Retracing the celebrated design codes of the REF.756 AVI co-pilot, the Classic AVI collection recalls Breitling’s earliest ties with aviation from the 1930s onwards when the watch brand was known for the precision cockpit clocks and pilot’s chronographs produced by its Huit aviation department. The Classic AVI pays homage to this unique heritage with a highly legible dial, rugged case, and signature rotating bezel that allowed pilots to measure some of the very first long-haul flights.
Today, the collection celebrates the pioneering spirit of those early aviators along with four legendary planes: the Curtiss P40 Warhawk, the De Havilland Mosquito, the Vought F4U Corsair, and the North American P-51 Mustang.
The Classic AVI Chronograph 42 Curtiss Warhawk
Conceived as a pursuit aircraft, the Curtiss P-40 Warhawk first flew in 1938 and quickly proved itself as a master of agility. It wasn’t just the plane’s capacity for pulling jaw-dropping turns that gave it an in-flight edge, its robust structure meant it could tolerate harsh weather conditions and even many mid-air collisions. The Warhawk’s defiant shark-mouth nose art sealed its reputation as the rebel of the skies.
The Classic AVI Chronograph 42 Mosquito
In an era when aluminium and steel shortages were common, the engineers behind the de Havilland Mosquito made use of a still plentiful material: wood. The “Wooden Wonder” caused shockwaves when it outperformed its metal contemporaries to become of the fastest planes built between 1940 and 1950. Its superior manoeuvrability allowed it to multitask in roles as far ranging from light number, night-fighter, transport, and photographic reconnaissance aircraft.
The Classic AVI Chronograph 42 Tribute to Vought F4U Corsair
As a WWII naval aircraft, the Corsair had to make tricky takeoffs and landings from carriers and remote landing strips. Speed and lift were of the essence, and the plane came through with flying colours, becoming the first single-engine fighter to crack the 400 mph (640 km/h) mark, while also providing an exceptional rate of climb. Its “bent-wing” design, oversized propeller and signature blue livery make it an emblem of aviation history.
The Classic AVI Chronograph 42 P-51 Mustang
When the P-51 was built in a mere 120 days, even its developer North American Aviation, didn’t anticipate what a power it had on its hands. The P-51’s low-drag wings and engine cooling system – considered experimental when the single-seat fighter first took off in 1940 – gave it unprecedented speed and range. The addition of a Merlin engine expanded the plane’s performance to high altitudes, making it the best all-purpose fighter of its time.
Join Breitling in celebrating the legacy of aviation's early heroes. The Classic AVI collection stands as a testament to their unwavering determination and sets a new standard for elegance and functionality in the world of aviation-inspired timepieces.