Avi-8 Flyboy Centenary 1960's Edition

To commemorate the 100th anniversary of the United Kingdom’s Royal Air Force, Avi-8 Avi-8.co.uk has released a collection of special editions. Based on their Flyboy series of automatic watches, each piece honors a different era in military aviation. Their 1920’s and 1940’s editions have sold out, and they have recently released the 1960’s and 1980’s watches. For this review, they gave me a 1960’s model.

Avi-8 Flyboy Centenary 1960's Edition
All of the watches in the Centenary collection share the same platform consisting of a 43mm stainless steel case, domed sapphire crystal, and a 21 jewel, 21.6k mph Miyota 8218 automatic with unidirectional rotor, 42-hour power reserve, date disk, and small seconds display. Water resistance is 50m.

The case has an appealing combination of brushed surfaces: circular around the bezel, north-south along the sides and lugs, and vertical between the lugs with just a slim, polished chamfer on their outer edge. A debossed roundel decorates the polished push-pull crown.

Avi-8 Flyboy Centenary 1960's Edition side

You might expect a watch with this name to look like a mid-century pilot’s piece, but you won't see any hint of Heuer Bund or Breguet XX here. Like the first two releases, the 1920’s and 1940’s, this Centenary Edition is not a replica of a pilot’s watch of a given era, but an original, modern design that adopts certain vintage styling cues. In the case of the 1960’s model, Avi-8 has taken rather broad liberties, giving the watch a raised RAF roundel at 10:00 to counterbalance the crosshair small seconds at 5:00. The largest numbers on the dial are the 0 at 12:00 and the 6, both of which occupy the twin rings that float over the main dial and its printed index. Applied brushed markers bridge the rings and are partially labeled. A crosshair design, offset model name and 3:00 date complete the picture.

Avi-8 Flyboy Centenary 1960's Edition

Clearly, there is a lot going on here, and while the two-digit hours, sword hands, and roundels are military-ish, it is more about style than function. You wouldn’t find this watch in the cockpit of any nation’s air force, but that’s not really its point. This a fanciful take on the genre. The layering is fun to look at, particularly through the slight dome distortion and its blue-green color is intense. 

Avi-8 Flyboy Centenary 1960's Edition macro

That wild translucent dial that strikes me as being more swinging 60’s than staid military. Indeed, the whole thing is closer in spirit to a 1970’s vintage Seiko Sonar than any aviator’s watch. That said, I really like the Sonar, and the pebbled plastic makes for a striking effect. You can order it in black too, but there are plenty of black watches out there. Why not live a little? If you want more than just a glimpse of its innards, you can enjoy the view through the exhibition case back. 


SuperLuminova graces the hands and markers, making it easily legible at night and sneaking in a bit of function to this otherwise style-heavy package.


Avi-8 Flyboy Centenary 1960's Edition lume

The watch comes on a 22mm gray leather strap with a dark minimal stitch and pronounced grain that lends it a somewhat weathered look. The buckle is engraved. I found the watch to be an easy fit on my 6.5” wrist. At 43mm wide an 15mm thick, its proportions are best suited for casual wear.

Avi-8 Flyboy Centenary 1960's Edition wrist

I rarely mention packaging, and I am no fan of boxes, but I must confess that Avi-8 has done a nice job with this one. It is oversized, wrapped in a black canvas material, and impressively displays the watch and metal warranty card. Of course, once that is done, I suspect it will head right to the top shelf of someone’s closet.

Avi-8 Flyboy Centenary 1960's Edition full kit

1960’s Centenary sales have not yet started, but you can sign up for a pre-order now at avi-8.co.uk and get a bonus discount code. Pre-orders begin September 21 for £219 ($282 USD). As of October 3, the price increases to £280 ($360 USD), so if you want one, I’d recommend you get on board soon. ⬩

Avi-8 Flyboy Centenary 1960's Edition case back
Avi-8 Flyboy Centenary 1960's Edition

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