Avi-8 has genuinely sculpted a robust line of timepieces that pay homage to the RAF. The British brand should not be looked at merely as a luxury brand or a collector’s brand. Given that the source material is a very real living history, drawn from the wars and air skirmishes that saw the famed jets usher in peace; the timepieces themselves transcend the idea of being just merely watches that you wear. Each timepiece references one of the remarkable fighter jets that sit in the larger RAF canon.
Fast-forward to the Hawker Hunter 4052. The fighter jet of the same name saw its emergence in the 50s. And today Avi-8 breathes new life into its history with a solid timepiece nuanced with both rugged touches and refined details. This is a man’s watch, no doubt. But it equally betrays a sense of elegance that will help any man transition from the field to the ballroom. Ultimate verdict: low on bling, high on class.
Let’s get down to first impressions. Unboxing the 4052, we are immediately struck by the dial. The cockpit is projected onto the dial with its skeletonized hands and subdials. We see what a pilot might see when strapping into the Hawker Hunter before take off. The stainless steel case clocks in at 45 mm. And the dial comes in black, gray, or white. Aesthetically the color palette is infused with a subdued sense of cool. It’s not flashy but no shrinking violet either.
And then there is the work of beauty that is its Japanese quartz movement. Here we have a chronograph movement with 10 minutes retrograde. Adjusting and fine-tuning your time is simple with the 4052’s aluminum pusher and buttons. As chronographs go, we easily forget that this is one of that breed given the 4052’s muscular design.
For a 45 mm timepiece, it is remarkably lightweight at 120g. Add an angled off square shape for some authentic nuance, an iteration with a rose gold bezel, buckles for the strap, and you have a winning recipe. And these are just the details. But detail is one of Avi-8’s strong suits. They finesse the timepiece with a stopwatch minute hand and second hand at the 10 o’clock and 3 o’clock positions respectively. There is also a 24 hour hand at the 6 o’clock position.
Other lovely touches are the leather band and the black ionic plating for the case. Turn the 4052 over and you find the Avi-8 logo emblazoned across the marine grade stainless steel case. And there’s the rub. The 4052 is simply robust: 50m of water resistance, scratch resistant, and a sturdy design. It holds up to inspection with flying colors.
When do you wear this timepiece? Simple answer. When don’t you wear it? The 4052 retails for 220 GBP.