The latest watch release from AVI-8 is a flieger style pilot’s chronograph. It is called the Hawker Hurricane Bulman edition, in honor of Paul Ward Spencer “George” Bulman who was a Royal Air Force pilot and director of the Hawker Aviation company. Fans of AVI-8 will quickly pick up on the “Hawker” connection that threads most of the brand’s pieces together.
Readers of the 8:20 Blog will know that design and style are important to us when assessing a timepiece. The Bulman has you covered in that regard. It features a combination of intentional imperfections with modern, clean lines. The distressed look is carried out from the dial to the strap, yet matched with a stealthy black PVD that keeps it balanced and not exaggerated.
On the dial, there is a finished top layer that has matte brown scratches over a black plate. This adds perfect contrast against the glossy black textured bottom layer. AVI-8 always sticks with consistency in their pieces and wrapped the chrono subdials in a screw and bezel frame that resembles an aircraft instrument panel. This element can be found on many of the watches in their Hawker line.
The Bulman is powered by a quartz Seiko Instruments (SII) caliber VD51B. This movement reverses the standard chronograph setup by giving it a running central seconds hand and placing the chronograph seconds in the subdial at 12:00. At 6:00 you can find a 60 minute counter, as well as a date at 3:00. Since the VD51B is not a typical three-eye chrono, it leaves extra space in the 9:00 region of the dial, but AVI-8 filled this in nicely with a subtle version of their bullseye logo.
Along with the standard hours and minute markers, you also get a taste of a sandwich style dial with the stenciled 2, 4, 8, and 10. Combined with the sword style hands, this layout makes for a nice lumeshot. The lume could be brighter, but it’s about what you can expect from this price range.
AVI-8 packaged the Bulman edition in a 45mm stainless steel case that sits 12mm tall on the wrist. There are three variations, offering 2 options for the exterior: steel finish of black PVD. We thought the black model shown here (AV-4068-03) looked the best, but you might like the blue dial on steel (AV-4068-02), or the brown dial on steel (AV-4068-01).
A Hawker Hurricane plane is flying across the screw-down steel caseback. It has the standard notches making it easy to perform DIY battery changes. The VD51B only eats batteries about ever 3 years, so you still have plenty of time before having to replace it.
The strap is a hand-stitched genuine leather strap with a weathered appearance. It looks great with the concept of the distressed dial. The black tang buckle matches the finish of the case. If you want to swap the strap later, you will want something that fits the 22mm lugs.
The crystal has some healthy curve to it. It’s a mineral style and not sapphire, so you will want to be aware of that when walking past door jams or anything else that could potentially scratch it. AVI-8 managed to keep this timepiece priced at around $200 and this is partially why.
Overall, the AVI-8 Hawker Hurricane Bulman is a great looking affordable flieger chronograph that you could wear with almost anything. Sign-ups have started for a pre-order. Check them out here.