have access to Omega watches, go look at a Speedmaster Moonwatch, there’s a reference with a Hesalite crystal. That’ll show you its transparency and quirks, if any.

    • aWtchslvr

      Thanks a lot.

  • Pete L

    Very attractive. Wouldn’t say no to the platinum one…..

  • Gorgeous. Easily confused with a Breguet Type XX, which is a compliment.

  • The Old Watcheroo

    another fauxtina shi-ite

  • The Old Watcheroo

    Still hard to digest… the fact the it needs defending from the regular crowd still says a lot

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