AVI-8 Flyboy Centenary
At first glance from afar, the AVI-8 Centenary seems to checks off a few boxes. The size gives a strong wrist presence at 42mm. However, this wears a bit smaller because of the strong bezel. This offers a great feel on the wrist that doesn’t disappear with a jacket, sweater, or long sleeve shirt. The light brown strap (22mm) matches wonderfully with the cream dial, creating a nice color pallet between the dial, date window, and strap. While I personally haven’t worn this on other straps, I don’t think it’ll be easy to beat the stock strap’s color and feel.
Closer inspection of this watch highlights a few great features. While a very small detail that may not be of major importance to most buyers, the black outline around the date window adds a great look to the design. In my personal opinion, too many watches and brands do not offer an outline around date windows; this leads to the date being lost on the dial or the design washing it out. If you hadn’t thought of this, I invite you to look at all watches under this scope. It may ruin some for you (sorry) or make you fall in love even more. The Centenary incorporates this date outline very well.
This piece offers applied indices that create a great depth within the dial. On closer look under sunlight, the indices’ brushed finish pops and give a beautiful level of detail. This brushed finish extends to the hands.
The textured cream dial on the Centenary adds a level of character that is greatly appreciated. It avoids the plain design many flieger watches fall victim to, without distracting from their proprietary look they’re famous for. This pairs well with the raised indices and stock strap.
This piece is carved out of solid 316L stainless steel. It offers sapphire crystal and lumed hands. The small seconds feature adds clarity and legibility to the minute and hour hands by avoiding clutter. The large crown allows easy grip for winding or time setting. Finally, the Centenary offers a 21 jewel Japanese automatic movement that can also be wound manually.
There’s a lot to like about the Centenary. A personal favorite is the brushed finish within the markers. This is something I rarely see in watches, even those of a higher price range.
The large crown, in addition to its tactical advantages, plays well with the overall vintage design of the watch, alluding to aviator watches of the 1940’s.
Deep dome sapphire. That’s a consensus highlight, right? No need to explain more.
The movement, while not a high-level Swiss movement, is a great choice for a watch in this price range. Say what you will about Japanese watches (I personally have nothing but praise for them), they make true workhorse movements that will last you long beyond their advertised life.
The price (around $300usd) is a great price point for a watch like this.
On a similar track, an exhibition caseback is always appreciated, especially with mechanical movements.
This watch would have been perfect, in my humble opinion, had it been 2 millimeters smaller. Given the recent trend towards large watches, I can’t blame AVI-8 for their decision. While 42mm isn’t unbearable to wear or close to it, this design would have worked better on smaller dimensions.
More lume would have been greatly appreciated. This isn’t a criticism of the quality of the lume, but rather the amount of markers on the dial. The applied markers I’ve raved about throughout this review are partial culprits of this, but for a design that highlights and takes pride on legibility, more lume would go a long way.
I was pleasantly surprised with this watch. This was my first taste of AVI-8, and it won’t be the last. While not a perfect watch, this one gets a lot of things right in a design category that is almost always done “wrong”. It’s definitely worth your time, especially if you’re a fan of fliegers and are a bit bored with the usual 3-hand design.