HANDS-ON: The AVI-8 Hawker Harrier Blue Nylon is a tempting sub-$500 throwdown for aviation fansZach Blass
More than 50 years ago, an aviation team led by pilot Tom Lecky-Thompson embarked on what they referred to as codename “Blue Nylon”. So, what was the top-secret project? The group was making preparations for Lecky-Thompson’s attempt to enter the Transatlantic Air Race in 1969, which involved pilots flying from London all the way to New York. The pilot would go on to win the race, successfully flying his Harrier XV741 across the Atlantic to take home first prize. In honour of this accomplishment, AVI-8 has released its second limited-edition with the AVI-8 Hawker Harrier Blue Nylon.
The dark stainless steel case is 44mm in diameter, 13.5mm thick, and spans 52mm lug to lug across the wrist – which, while not super compact, is reasonable for its size. The tapered lugs of the AVI-8 Hawker Harrier Blue Nylon Limited Edition introduce a deep carved polished bevel that introduces a hint of vintage-inspired elegance to the predominantly sporty satin case. The taper and angle of the lugs will also ensure it snugly fits around the wrist.
To honour the Transatlantic Race that inspired the watch, as well as Lecky-Thompson’s airborne feat, the caseband has the plane’s takeoff and landing coordinates etched into both sides. While not a diver, the watch also musters a respectable water resistance level of 50 metres to deliver the rugged functionality that a tough pilot’s watch demands.
The skeletonised or openworked dial is inspired by the Harrier XV741 it was named after. AVI-8 used blueprints of the famed Harrier to design each component, to evoke the feel and look of the plane’s fuselage. The ridges of the inner bezel create a sort of turbine effect – a small detail that does a lot to maintain the overall aviation theme. The large dial has a lot going on, but AVI-8 has taken steps to ensure the watch has the legibility necessary for a pilot’s watch.
The 12-hour marker is represented by a large Arabic zero numeral, giving the watch a greater military feel, while the outer track of the inner dial has easy-to-read white hash marks for the minutes and luminous square markers to convey the hours. Broad skeletonised hands clearly display the hours and minutes and a custom aviation-inspired running seconds register is neatly placed at the 4.30 position. As an added complication, a 24-hour register displays the time in that format at the 9 o’clock position. It’s a handy indicator for military aficionados worldwide or anyone adopting to 24-hour time overseas.
AVI-8 provides buyers of the Hawker Harrier Blue Nylon with a variety of strap options bundled into the offering. You can choose between a sleek leather strap or a nylon velcro cuff that allows for a greater degree of adjustability. Considering you can clamp and pinpoint the velcro to size, you’ll have no issue securing the watch to your wrist or even over a flight suit.
The AVI-8 Hawker Harrier Blue Nylon Limited Edition is powered by a modified Miyota 8 series automatic movement. This provides a cost-effective offering, with a robust and reliable movement that is less expensive to maintain over time. This Miyota 8 series movement has 21 jewels and a beat rate of 21,600 vph, and features a custom self-winding rotor designed to echo the Harrier’s distinguished Rolls-Royce Pegasus engine. Suffice to say this is a very cool detail, usually only found on pilot’s watches at much higher price points.
AVI-8 Hawker Harrier Blue Nylon Limited Edition pricing and availability:
The watch is packaged in a military-styled canvas-wrapped gift box and each watch is uniquely numbered as part of a limited edition of 741 pieces. The Hawker Harrier Blue Nylon is available now for a price of $495 USD while stocks last.
Made in partnership with AVI-8. However, the opinions expressed in this article are our own in accordance with our Editorial Policy.