If you search the Breitling website for Colt, you won’t find anything anymore. Perhaps only a short description of the collection. But there is nothing else left of a line that established itself in the 1980s to become the entry level watch at Breitling. The Avenger appeared suddenly in 2001, forcing fans to decide between the Colt and the Avenger. Though there were certainly some quite obvious similarities, the details made the difference. For example, there was a Breitling logo in white gold on the Avenger’s dial, or the domed sapphire glass – instead of the gold-plated logo and flat glass used on the Colt. Also, the ETA movement 2893-2 that powered the Avenger was of higher quality then the 2824-2 used for the Colt. Hence, the price was also slightly higher, which caused even more irritation amongst some buyers who wondered whether this extra investment would be worth the difference.
Current CEO Georges Kern has now taken the decision for them by eliminating the Colt altogether. Since he took over two years ago, we can see how Kern is ‘cleaning up’ the brand and reducing references within the product families. And why should you waste your time with two models that cannibalize each other? There are simply too many similarities. Now, the Avenger needs to assert itself as the new entry level watch at Breitling. A total of 16 brand new Avenger models have recently been introduced in Zürich.
BREITLING AVENGER: NOT MADE FOR HOBBY PILOTS
Although Georges Kern likes to use the rich history of the brand and continuously revives historic models, the Avenger is anything but nostalgic. Hence, it is not surprising that Kern does not dwell on past PanAm memories, but has selected aviation specialists of the present and united them into a ‘Squad’. The Spanish fighter pilot Rocío González Torres is becoming a role model for the Avenger – she is the first woman ever to log 1,000 hours at the controls of an F-18 fighter jet. In a rather male dominated field, she exudes courage and self-confidence, and will surely attract the female consumer, which is not surprising if you remember that the Colt was also a sort of womanizer. Breitling’s ‘Aviation Pioneers Squad’ is rounded out by world champion drone pilot Luke Bannister and recently retired astronaut Scott Kelly, who enriches the ‘Squad’ with his huge wealth of experience.
From the carefully selected ambassadors, you will immediately recognize that the Avenger is not just a dainty aviator watch for gentle pilot wrists. It has that ‘ready before you are’ attitude. The Avenger is loud, sharp and edgy, which originally had a functional purpose that enabled its wearer to operate the bezel with gloves. The new collection starts with four relatively moderate watches in a 43 mm case – as a chronograph or an automatic – each with a blue or black dial on a stainless-steel bracelet, or a black or blue military strap. At the heart of the Avenger Chronograph 43 is the Breitling automatic calibre 13, with a power reserve of 38 hours. The automatic version is equipped with the calibre 17, also offering 38 hours of power reserve. Both watches are COSC-certified chronometers, just like all 16 new Avenger models.
SEAWOLVES ON A NIGHTMISSION
The models in the 45 mm case size come in seven different versions. Two automatic models (Seawolf), two GMT’s and two chronographs, where each also comes in a ‘Night Mission’ version crafted from a light DLC-coated titanium. The Seawolf is a true classic from the Avenger series and features a striking yellow dial, and is waterproof up to 3,000 metres. The Avenger Automatic 45 Seawolf Night Mission, however, has a black dial and is worn on an anthracite military leather strap. Both GMT models have a red arrow hand which displays a second time zone. Both run with the automatic Breitling calibre 32 with a power reserve of 42 hours. The Arabic numerals from the Avenger Automatic GMT 45 Night Mission were inspired by the numbers stencilled on the decks of aircraft carriers. It has a black dial and comes with a sand-coloured leather military strap. Inside both of the two 45 mm chronographs, you will find a Breitling calibre 13 with a power reserve of 48 hours. The ‘Night Mission’ version also offers a military leather strap in khaki green.
If you now think that you need even more watch on your wrist, you might like the Super Avenger Chronograph 48 statement piece (or as a ‘Night Mission’ version). We recommend you to try on the Avenger models at your local retailer or boutique, as this collection seems to have its own dimensions. By the way, the larger 48s are also sold at the same price as the 45s. Last but not least, on the occasion of the 55th anniversary of the Swiss Air Force, Breitling launched a specially dedicated Avenger Chronograph 45 Swiss Air Force Team Limited Edition (550 pieces) with a stainless-steel case and black dial with a Swiss Air Force logo and corresponding coloured accents.
Avenger purists will enjoy the details: for example, the applied indexes that seem to have been cleanly cut from SuperLuminova blocks. Or the satin-finished cases and bracelets. The shiny polished steel models were often criticized – they simply don’t fit the image of this line. The automatic Avenger with the 43 mm case is available at a starting price of 3’450 euros. The ‘Night Mission’ models are priced at up to 5’750 euros.