Mean and cool, huge but comfortable, the Breitling Avenger Blackbird limited edition “tactical” three-hander offers you a COSC-certified version of a mass-produced automatic movement packed into a feather-light titanium body with its machine-brushed surface blacked with a special carbonization technique. What more can one desire from such a manly time-measuring device?
Mostly known for its mirror-polished, often blingy timekeepers, Breitling also happens to make a not-so-famous line of tactical-style watches. Sold as limited edition versions of their more popular models and offered either in steel or titanium, they usually have at least one thing in common: the gadgets sport an intimidating matte black finish that not only makes them look extremely cool but also does a good job in protecting their owners from being spotted by an enemy sniper.
Now, as a strong scent of gunpowder and baked blood slowly engulfs Eurasia, the feature must come in especially handy.
Unlike the military-styled Chronomat Airborne 30th Anniversary 41/44 that they have released back in April 2014, the Avenger Blackbird is offered in a deliberately oversized body. With its black body whole 48 millimeters in diameter, the device will require a strong hand to look good at (at least, if you don’t plan to wear it above your M65 jacket the way WWI pilots strapped their huge timepieces on their bomber jacket sleeves).
Luckily, this new classy Breitling Avenger Blackbird Limited Edition has its enormous body fashioned out of lightweight titanium, so at least the weight must not be an issue. And if you worry about almost unavoidable dings and scratches, it is a good thing to know that the thick black layer of highly-carbonized titanium not only makes this watch look handsome and cool but also partially protects it from accidental damage. Of course, the coating is not as strong as the famous DLC however it still does its job.
Still, XXL-sized cases have their advantages, too. As it comes out, it is all in proportions.
First of all, you not only get a huge dial opening with oversized elements that bear enough Superluminova of them enough to easily read time in any lighting conditions but also keep that rugged-looking unidirectional rotating bezel wide enough for a set of huge Arabic numerals on it.
The second advantage is, of course, the usability of the setting crown. While watchmakers always have to find a sweet spot between the crown’s ergonomics and its relative size to the timekeeper’s body, in this particular case they simply had to make it look “good” and it automatically became large enough to be manipulated even by gloved hands (well, I am still not talking about ski gloves here).
Alas, Breitling has decided to equip this new Avenger Blackbird with a pretty mundane Caliber 17 automatic movement. Being a chronometer-grade variation of the well-known ETA 2824-2, the mechanism is robust and reliable, but, well, buying such an expensive beast, you always want something more exclusive than that, don’t you?
Build quality: 5/5
Value for money: 4/5
Breitling Avenger Blackbird Limited Edition specification
Price: $5100 (MSRP)
Movement: Automatic, Breitling Caliber B17 (base ETA 2824-2), COSC-certified chronometer, Swiss Made
Number of jewels: 25
Movement frequency: 28,800 vph
Power reserve: 42 hours
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, date
Case: Titanium, black
Size: 48.00 mm
Dial: Volcano black
Hour markers: Applied, luminous, beige
Hands: Black, luminous
Water resistance: 300 meters
Strap: Black textile NATO-style strap
Crystal: Sapphire, antireflective on both sides, cambered