Buggin’ Out: All The Buzz On Breitling’s New Aviator 8 Mosquito
The Breitling Summit in Los Angeles was kind of a big deal. The brand’s CEO, Georges Kern, was on hand to introduce 14 new references in the Avenger pilot watch family, but one watch that really took flight was the all-new Aviator 8 Mosquito Night Flight—a timepiece created to commemorate De Havilland’s historic WWII era plane.
Of course, Breitling’s ties to the skies are impeccable, but there's something special about the Mosquito. Kern himself called it, “One of my super preferred babies.”
This is how this baby came to be born.
According to Kern, when he took over at Breitling, he determined that among the brand’s strengths was its ties to aviation. Beyond its iconic Pilots watches, Breitling’s Huit Aviation Department developed groundbreaking onboard instruments for the RAF and other air forces.
To honor this history, the manufacture introduced the Aviator 8 Curtiss Warhawk collection in tribute to the famed P-40 Warhawk fighter plane.
The Warhawk was famous for the shark-face painted on its nose, and the design cues of this watch played up this emblematic style. The Aviator 8 Curtiss Warhawk was a hit when it was released in February of 2019.
Not resting on their laurels, Breitling didn't waste any time finding a follow-up to that history-inspired piece. However, they did go in a slightly different direction.
A less well-known plane from the golden age of civil aviation is the Mosquito.
Speaking in Los Angeles at the launch of the Mosquito during the Breitling Summit in September, Alistair Hodgson, the curator of the de Havilland Aircraft Museum in England, described the evolution of this unique aircraft.
Before the outbreak of WWII, there was an air race from England to Australia and some competitors approached the engineers at de Havilland to build an ultralight airplane. The result was the Mosquito, which was made of a wood laminate.
When England went to war, aluminum shortages made the scrappy Mosquito the perfect plane for all kinds of military uses, including unarmed light bomber, day fighter, night fighter, and even photographic reconnaissance aircraft.
”Military historians say that while the Spitfire won the Battle of Britain, the Mosquito won the war.” said Hodgson.
Hodgson also discussed the parallels between the vintage aircraft and the Aviator 8 B01 Chronograph 43 Mosquito.
”Both the watch and plane were built for a purpose, but are adaptable.” noted Hodgson. The new Aviator was inspired by the onboard clocks designed by Breitling’s Huit Aviation Department in the 1930s and ‘40s, as well as the Ref. 765 AVI – the Co-Pilot – whose bold look, rotating bezel, and oversized Arabic numbers made it a favorite among flyboys.
These design elements were updated with modern touches such as an ultra-black ADLC-coated bezel, meant to recall the night fighter iteration of the de Havilland Mosquito.
The Aviator 8 Mosquito also features an easy-to-read orange central hour, minute, and central second hands coated with Super LumiNova adding to the watch’s allure. It is also a tip of the hat to markings featured on the fuselage of the de Havilland Mosquito.
UNDER THE ENGINE
Hodgson further remarked that the de Havilland Mosquito was also innovative in its manufacturing. Because it was made of wood, De Havilland was able to build it using furniture makers who had been furloughed during the war.
Breitling’s Mosquito uses the Breitling Manufacture Calibre 01, which is visible through a transparent sapphire case back. This movement offers an impressive power reserve of approximately 70 hours (for those England to Australia flights), and the COSC-certified chronometer is water-resistant to 10 bar/100 meters.
Finally, this 43mm stainless steel watch is very handsome and versatile, so it can be worn on most occasions. As previously mentioned, the black coating makes it feel very modern, but the brown leather strap gives it a vintage appeal.
Another fun Mosquito fact: the plane continued to enjoy frequent use until the 1950s and the dawn of the jet age. Likewise, the watch should keep it's wearer happy over a long life!