Despite recent turbulent times (pun intended #avgeek), under the guidance of Georges Kern and team, Breitling has re-established itself with a robust and cohesive line up of watches.
Today, we take a closer look at a staple of the “air collection”, The Avenger, but more specifically, a newer addition, The Blackbird. Designed to be sleek and stealthy, this particular Breitling is a little different to the usual polished steel cases usually offered.
Titanium has certainly gained popularity in recent years. Breitling went one step further and went full stealth mode, coating the large 48mm case (before you stop reading, there’s a 44mm option also), with “a highly resistant black carbon-based treatment,” aka DLC coating from what I’ve researched.
While large in diameter, case thickness of 14.8mm and a lug width of 24mm (tapers to buckle), it’s surprisingly comfortable on wrist. The curved lugs combined with a canvas strap, allows the wearer to anchor down the watch, while the flat, untreated, screw-down caseback ensures a low profile is maintained.
The 60 minutes, unidirectional bezel is smooth in operation and clicks into position cleanly. On the media model shown, there was a small amount of back-play; however, I’m confident this would be corrected by the small retaining screws found around the bezel edging.
Inside, keeping time is the Breitling B17 movement (a base ETA 2892-A2) that is CSOSC certified, with 42hrs of flight time. The knurled, signed, screw-down crown is easy to manipulate and a pleasure to wind with fantastic grip. Added to this is 300 metres of WR making it a competent diver watch as well.
Depending on lighting conditions, the case finishing changes from a dark black to faded black. I found this dynamic and exciting and enjoyed the changing look.
Yes, the Blackbird is big and bold, yet somehow, as the name suggests, it flies under the radar due to the intelligent design and smart use of light materials and coatings.
A black, textured dial (when viewed under macro) with moderately faux patinaed slim arrowed hands continues the stealth appeal, along with simple yet effective applied baton markers in the same colour.
The red-tipped second’s hand is a welcome pop of colour; useful for those timed missions to the supermarket.
The black, colour matched date wheel is well executed, although the outlined box around it would look better either colour matched to the indices/hands or left unboxed altogether. The same mantra also applies to the small marker at the three position.
Keeping reflections at bay is Breitling’s brilliant, very effective, blue-coated AR on a sapphire crystal. Super Luminova provides night vision found on the hands, markers (except at the three position) and a large lume pip on the bezel. Brightness is quite strong with excellent legibility for a sustained period.
Overall, a no-nonsense, clean dial that’s easy to read no matter the conditions.
Don’t get me wrong, 48mm is big. It certainly filled my 6.5-inch wrist with a lot of dial, but, as stated earlier, was very comfortable on wrist. Perhaps not destined for suit duty at the office, the Blackbird is certainty a great casual option for those that seek a real tool watch that’s a little different.
The supplied green canvas strap (I believe black is the sale colour), was soft and pliable and curved extremely quickly around the wrist. The matching blacked out, tang buckle is a great final touch.
Despite specs on paper, the blackbird Avenger is a surprise package. Treated watches can be a little hit and miss and are not for everyone; however, Breitling has done a phenomenal job with case finishing on this model.
Combined with a pleasing dial (despite a few small personal annoyances), a high degree of finishing and that genuinely beautiful AR coating, this stealthy avenger is sure to appeal to the enthusiast or casual wearer.
It looks to be a smooth and exciting ride for Breitling in the coming years, with a much more streamlined vision coming to fruition. I, for one, am thrilled to see clear skies ahead for a brand that lost its way for a while but is now flying high where they belong.
Breitling Avenger Blackbird Specification:
Case Diameter : 48.0 mm, thickness 14.8 mm
Case: Titanium treated with DLC, Sapphire glass, anti-reflective coating both sides
Movement: Breitling B17 (ETA 2892-A2), CSOSC certified
Power Reserve: Approx 42 hours
Functions: Hours and minutes with central hacking seconds. Date indication at 3 o’clock.
Water Resistance: 300 metres
Australian Retail Pricing : $6,620.00
Local Authorised Dealers :
- Brisbane – The Hour Glass and Hardy Brothers
- Melbourne – Monards ( Collins Street and Crown Casino) ,Gregory Jewellers , The Hour Glass and Watches of Switzerland
- Sydney – Breitling Boutique, Swiss Concept, The Hour Glass and Watches of Switzerland
- Perth – Watches of Switzerland