Best AVI-8 Watch Reviews

Updated November 29, 2020

The last 10 years or so has seen the establishment of many smaller watch brands, offering an alternative to very expensive luxury timepieces or more reasonably priced mass-produced options.

AVI-8 (pronounced as ‘aviate’) is one of these new companies.

They offer something unique, as they design and make watches which are inspired by aviation.

The aviation influence is clear in every aspect of their brand, from the names of their watches to the dial design.

This approach will certainly appeal to a certain niche, but of course the real test is whether their watches offer quality and value as well as an interesting back story.

We’ve taken a look at some of the models on offer within AVI-8’s range, to put their watches under scrutiny.

Read on for our reviews, as well as a little more information about their brand.

See Our Top AVI 8 Watches

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1 AVI-8 - AV-4056-03 Hawker Harrier II Japan Quartz Watch AVI-8 Hawker Harrier II Watch
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2
Best For Low Budgets
2AVI-8 Hawker Hurricane Watch
AVI-8 - Men's AV-4053 Hawker Hurricane
Best For Low Budgets
AVI-8 Hawker Hurricane Watch
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3 AVI-8 - Hawker Harrier II Matador Edition Watch
Best For Higher Budgets
AVI-8 Hawker Harrier II Matador Edition Watch
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4 AVI-8 - Hawker Hunter Retrograde Chronograph AV-4052-02
Best Overall
AVI-8 Hawker Hunter Retrograde Watch
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5 AVI-8 - Aviator Watch AV-4052-01 AVI-8 Aviator Watch
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6 AVI-8 - Flyboy AV-4075 Edgar - Automatic Engineering Wristwatch - Edgar AVI-8 Flyboy AV-4075 Edgar Watch
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1. AVI-8 Hawker Harrier II Watch

Highlights
  • Inspired by the Hawker Harrier ‘Jump Jet’
  • Unusual gunmetal-coloured case
  • Brown leather strap with army green canvas detail
  • Face has a unique, utilitarian design

The design of this AVI-8 model was inspired by the Hawker Harrier, also known as the ‘Jump Jet’.

The result is a watch with utilitarian style, with a stainless steel case in a gunmetal finish on a brown leather strap which has army green canvas detail.

The design looks and feels sturdy and there are attractive red accents on the face and crown to add interest.

The hour hands match the gunmetal of the bezel, as to the hour and minute hands which are outlined in a dull gold.

Only part of the face has hour markers, so it can be hard to check the time quickly without these as a guide.

The small size of the date window can also make it tricky to view the date.

We like the unusual design and details such as the faceted finish on the crown. Overall, this piece offers great style and good, if not great, functions.

Specifications

Material:
Stainless Steel
Size:
Case thickness: 13 mm
Movement:
Quartz
Case Diameter:
45 mm
Watch Strap:
20 mm, Leather and canvas

Pros

  • Japanese Quartz chronograph movement
  • Water resistant to 50m
  • Day and date display
  • Stainless steel case

Cons

  • Not all hour positions have markings, so it can be hard to read the precise time
  • Date window is small and difficult to read

2. AVI-8 Hawker Hurricane Watch

Highlights
  • Vintage style
  • Simple, easy to read dial
  • 12-hour markers with 24-hour subindex
  • Leather strap with hand stitched detailing
Best For Low Budgets
AVI-8 - Men's AV-4053 Hawker Hurricane

This is one of the lower-priced timepieces within AVI-8’s range and it’s a simple design that manages to feel both vintage and contemporary.

The clear face is inspired by a cockpit altimeter, with 12-hour markers and a smaller display showing 24-hour time, as well as a date display at the 3 o’clock position.

The hour and minute hands are simple and monotone, with a small orange second hand which helps it stand out.

There are different colourways available depending on your preference.

This is a fuss-free watch, with a clean design and decorative touches such as the hand stitching on the leather strap.

Specifications

Material:
Stainless Steel
Size:
Case thickness: 10 mm
Movement:
Quartz
Case Diameter:
43 mm
Watch Strap:
20 mm, Leather

Pros

  • Japanese Quartz movement
  • Date window at 3 o’clock position
  • Water resistant to 50m
  • Available in two colourways

Cons

  • The luminous hands are not very bright if trying to tell the time in low light
  • Limited functions, but stylish

3. AVI-8 Hawker Harrier II Matador Edition Watch

Highlights
  • Eye-catching skeletonised dial
  • Chronograph with 1/20 second function 
  • Faceted crown 
  • Carved caseback inspired by the turbines of the Harrier’s engine
Best For Higher Budgets
AVI-8 - Hawker Harrier II Matador Edition Watch

The Hawker Harrier Matador edition is a very eye-catching timepiece, with a skeletonised dial that gives a three-dimensional feel to the face.

The top layer is white, with the cut-out section revealing details in silver and blue.

The effect is visually stunning, though it can make it more difficult to distinguish the hour and minute hands against the background, as these are also white and silver, as are the hour markers.

It becomes easier to read the face in low light because the hands and markers are luminous.

There’s a chronograph dial at the 3 o’clock position that can measure down to 1/20th of a second, and a double aperture at 12 o’clock for the date display.

This is a great watch for the office or evenings out.

Specifications

Material:
Stainless Steel
Size:
Case thickness: 15 mm
Movement:
Quartz
Case Diameter:
45 mm
Watch Strap:
22 mm, Leather

Pros

  • Luminous hands and hour markers
  • Leather strap with military inspired stitching
  • Water resistant to 50m
  • Large date display in the 12 o’clock position

Cons

  • The dial in the 6 o’clock position gets a little lost in the design
  • The silver and white hands can be hard to locate against the busy dial

4. AVI-8 Hawker Hunter Retrograde Watch

Highlights
  • Round dial within a squared off face for an unusual design
  • Emulates the instrument panel and cockpit and the Hawker Hunter jet
  • Skeletonised hands allow clear reading of the dials
  • 10-minute retrograde
Best Overall
AVI-8 - Hawker Hunter Retrograde Chronograph AV-4052-02

This chunky style features a round dial and bezel set on a squared case, giving this watch real impact on your wrist.

Visually, the display manages to combine a number of dials and yet still feel uncluttered enough to read the time easily, thanks to the hour markers which stand out boldly in white against the black face.

The skeletonised hands also ensure that the dials are not obscured as the hands move around the face. As with other AVI-8 watches, this model uses a Japanese quartz movement.

As well as the 10-minute retrograde dial (the hand moves across the dial to 10 minutes then sweeps back to 0 again), there are two other subdials and a date window.

Specifications

Material:
Stainless Steel
Size:
Case thickness: 12 mm
Movement:
Quartz
Case Diameter:
45 mm
Watch Strap:
22 mm, Leather

Pros

  • Marine grade stainless steel case
  • Leather strap
  • Water resistant to 50m
  • Date display

Cons

  • Large face may not suit smaller wrists
  • A Sapphire crystal lens would have been a nice feature

5. AVI-8 Aviator Watch

Highlights
  • Stainless steel face gives a classic look
  • 10-minute retrograde dial
  • Skeletonised hands allow clear reading of the subdials
  • Reflects the style of cockpit instrumentation

This model offers the military rugged styling of cockpit instrumentation, but using stainless steel and tan leather gives a timeless and classic look.

The circular face appears to be mounted on a squared backing, but the case is still only 12mm deep. There are three subdials, including a 10-minute retrograde, plus a small date display.

Despite these features, the face does not look cluttered, partly thanks to the mainly monochrome palette.

The bold black hour markers are clean and stand out against the textured white face, and skeletonised hands mean the subdials are not obscured.

Overall, an attractive timepiece which could suit casual or more formal wear.

Specifications

Material:
Stainless Steel
Size:
Case thickness: 12 mm
Movement:
Quartz
Case Diameter:
45 mm
Watch Strap:
20 mm, Leather

Pros

  • Leather strap
  • Water resistant to 50m
  • Clear, bold hour markers
  • Textured face

Cons

  • Date window is very small
  • Chunky size for smaller wrists

6. AVI-8 Flyboy AV-4075 Edgar Watch

Highlights
  • Classic and clean design
  • Clear and bold hour markers
  • Secondary 24-hour display
  • Stainless steel bracelet with fold over buckle

The design of this Flyboy watch from AVI-8 is classic and clean. A stainless steel bezel surrounds the black face, which is easy to read thanks to the bold white hour markers.

There’s a secondary 24-hour display in addition to 12-hour time, and a date display at the 3 o’clock position.

Chunky, tapered hour and minute hands are luminous to help you see the time in low light, although we’d have liked the glow to be stronger.

The stainless steel bracelet gives a sophisticated look, and it can be resized if needed. If you’re looking for a classy watch for day and evening wear with some stylistic nods to aviation, this is a perfect choice.

Specifications

Material:
Stainless Steel
Size:
Case thickness: 13.5 mm
Movement:
Quartz
Case Diameter:
42 mm
Watch Strap:
22 mm

Pros

  • Luminous hands
  • Date display
  • Sapphire lens
  • Bracelet can be resized

Cons

  • Limited features
  • Glow from the luminescent hands is fairly dim

AVI-8 Watch Buying Guide

AVI-8 Brand

You could easily think that AVI-8 has a long history, as the watches in its collections take design inspiration from aviation history. 

However, compared with some of the long-established watchmakers in the marketplace, AVI-8 is a comparative newcomer. 

AVI-8 is presented as if it’s a British company and it does have some links to the United Kingdom, but it is actually owned by Dartmouth Brands, based in Hong Kong. 

It produces timepieces in China, which means it is able to offer quality design at competitive prices.

Movement

A watch movement is quite simply what makes the watch run. 

There are two main types; mechanical and quartz. 

Watches with mechanical movements tend to be more expensive, as they require a complex series of parts, precisely engineered to work together. 

A mechanical movement has a spring which is wound to create and store energy. That energy is transferred through gears and springs to power the watch. Mechanical movements are often favoured by enthusiasts for their craftsmanship and engineering. 

A Quartz movement is battery powered and has far fewer moving parts, making them cheaper and easier to produce. 

Quartz movements have the advantage of being very reliable and need minimal maintenance, aside from changing the battery when necessary. 

The battery sends a current through a quartz crystal, hence the name, and this makes the crystal create vibrations which in turn drive the motor to make the hands move.

Design

The unique approach of AVI-8 is to take design inspiration from aviation history. 

This influence is seen not only in their own brand name but in every aspect, from the names of collections such as Hawker Hunter or Spitfire, to the laser cut images of jets on the back of some of their watches. 

You’ll find design features such as dials which mimic cockpit instrumentation and straps in military-inspired colourways such as khaki. 

The exact features differ in each collection, depending on the aircraft inspiration is taken from.

Uses

AVI-8 watches are a great option if you’re looking for a timepiece for day-to-day wear. 

Depending on your choice of style and materials, designs can be rugged or more dressy. 

Although some of the watches are sporty in appearance, they don’t generally have any features of a sports watch such as a stopwatch. 

Materials

Perhaps in keeping with their aviation inspiration, AVI-8 typically produces watch cases in stainless steel. 

These can be in coloured finishes or left as silver-toned. 

Stainless steel is an ideal choice for watches as it is tough, doesn’t corrode, and very rarely causes skin irritation.

Many, in fact most, AVI-8 watches have a leather strap. 

It’s not only the appearance of leather that makes it a favourite for watches, it’s also a durable and comfortable material to wear. 

Pricing Range

AVI-8 watches offer good value for attractive designs in good quality materials. 

Their timepieces range from around US$100 to around US$500 at the top end, depending on the design and materials you opt for.

Our Verdict

You don’t have to be an aviation enthusiast to appreciate the pieces in AVI-8’s range, the good quality and eye for design can appeal to all tastes.

At the lower-priced end of AVI-8’s offer, our Best Entry Level choice is the AVI-8 Hawker Hurricane. It’s an elegant and simple design, with some nods to aviation.

Our Top of the Range choice is the AVI-8 Hawker Harrier II Matador Edition, with a skeletonised dial, chronograph and date display.

Of all the timepieces we reviewed, our Best Overall is the AVI-8 Hawker Hunter Retrograde.

It’s a striking watch that manages to be both eye-catching and classic. The tan leather strap offsets the large, squared-off stainless steel case and although there are three subdials, the face is clean and easy to read.

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