Their last watch was one of our picks of 2018 – is the AVI-8 Hawker Hurricane Bulman Edition up to the same standard as its predecessor?
A Week on the Wrist – AVI-8 Hawker Hurricane Bulman Edition
I really enjoyed the last watch AVI-8 sent me to review: the 1960 Flyboy Centenary edition. That watch represented a real step forward from AVI-8’s previous watches with an automatic movement (albeit a cheap one), sapphire glass and the brand’s usual good looks. This new watch, the Hawker Hurrican Bulman Edition certainly looks the part but what is it like to live with?
First impressions are good: the box is smaller than the Centenary edition, but still of a real high quality. It’s covered in military green woven nylon and secures with a press stud. Definitely a quality gift. Inside you get the watch on a cushion and a cleaning cloth.
I was surprised to find that this watch has a 45mm case at it does not look or feel that large. It wears well with a light weight and nicely brushed matt finish. The lugs are a touch long so it may overhang smaller wrists. The pushers work with a satisfying click. Finish is better than you’d expect for the price – it’s a high street watch and more than holds its own against all competitors except perhaps Seiko. The case back has an attractive but lightly engraved image, and the front has a mineral crystal. Mineral glass is not unusual at this end of the market but as it’s domed and therefore likely to attract knocks and scrapes, sapphire would have been preferable.
Inside the Hawker Hurricane watch is a Time Instruments (Seiko) Quartz movement. I was very disappointed with this, as it is not what I would consider a “proper” chronograph. Instead of the centre seconds hand being fixed at 12 and used as the stopwatch counter, chronograph functions are relegated to the subdial at 12. This caused me two problems: first an irritating constant quartz “tick” of the main hand, and secondly the fact it’s very hard to read off elapsed seconds in such a small dial.
Dial and Hands
One thing I always admire about AVI-8 watches is their design. Some are “braver” than others, but they always have a look of their own. When they hit the spot, they are unrivalled in their market segment. This watch has a great textured and multi-layered dial. I really like the way that the hour markers overhand the dial, and the lumed sandwich numbers at 2, 4, 8 and 10 O’Clock. The sword hands are really legible and everything is finished to a very high standard. Lume is above average for a flight watch, but don’t rely on it in a power cut.
The downsides are those tiny subdials, and the main seconds hand. Apart from the quartz tick, it does not quite reach the edges of the dial markings – a pet hate of mine.
Strap and Buckle
Another AVI-8 staple is a high quality strap. This watch is no exception, the light leather strap being of superb quality. It’s thick, flexible and comfortable to wear. The buckle has AVI-8 engravings and is fine for the price.
What I Liked
- The dial design is excellent. Multi-layered and lots to attract the eye
- The strap is superb, much better than most watches
- Presentation is superb, with a high quality box – the Hawker Hurricane would make a great gift
What I Didn’t Like
- The movement, with ticking central seconds and chronograph in a dial just does not appeal to me
- The short hands in both the subdials and the main second hand kept jumping out at me
- The mineral crystal – due to its dome – will quickly pick up scratches if you don’t take care
AVI-8 Hawker Hurricane Bulman Edition – The WRUK Verdict
Unfortunately I can’t recommend the Hawker Hurricane in the way I did the Flyboy. It’s a perfectly serviceable watch, and at £165 it is competing with high street brands and not mid-range microbrands. That said, I’d rather save up an extra £40-£50 and enter the kind of territory inhabited by Hamtun rather than live with the compromises of this watch, If you like the looks and don’t mind the ticking second hand then you’ll get a well-made watch at a good price. I am still excited to see AVI-8’s next models, but this one is not for me.
Buy an AVI-8 Hawker Hurricane Bulman Edition
You can buy this watch from AVI-8 Watches – Use our link and AVI-8 discount code MICHAELRICHMOND20 for 20% off stocked non-discounted lines.