AVI-8 was nice enough to offer a AVI-8 Hawker Harrier II watch for a hands on review, and I was expecting to see it with the black dial, but instead I opened the watch and saw the green dial. For me, this is the perfect color for the watch, so it is a happy accident. That is not to say it does not look good in black, but the green suits is very well.
Why green? Well, it is certainly a pilot’s watch, and a military pilot’s watch at that, but it does not strike me as a modern Air Force or Navy pilot’s watch. It strikes me as a possible vintage Army Air Corp. homage, or really a watch suited for a U.S. Marine Pilot. And since the U.S. Marines fly the Hawker Harrier, it is a perfect association in my mind. If I had to pick a second target group, it would be fans of the Oregon Ducks, since the “0” at 12:00 and the color scheme reminds me of this Pac-12 powerhouse football team’s colors.
At 47mm, it is a large watch, but it is not oversized on my wrist. It fits very comfortable, and the extra real estate on the dial is used for oversized numbers and an uncrowded chapter ring. This is a watch that is easy to read at a glance. The date window at 6:00 is elongated, showing off 3-5 days with a yellow marker for today’s date, but the date ring is unmodified, so the dates themselves are a little hard to read with my old eyes. I am not a fan of small date windows, but this style is a little easier to read because of width of the window. Also, with the width of the watch, the window itself does not infringe on the chapter ring or the markings., and since it is at 6:00, it contributes to the left/right symmetry of the watch.
The dial itself has a bit of depth to it, with a base texturing and second textured dual ring laid on top and screwed down at 3:00 and 9:00 (though I can not say if these are functional screws). This second ring is cut out between the hour markers (except at 12:00) and the cut outs trace the contours of the 3 and 9. The lumed index bars looks to be applied to the chapter ring, and the numbers are also raised, though they don’t look to be applied. The overall effect is to give a subtle depth to the dial, since the dial and ring have the same finish and color. Branding is unobtrusive, with “AVI-8” and “HAWKER HARRIER II” at 12:00 and “AUTOMATIC” above the date cut out at the bottom of the hour.
The watch houses a Miyota 8215 Automatic, a workhorse movement. There is an exhibition caseback showing off the movement and the rotor, with the crystal decorated with the roundel of the Royal Air Force, though the plane is no longer in service with the RAF. The extra width of the watch provides a lot of room on the caseback, so there are actually two circles of text, providing the name, serial number and depth rating (50 meters), everything but the rank.
A diamond crown with the concentric circles of the brand’s logo is large enough to make adjustment and winding simple. The thickness of the case, 13mm, makes the large crown feel properly sized. The case itself is a brushed stainless steel, with a beveled bezel that is dished in slightly where it meets the crystal.
The watch ships with two straps, a comfortable leather strap with fabric inserts and a nice nylon NATO strap. The fabric inserts in the leather strap are meant to evoke the combat ribbons one might wear on a uniform. The leather itself is thick but the strap is not overly stiff; in daily wear, it was very nice. The NATO strap is well done for the style, with keepers and a branded buckle that are certainly a step above what I would expect on a nylon NATO strap. Still, it is not something that would see a lot of time on the watch for me, the green is also a little brighter than the shade used on the watch itself, and the leather strap just seems like a better match.
The full AVI-8 Hawker Harrier II collection includes 68 watches, with a variety of movements (including quartz) and dial designs, including chronographs. Patrick reviewed three of these models here, so you can check out his opinion on more of the line. While there are a lot of similarities across the line, for this automatic 4040 series, there are six variations. You can get the stainless case with black, blue, or green dials; a brass IP stainless case with black or brown dials, or a black IP case with a black dial. All the 4040 watches come with a leather strap with a striped fabric insert and a nylon NATO strap.
The list price on the 4040 line of AVI-8 Harrier Hawker II watches is from $680 for the stainless case to $700 for the plated cases. On the US retail site, however, the watches are marked down to $225 for the stainless and $230 for the plated version, though the black is sold out (plus there are similar deep discounts on the other watches in the line; Amazon has an assortment at discounts as well). At $680 to $700, I think the watch is an attractive military pilot style watch with a bit of a rugged feel. For $225 to $230, I think it is great bargain and an easy recommendation to anyone looking for this style watch. And if you are a fan of the Oregon Ducks, then make sure to get the green. avi-8.co.uk
- Brand & Model: AVI-8 Hawker Harrier II
- Price: $680, on sale for $225
- Who we think it might be for: Anyone wanting a rugged looking aviator, or, in this color, fans of the Oregon Ducks.
- Would I buy one for myself based on what I’ve seen?: Yes, at $225 this goes into the no-brainer category.
- If I could make one design suggestion, it would be: Redo the date wheel with larger text.
- What spoke to me the most about this watch: It is a great looking watch at a great price.
Tech Specs from AVI-8
- Movement: Miyota 8215
- Functions: Date
- Case: Stainless Steel with option rose gold of black IP
- Glass: Mineral crystal
- Water resistance: 50M
- Lug width: 24mm
- Straps: Leather with fabric insert, nylon NATO
- Diameter : 47mm
- Length: 55mm
- Case height: 13mm
- Weight of watch head: Not specified