Georges Kern’s permanent revolution at Breitling rolls on with an overhaul of the Avenger. Breitling is too big a brand for even a boss as hyper-active as Kern to strip down and revamp in one go, so having put the emblematic Navitimer through the mill in his first year in charge, the Avenger / Colt designs were always going to be next in line – Navitimer might be the watch you most associate with Breitling, but it’s the Avenger that sells the volume.
So far, Breitling’s reset has focussed on renewing the brand’s connection to its pioneering years when Breitling was bound into the aviation world, supplying cockpit clocks and pilots’ watches to air lines and forces around the world. That’s meant culling design cues from historic watches, using colours from long gone airlines such as Pan-Am and TWA and emphasising the growing collector demand for vintage watches. The Avenger is different.
First shown in 2001, there’s nothing vintage about the Avenger. From the start it was meant to reflect the cutting edge of aviation rather than its cracked-leather and sepia past, hence all those sharp angles and chunky riders on the bezel (so the watch can be handled with gloves on), stencilled number fonts and generous helpings of Superluminova, while special editions came in black PVD or even polymer cases and with orange or yellow dials.
It’s a formula that’s worked well for nearly 20 years and Breitling’s new Avenger collection keeps to the essentials – big, bold and with just the right dose of military machismo. There are big (43-48mm) DLC-coated titanium and steel cases, bright yellow dials and sharp details, but there is also a more contemporary flavour; sands and khakis used in a freer way than you might have seen in the past, more military chic than wannabe pilot.