We have reviewed a lot of AVI-8 watches on this blog, but they usually are quartz driven, but this time we have an automatic AVI-8 watch which actually is pretty cool looking. The new model is called the P51 Mustang Bottisham. AVI-8 has made a niche for themselves by creating watches which are inspired by certain aircraft from all over the world. These aren’t exactly pilots watches, but rather watches that share distinct design elements with the planes that they pay tribute to.
The P-51 Mustang was built by North American Aviation, and in the 1940s was powered by the same Rolls Royce Merlin engine found in the legendary Supermarine Spitfires and Hawker Hurricanes (AVI-8 has a whole collection based on this name) built in Great Britain. Together, these planes had a major role in winning the Second World War, flying in Europe, the Meditteranean, and the Pacific. The P-51 Mustang was known for its supreme speed and maneuverability and remained a mainstay in many Air Force regimens throughout the world into the 1980s.
The AVI-8 has created a watch in three colourways matching the colours of the P51 Mustangs from the back of the day. There is a full black one with grey and blue dial, stainless steel with a black and red dial and example we have here with a stainless steel case and green and yellow dial. I chose this variant as I liked it the most and there isn’t much green dialed watches out there for some reason.
The P51 Mustang comes in a very nice black canvas box. Inside the box, you get a nice aluminium card with P51 Mustang engraved on it and AVI-8 logo. Also, you get a cleaning cloth, manual and a second strap which is a pretty cool one made from Nylon and Canvas and looks like something an astronaut is wearing his watch on. And of course, we also have the watch itself! First impressions were good, I really like the stitched trap which looked like something out of an interior of a vintage Porsche or something. I also liked the blue and white star on the rotor, that is a cool detail.
The case of the P51 Mustang is made of 316L stainless steel. The case shape is round with Panerai style crown guard at 3 o’clock. The case features brushed surfaces on most of the case, the polished finishing can be seen on the sides of the case and on the case back. Machine work as usually is very good with no visible defects or anything. The case diameter is 44mm, the thickness is 13,5mmand the lug to lug distance is 51mm. The watch on paper actually seems very big, but on the wrist, it strangely wears like a 42mm watch. At 3 o’clock we have a push-pull crown which is protected by crown guard which is held on with small screws. The crown the guard just happens to look like the exhaust on the sides of the plane’s Rolls-Royce engines. The crown action is pretty good and it is very easy to use and grip. The screw-in exhibition case back has some specifications engraved around the mineral crystal. On top of the watch, we have a sapphire crystal with AR coating which works pretty good in daylight. The water resistance is 50m (5ATM) which isn’t a lot, but as this is pretty much a pilot’s watch, it doesn’t need a lot as you won’t be swimming with it anyway.
The dial is very interesting as you will find many details from the P51 Mustang used in it. The font used for the numbering is identical to the font on the Mustang’s exterior – a classic, stencilled look. There’s also an irregular cutout around the lower left quadrant of the dial, which matches a similar cutout on the Mustang’s instrument panel. The dial is in this dark green/army green colour. The lumed indexes are deeply embossed, and glow in low light for better visibility. Around the dial, we have a minute track with hour markers raised higher than the main dial. Between 12 and 3 o’clock we have a yellow plate that’s held on with two screws. On the yellow plate we have the Vibrations Per Hour or VPH of the movement that’s inside the watch. At 4 o’clock we have a square date window with a yellow date window to match the other yellow accents on the dial. The Pilot style hour and minute hands are lumed, the yellow stick-shaped second’s hand sadly isn’t lumed.
The movement that is inside the watch is Japan made Seiko NH35, which is running at +15 to +18 seconds a day, at least for me. This movement is pretty popular in the microbrand world as 50% of watches that are coming out have this movement inside them. It has proven it’s reliability and easiness to service within many years. You just can’t go wrong with Japan made movements from Seiko. It is an automatic 24 jewel movement with 41-hour power reserve and beating away with 21,600 BPH. AVI-8 also throws on top of the movement a customized rotor with a blue circle with a white star in the middle just like the P51 Mustang’s had.
The straps that came with the watch are also very inspired by the aeronautical theme. The creamy brown leather strap that came on a watch is nicely stitched with a ribbed surface on top. The underlining is in black colour and the strap is signed. The leather is very soft to touch and the strap itself is very supple and wraps your wrist nicely. The loops are made of dark green leather to match the dial of the watch. On the end, you have a nice tang style buckle with deeply engraved AVI-8 logo. This watch features a 22mm lug width so if you want to change a trap, it will be very easy as there are plenty of options out there in this size. The second strap that came with the watch is also pretty nice, it looks similar to the NASA strap that pilots wore on missions in space. The nylon strap felt very comfortable although it wasn’t my cup of tea as it made the watch feel big on the wrist and I don’t like that.
Overall this, in my opinion, is the best watch so far from all the ones I have reviewed from AVI-8 line up. It has a nice design, sapphire crystal, automatic movement, great lume, cool straps and overall nice packaging. The price for this exact model right now is around 319.97€ which is cheap in my opinion. So if you are looking at AVI-8 watches, this is right now the top model I suggest getting!
Japan Automatic 3 Hands with Date
Size : 44mm Round Stainless Steel Case
Thickness : 13.5mm
Lug to Lug: 51mm
Crystal: Sapphire Lens with AR Coating
22mm Brown Genuine Leather Strap with Green Extra Nylon & Canvas Strap