Exactly one hundred years ago, the Royal Air Force first took to the skies above the United Kingdom. Since then, they’ve done their part in protecting the well-being of those who live below over the course of the multiple global conflicts. This founding of the Royal Air Force in 1918 also served worldwide importance as the first independent air force developed by a sovereign nation – a notable accomplishment indeed.
Now, to commemorate the 100-year Anniversary of the Royal Air Force, AVI-8 is releasing a unique collection of timepieces – dubbed the FlyBoy Centenary Collection – that incorporates both iconic design aesthetics and key references to specific eras of the RAF’s tenure. The collection, spanning four decades of RAF history, pays tribute the early “Flyboys” who bravely took the skies during the early days of military aircraft. From here, each watch is based on their Flyboy lineup but with a unique dial, font, hand, and strap that allude to a particular decade. The first round – featured below – pays homage to the 20s and 40s and is now available for preorder.
Centenary 1920s Edition
Alluding to both the classic field and pilot watch, the 1920s Centenary Flyboy collection is both perfectly proportioned and sized to its early predecessors. Each watch comes equipped with a 42mm 316L Stainless steel case, protected by scratch resistant domed sapphire crystal and boasts a see-through case back. One element that stands out particularly well is the timepiece’s oversized “pumpkin” crown – alluding to those found on pocket watches and wristwatch conversions during the early 20th century.
One element that stands out is the timepiece’s oversized “pumpkin” crown – alluding to those found on pocket watches and wristwatch conversions during the early 20th century.
For the dial, AVI-8 decided to pay homage to classic 1920s typeface designs. Here, you’ll find neo-gothic fonts that mark out the hours complemented by super LumiNova to enhance visibility in low light. Additionally, railroad markings provide a nice touch in framing the dial, a Miyota 8219 automatic movement keeps things ticking along without worry, and a fine hand-stitched buffalo hide leather strap adds a timeless element to help round out the piece.
Centenary 1940s Edition
Born out of a no-nonsense design that characterized the mentality during and immediately following the Second World War, the 1940s edition pays tribute to one of the most utilitarian designs of all time. Unlike the earlier decades, by mid-century, pilot watches adorned the wrists of practically every member of the RAF. Therefore legibility became as crucial design element to consider.
And that’s precisely what AVI-8 has handsomely replicated with this watch iteration. Each piece is also carved from 316L Stainless steel, comes complete with a scratch resistant lens, and measures in a 42mm in diameter. For the crown, the good folk over at AVI-8 chose to run with a grip-worthy conical crown with the RAF roundel stamped on the top.Each timepiece is powered by a 21-jewel Miyota 8218 self-winding automatic movement with a unique Centenary rotor design seen through the transparent case back. Each timepiece is also powered by a 21-jewel Miyota 8218 self-winding automatic movement with a unique Centenary rotor design seen through the transparent case back. Additionally, for the dial, AVI-8 worked to create a fine balance between the hands and markers for simplified legibility that’s on par with the design style of the time. Hour markers have thus been replaced with minutes since this measurement of time was more useful to pilots. Also, an upright equilateral triangle index at the 12 o’clock position allows for a quick read-out of the time when needed and a comfortable hand-stitched buffalo hide leather strap will keep things classy for years to come.
The AVI-8 Centenary Collection
For more info on the full collection, be sure to check out the entire lineup on the AVI-8 site where they’re now accepting pre-orders for a discounted rate.