The epic aerial defense of Britain against the German Luftwaffe during the summer of 1940 was a seminal battle in WWII. It is also regarded as the first major campaign fought almost entirely in the air. Outgunned and outmanned, the Royal Air Force’s fighter pilots showed true grit and enormous bravery in thwarting their enemy, with many heroes emerging from the Battle of Britain. By its official conclusion in late 1940, the Royal Air Force was bloody, but unbroken. The great British lion, Prime Minister Winston Churchill, perfectly described the courage and sacrifice of the RAF’s fighter pilots with the now famous phrase, “Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few.”
In the spirit of memorializing their bravery, AVI-8 has commissioned a special limited edition wrist watch commemorating the RAF pilots of the epic Battle of Britain. It is a labour of love that has taken more than a year of meticulous research, design and production to complete. The many details within the 4046 watch make this much more than just a timepiece. It is in part a wearable testament to the Battle itself. The 43mm diameter case conforms to the shape of a classic vintage pilot’s watch, and includes a genuine, scratch resistant, sapphire lens and coin-edged crown. The bezel is carefully hand polished for an elegant, high-end look.
With 1,963 British aircraft having taken part in the Battle of Britain, AVI-8 decided to produce exactly 1,963 time pieces, representing those aircraft and the brave pilots who flew them. Running along the left side of the case is an individually applied plate, hand-inscribed with each watche’s unique production number. The right side of the case bares the letters RF D. The RF refers to the squadron code for the famed, Polish-manned 303 Squadron, which was the highest scoring Hurricane unit during the Battle of Britain. The flared coin-edged crown has a vintage, machined look and is topped with an engraved roundel completing the side view of the case which mimics the fuselage profile of a Hawker Hurricane.
The see-through, exhibition case back displays the workhorse reliability of the Miyota 8215, 21 jewel self-winding automatic movement that has been painstakingly customised with a cutaway rotor in the shape of a Hawker Hurricane (see above). The Hurricane 4046 timepiece comes with a beautifully supple, double-lined, leather NATO strap and is presented in our iconic field box-style packaging alongside an extra nylon NATO strap for extra versatility.
The dial is an intriguing mix of depth and detail. The base panel captures the concentric, circular outline of the RAF roundel upon a three-armed panel which lifts the 12, 4 and 8 o’clock indexes. A raised tension ring precisely marks the minutes while the lower layer is embossed with a subtle, horizontal pattern separating five minute intervals in a vintage 1940s font. The hour and minute hands make obvious reference to the Hawker Hurricane’s propeller blades, right down to the painted tips. Each owner of this unique timepiece will belong to a select group of watch enthusiasts and collectors.
The best engineers, scientists, designers and pilots have combined over the years to produce cutting edge machines that were designed for the crucial purpose of a country’s defense. Drawing on the absolute best in materials and resources, a series of iconic planes have emerged over the years that serve as a benchmark to look upon our prowess in the skies.
AVI-8 offers a collection of timepieces whose objective is to honor both the aircraft and the untold story of the airmen who have dedicated themselves, both in and out of the cockpit, to bring these incredible machines to life. To purchase these limited edition watches, visit www.avi-8.co.uk