By Jake Fogarty, founder of It's All About Watches:
The Flyboy has become, at least in my mind, the ultimate AVI-8 to own. It is nicely sized, and is the pinnacle of quality at this price point ($170). The design is clearly aviation-themed and it is comfortable on the wrist. Keep reading to find out more...
Case and Crown
This watch has a beautiful case. It reminds me quite a bit of the Hawker Harrier II case (which I also reviewed here on It's All About Watches) with it's overall design. It is 43mm in diameter and has a lug to lug length of 48mm. There are a few differences though including the size, lack of crown guards, and a few other details (such as the mirror polishing on the outer edge of the lugs). In keeping with the name of this watch (Flyboy is a term used to describe pilots, but was particularly used during WWI and WWII), there are no crown guards, which is a feature especially seen on vintage watches. The case is very smooth and nicely finished stainless steel plated in rose gold. The mineral crystal barely sits above the bezel which reduces the risk of scratching and bumping. I measured the lug width at 22mm.
The onion crown also screams pilot watch. It is 6.5mm in diameter and sticks out from the watch 4mm. Surprisingly enough, it does not dig into one's hand. This is thanks to the leather NATO the watch comes on, which allows the watch to shift slightly to either direction. Found on the crown, like other AVI-8 watches, is a bulls eye.
The case back is regular stainless steel, which is perfectly fine and doesn't affect the appearance of the watch as no one sees this area. On the mineral crystal is the AVI-8 name that, although looks black in the picture, is actually mirror-like.
Strap and Buckle
One of the major complaints people have about this watch is the strap. They say the leather NATO feels flimsy out of the box. To be honest, it sort of did. However, after I wore it for a few days, it broke in nicely and now it doesn't feel as flimsy (and it is much softer). Even in the beginning it felt sturdy, but not quite as much as it does now.
The crown and rings are also plated in rose gold. Although not visible, the plating is quite thick. Unfortunately, while wearing it, I scratched one of the rings on a piece of metal. I expected stainless steel to be showing, but it wasn't. There is clearly a mark on the ring, but rose gold is still the only thing showing.
Dial and Hands
This dial was a treat to photograph and look at. The texture is absolutely amazing and it looks even better in person. Words cannot describe how it looks when hit with light at the right angle, just amazing. There are other interesting features on the dial as well, such as the "0" at the 12 o'clock position rather than the normal, bland "12". This, as well as the hand choice, remind me of an altimeter, which is basically an altitude indicator in airplanes. A good picture of an altimeter can be found here.
The lume on this watch is quite surprising. In the last review, I talked about the Hawker Harrier II and it's quickly fading lume. On the other hand, the Flyboy's lume shined brightly for a while and six hours after being exposed to light, the hands were still clearly visible.
In the last AVI-8 review, I did not talk about the packaging, something that should be fixed. The packaging on these watches is great. The watch comes in a cube with a pillow inside. Both the instruction manual and warranty card are included (note that the watches named after planes will come with an extra card with some information about the plane.
Since the packaging doesn't matter to most people, it won't receive a score.
On the Wrist
For reference my wrist is 6.75 inches. This is a very comfortable watch and it feels fantastic while wearing it.
Overall score: 27.5/30
I will echo my thoughts about this being the ultimate AVI-8 to own. There is a lot to like about this watch and there is plenty of evidence to back up my statement of "ultimate AVI-8". There aren't many things I could complain about when talking about this watch. However, there are a few things which could possibly be changed below:
1) Around 40% of the time, the date is off-center in the window. It is always readable but I am a bit fussy about this sort of thing.
2) The minute and second hands don't quite reach the minute track around the outer edge of the dial. One can still, with ease, read the time, but it would help if these hands were slightly longer.
I wish I could think of more things, but everything is very nicely done on this watch.
Please note that all scores are given relative to the price of the watch.
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