The AVI-8 Flyboy Engineer AV-4075 represents the culmination of a journey from fashion brand to serious challenger in the affordable watch market.
AVI-8 Flyboy Engineer AV-4075 Review
Let’s not beat around the bush: AVI-8 watches have not had the best reputation. Derided by many – including me – as a fashion brand, I only really began to take the brand seriously a year or so ago when the Centenary Collection improved their designs. Since then, AVI-8 has taken a leaf from its sister brand’s book and brought in many of the features which have set Spinnaker watches aside.
This new watch has a high-quality, three-dimensional textured dial, an automatic movement and one of the best bracelets I’ve seen south of £500. On first glance I’d have sworn it was a top of the range Spinnaker and – for me – this makes AVI-8 a serious contender in the sub-£250 space.
The 42mm case of the AVI-8 Flyboy Engineer AV-4075 is manufactured to a very high standard, with no sharp edges to give away its relatively low price point. Despite its size it wears comfortably, thanks to its balanced weight distribution and its relatively short and gently-curved lugs. It might still be a bit too big for some, though, thanks to the dominant dial and narrow bezel.
AVI-8 clearly listen to feedback, as every problem I found with the Lafayette has been resolved: the crystal is sapphire, the movement is a Seiko NH35A workhorse, the onion crown is signed with the brand’s roundel logo and the case back is embossed. That case back is a real highlight – it looks and feels almost at Christopher Ward’s level of quality.
Dial and Hands
In the past, I have been a critic of the “business” of AVI-8 dials. Not this one, it is bold and legible in all light conditions, with a nod to the “Flieger Type A” style, although this is probably more of a field watch than a strict aviation chronograph. The use of a raised chapter ring and applied markers gives a pleasing three-dimensional feel.
The date window – which was too small on the Lafayette and sometimes obscured double-digit dates – is perfect and the applied elements of the dial are all in perfect alignment. Set against a sand-like textured dial, it oozes quality – so much that I had to keep checking the price tag. AVI-8 tell me that the sapphire crystal has an AR coating but I still found it picked up reflections, especially indoors. Not a huge problem, but something to keep in mind.
Bracelet and Clasp
AVI-8 straps were always amongst the best and I am pleased to report that the same level of quality has passed onto the bracelets. The clasp is the same as other AVI-8 and Spinnaker watches (though without the annoying diver’s extension that prevents you using one of the positions in the Spinnaker Tesei Titanium) – and whilst not great, it is perfectly passable.
The bracelet, in the engineer style – surpasses even that on the Lafayette. It is smooth as silk and the only criticism is that the push pins are hard to remove. Screwed links would be the icing on the cake.
AVI-8 Flyboy Engineer AV-4075 – Video Review
What I Liked
- The dial looks great, and draws in the eye with its layers of detail
- The watch wears well, with excellent balance
- The brand listens to feedback and improves with every model
What I Didn’t Like
- The case will be a bit large for some: it wears smaller than you would expect but is still quite hefty
- The crystal picks up reflections despite the AR coating, I believe because of its domed shape – but not to the extent it affected my enjoyment of the watch
- Screwed bracelet links would have been the icing on the cake for the excellent bracelet
AVI-8 Flyboy Engineer – The WRUK Verdict
I don’t often come over this enthusiastic about a watch – especially when I did not pay for it – but I mean it when I say that this is objectively a brilliant field watch. At £299 I would have made this a recommended buy: at £225 (less 15% with discount code WRUK) I can’t think of many reasons why you shouldn’t pick one up.
Buy and AVI-8 Flyboy Engineer AV-4075
The Flyboy Engineer as reviewed is £225. There are also blue and green dial options, all of which will be available from 4th July. You can buy from AVI-8 Watches – Use our link and AVI-8 discount code WRUK for 15% off stocked non-discounted lines.
To pre-order the watch and get one of these additional leather straps free, use the link: https://www.avi-8.com/pages/flyboy-engineer-automatic-pre-order