Breitling celebrates the 70th anniversary of the “Co-Pilot” with three new releases based on the original Ref. 765 AVI. The 42 mm Classic AVI offers a universal take on the rugged aviator’s chronograph, while the 46 mm Super AVI range introduces the black ceramic Mosquito Night Fighter. Additionally, Breitling surprises collectors with a limited re-edition of the 1964 AVI Co-Pilot, bringing back a classic sports watch.
The Classic AVI assortment presents a more accessible version of Breitling’s pioneering pilot’s watch. It retains the design codes of the Super AVI in a 42 mm format, resulting in a rugged and comfortable timepiece suitable for most wrists.
The AVI’s roots trace back to the 1930s when Breitling’s Huit Aviation Department produced precision cockpit clocks and dedicated wrist chronographs for the emerging field of aeronautics. In 1953, the Ref. 765 AVI was introduced as a pilot’s chronograph with a rotating 12-hour bezel for flight time recording. Its practicality and legibility led to its renaming as the AVI “Co-Pilot.”
In 2021, the Super AVI collection paid homage to the AVI with its robust 46 mm watches, inspired by four iconic aircraft: the P-51 Mustang, F4U Corsair, P-40 Warhawk, and de Havilland Mosquito.
Responding to customer demand, the Classic AVI retains the Super AVI’s aesthetic but in a smaller size. It does not include the GMT complication found in the Super AVI, and it incorporates the Breitling Caliber 23 chronograph movement, resulting in a slimmer profile and attractive value proposition.
The Classic AVI maintains the color schemes associated with the legendary aircraft: black dial with gold brown leather strap for the Mustang, blue dial with black strap honoring the Corsair, khaki dial with brown strap representing the Warhawk’s camouflage, and black dial with black ceramic bezel on a brown strap symbolizing the Mosquito, known as the “Wooden Wonder.” Vibrant touches inspired by the planes’ roundels and markings adorn the hands and subdials. The aircraft’s silhouettes are engraved on the case backs, available in stainless steel for all models, with an additional 18K red gold version for the Mustang. Strap options include top-stitched calfskin leather or a five-row metal bracelet.
A hidden feature of the Classic AVI is the “hidden” GPS coordinates of the Breitling Chronometrie, located on the dial. This detail pays homage to the specification stamps seen on vintage cockpit clocks, including those produced by the Huit Aviation Department.
The Super AVI Mosquito Night Fighter pays homage to the de Havilland Mosquito, a wooden aircraft known as the “Wooden Wonder.” Its black ceramic case, military leather strap, and anthracite subdials capture the plane’s dark livery. The monochrome appearance contrasts with titanium details, and the watch features large Arabic numerals, a 46 mm case, knurled bezel, fluted crown, and a GMT function.
The Ref. 765 AVI 1964 Re-Edition is a limited re-edition of the original Co-Pilot watch from 1953. It gained popularity in the 1960s beyond aviation circles, with a particular 1964 version becoming a favorite of celebrities and sports stars. The re-edition faithfully reproduces its design, featuring a hesalite crystal, baton indexes, lumed pencil hands, and a black bezel with ADLC coating. The watch is powered by the manual wind Caliber B09 and bears the caseback engraving “One of 164.”
Breitling’s CEO, Georges Kern, emphasizes the enduring appeal of the AVI collection, rooted in aviation tool-watch heritage yet universally appealing in its simplicity.