AVI-8 stylise timepieces for the sole purpose of literally capturing time gone by within an aviation theme and spirit. Our first take-off into their lengthy wingspan of a lineup is the AVI-8 Lancaster Bomber watch.
The AVI-8 Lancaster Bomber is a watch that currently comes in 32 variants ranging between £150-£295 and our (AV-4024-03) looks better on the wrist than off. When clasped around our wrists the chunky charcoal black leather strap swings either side of the coin (10mm thick) round bezel casing, making an even balance that looked doubtful off the wrist in its rather charming green canvas box. Paying homage to the Lancaster Bomber, the watch exudes a wartime vibe with details like the metal studs on the leather black strap, the time typeface that appears as if it could have come straight out of a ration book and 3 sub-dials to represent the plane's bulbous turrets. Like the Lancaster Bomber this timepiece is weighty and tough, and it has a stainless-steel body that can submerge 5ATM in water and a solid glass display that seems heavy-duty. Our black, white and silver design variation of the 44mm Lancaster Bomber watch is gratifying and has a subdued balance of design notes making it quite tasteful with most dress.
The crown can be whisked out to solely alter the time and nothing more. Of greater interest are the two buttons that surround the crown controlling the chronograph - the top stops/pauses the 60 second sub-dial timer and subsequently the 2nd sub-dial keeps a tally of how many minutes have accrued on the first dial, and the task of rewinding these timers is left to the remaining bottom button when held down. Finally, the military precision isn't lost with the third sub-dial which is dedicated to an intricate 24 hour clock.
To start with our only negative with regard to wear, the crown is placed a few millimetres too low and when we’re wearing the AVI Lancaster Bomber with our hands perched for long periods - when at a keyboard, for instance - the crown can irritate by digging into the skin ever so slightly. In our day to day wearing, however, we haven't really noticed this and the fit and level of comfort is pleasurable. But we like to wear our watches for the whole day without having any issue doing any relatively undemanding arm movement tasks as described.
Telling the Time
White on dark blue is a traditional colour scheme and one that makes readability of the face plain and easy. Glancing at the AVI to read the time is just that, a glance and not a prolonged consideration to get a time reading like it is with certain watches we’ve reviewed. Seen printed in a large font on the face are 0, 3 and 9 hour indicators alongside singular lines representing hours in between - the 6 is missing due to the placement of the 3 sub-dials. These do take a closer inspection and a raise to the eye to retrieve information because of their size. Nevertheless the importance of telling the time quickly is kept clear within this traditional layout. In addition, along the circumference of the watch face, written in a small font, is a 24 hour time representation as seen within our photos. In all honesty we hardly make use of such a facility, but some may like the statement authenticity. The Japan Quartz movement has been flawless.
It’s a quintessentially British timepiece that provides good legibility within a design that genuinely captures the spirt of British aviation through the AVI-8 Lancaster Bomber. Truth be told, off the wrist we weren’t sure about its looks, but when we wore it our opinions were set straight. The design is stark, vintage and unmistakably of a British RAF nature.