Today we are gonna take a look at another AVI-8. Yes, we will have a lot of reviews this year from brands like AVI-8 and Spinnaker (Both are in the Dartmouth group) as they will be releasing a lot of new watches this year and they are really nailing the designs now! AVI-8 basically make pilot/plane inspired watches for really great prices.
The watch that we have in today from AVI-8 is called the Hawker Hurricane Bulman edition, in honour of Paul Ward Spencer “George” Bulman who was a Royal Air Force pilot and director of the Hawker Aviation company. Fans of the watch brand will notice that in the “Hawker Hurricane” collection there is a lot of nods to the Hawker aviation history! The Bulman design is clean overall with some intentionally distressed details on the dial.
The watch came in the same green canvas box you get all your AVI-8 pieces except some limited ones. Inside you will find a plastic warranty card to register your watch on their website, handy cleaning cloth, instructions manual and of course the watch. The first impressions were that it looks a bit different than on the photos on AVI-8 website. The dial particularly, as the distressed panels on the website look black, but in real life they have that green/brown colour and the distressing is a lot more visible in real life. But don’t get me wrong, that isn’t a minus from me, I like that looks actually! I also kind of start liking these black PVD case watches since I had a chance to check out the Dietrich TC and other watches.
AVI-8 Bulman edition chronograph case is made of 316L stainless steel and features a black PVD coating. The case is very machines and the PVD coating seems to be applied really well and is rugged as hell! I have probably knocked the watch a one or two times and it shows no signs of any damage to the coating. The watch case is round with nice lugs that are curved and will sit on your wrist comfortably! The diameter is 45mm, the thickness is 13,5mm and in length, it measures at 55mm. The watch looks big, but wears a bit smaller and is lighter than you would think. These days I tend to like a bit smaller watches, but I also appreciate bigger watches and this is no exception. At 3 o’clock we have a signed push-pull crown guarded by the crown guards. and at 2 and 4 o’clock we have the pump pushers for the chronograph functions. The solid case back is actually kept without the PVD coating and has a very nice engraving with the Hawker Hurricane plane and nice font and altogether it looks like an ad from the 30s or 40s. I really like when a company actually puts an effort into designing the case back too, so many companies forget about the case back as there is so much free space where you can put on a cool engraving or something. On top of the watch sits a mineral crystal. AVI-8 managed to keep this timepiece priced at around $234 and this is partially why they went with mineral. As this is a pilot’s watch, the water resistance rating is only 50m (5ATM) which decent for every day encounters with rain or hand washing.
The dial on the Bulman edition the dial has a lot of layers just like the other Hawker Hurrican editions. This has the reversed standard chronograph setup by giving it a running central seconds hand and placing the chronograph seconds in the subdial at 12:00. At 6:00 you can find a 60 minute counter, as well as a date at 3:00. Due to the movement, it leaves extra space in the 9:00 region of the dial, but AVI-8 filled this in nicely with a subtle version of their bullseye logo. Along with the standard hours and minute markers, you also get a taste of a sandwich style dial with the stencilled 2, 4, 8, and 10 which are lumed. The dial harmonizes a classic pilot watch outlook with a cockpit inspired design. The arrow-shaped or “Flieger ” style hands are suitably lumed and are precisely proportioned and balanced on the watch. The stick-shaped second’s hand has a nice red accent on the end. The strong bold lines and layering of the dial which includes a finely distressed layer on the dial work well with the vintage military inspired aesthetics of the watch.
The Bulman is powered by a quartz Seiko quartz movement VD51B. It is a chronograph movement which has an interesting layout. I haven’t had any of these movements in any of my watches, but all I can say is good things about the reliability and build quality, just can’t go wrong with a quartz movement from Seiko. The one thing that is a bit weird is that the second’s hand for the chrono is at 12 o’clock in a subdial, that to me is a bit weird as usually, it is the big second’s hand, but this time it is reversed. This automatically makes timing something very un-precise. The battery life on these is usually 2-3 years.
The strap is a hand-stitched genuine leather strap with a weathered look. The dark green colour matches very well with the military aviation look of the watch and goes well with the black case. I always have said that AVI-8 and Spinnaker have some of the best straps in the market when it comes to stock straps on watches under 500$. The black tang buckle matches the finish of the case and is signed with the AVI-8 logo. The strap is 22mm at the lugs and 20mm at the buckle so take that in mind if you want to swap straps and put the buckle on the new strap.
Overall I really like the watch. AVI-8 nailed the design with that layered dial and distressed panels on the dial with those cockpit inspired frames for the subdials. For the price of only 234$, you get a really good chronograph. The watch has a well-built case with nice black PVD finishing, good Seiko quartz movement which will be precise and reliable, amazing strap and overall good package! For the money there, of course, are more popular options from Seiko themselves, but this one at least is unique and won’t be on so many wrists like the ones from Seiko. None the less this is a great watch for affordable price!
Price: ~234$ @ avi-8.co.uk
Japan Quartz Chronograph with Date
45mm Round Stainless Steel Case
Green Genuine Leather Strap with Strap Buckle