HANDS-ON: Fans of retro gaming will love the AVI-8 AV-4104 Flyboy Capcom 1942 HANDS-ON: Fans of retro gaming will love the AVI-8 AV-4104 Flyboy Capcom 1942

HANDS-ON: Fans of retro gaming will love the AVI-8 AV-4104 Flyboy Capcom 1942

Fergus Nash

Regardless of your generation, you probably have some familiarity with the Capcom arcade classic 1942. Whether you played it on a cabinet in the mid ‘80s or downloaded the mobile app, the scrolling shooter is burned into the gaming-collective consciousness. Loosely based on the Battle of Midway, its simple mechanics and bright green Pacific islands zooming below made it an extremely addictive coin swallower. Approaching the game’s 40th birthday, the young piloting brand AVI-8 have released a limited edition watch as a collaboration with Capcom. The AVI-8 AV-4104 Flyboy Capcom 1942 is a rugged and affordable score for any fans of retro gaming and fighter planes.

The case

As a brand, you can really tell that AVI-8 aren’t just capitalising on aviation as a popular market. Each of their watches is full of attention to detail that many more expensive brands don’t include, taking influences from a vast history of pilot’s watches. A particularly nice detail is the vintage-style conical crown, which pushes closed for 50m of water resistance. Depending on your preference for bright and cheery watches or dark and tactical ones, the AVI-8 AV-4104 Flyboy Capcom 1942 is available in stainless-steel or black-coated finishes.

The case of the AV-4104 Flyboy Capcom 1942 is robust with a 41mm diameter, although the slender and short lugs help to give it the impression of being bigger. This ensures a large wrist presence like traditional pilot’s watches which could even approach 50mm wide, without sacrificing wearability or comfort. At 12mm thick, it’s chunky enough to feel but doesn’t weigh down your wrist like some chronographs might.

The dial

While the Blue Ace and Black Ace versions do have different personalities, their dials are both packed full of 1942 and gaming references. The dial itself, with a harshly grained finish, depicts the playable P-38 Lightning combatting the enemy fighters with vertical bullets flying. The Super Ace can also be seen flying around the dial as the counterbalance on the seconds hand. The hour and minute hands are skeletonised to show off more of the dogfight beneath, and coated in a creamy luminous paint like the applied indices and stencil numerals.

You may notice that the red limited edition text at 6 o’clock and the date display are written in 8-bit style characters, cementing the retro feel. Finally, the triangle and two dots at 12 brings the whole thing back to its origins as a pilot’s watch regardless of the more lighthearted elements. Those outer markers are supported on little struts that rise out from the curved chapter ring, contributing to the dial’s fantastic sense of depth.

The movement

Powering the AVI-8 AV-4104 Flyboy Capcom 1942 is the king of budget movements — the Seiko NH35. It’s the perfect choice for a watch like this, because the combination of affordability and reliability leads to watches which can have lots of fun with design without getting overly expensive. It’s also still fit to be worn daily, and being mechanical carries an air of high class. It has a 3Hz beat rate with 41 hours of power reserve, along with all the usual features such as hacking seconds and hand-winding ability. It’s also easily regulated if you don’t mind some DIY challenges, meaning you can get the timekeeping in a great spot if it’s not so good from the factory.

The strap

By default the AV-4104 Flyboy Capcom 1942 comes on a stainless-steel, Oyster-style bracelet with solid links and a foldover clasp. The clasp is etched with another plane flying over an aircraft carrier, adding a nice little hint to those that own the watch. It only has two holes of micro-adjustment so getting the perfect fit may be tricky, but it also comes with a nylon strap if you want to swap it over. The lug width of 22mm opens the door to many other options too.

The AVI-8 AV-4104 Flyboy Capcom 1942 pricing and availability:

The AVI-8 AV-4104 Flyboy Capcom 1942 is a limited edition of 300 pieces per colour. Price: US$365 (Blue Ace) / US$385 (Black Ace)

Brand AVI-8
Model AV-4104 Flyboy Capcom 1942
Case Dimensions 41mm x 12mm
Case Material Stainless steel
Water Resistance 50m
Crystal(s) Sapphire
Dial Blue or black
Lug Width 22mm
Strap Steel bracelet with etched buckle plus nylon strap
Movement Seiko NH35
Power Reserve 41 hours
Availability Limited to 300 pieces per colour
Price US$365 (Blue Ace) / US$385 (Black Ace)