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Geared toward both watch collectors and aviation enthusiasts, AVI-8 (pronounced “aviate”) has become known for creating thoughtfully designed pilot’s watches that pay homage to famous airplanes and the people who have played a pivotal role in the history of aviation. Its most recent aviation-inspired piece – the Spitfire Smith Automatic – celebrates the innovative and historically important work of Joseph Smith, the man who helped to design and develop the iconic Spitfire aircraft.
The stainless steel case of the AVI-8 Spitfire Smith Automatic is sculpted to evoke the elliptical form of the Spitfire plane, with brushed finishing throughout, polished bevels on the lugs, and decorative panels on the flank meant to mimic the riveted panels of an aircraft.
The case of the Spitfire Smith Automatic measures 42 mm in diameter and 13.7mm-thick, but the piece wears slightly larger than its specs indicate due to its relatively thin bezel and large dial. That said, it’s a fitting size for a pilot’s watch, and it wears quite comfortably, with sculpted lugs that conform nicely to the contours of the wrist. The push-in crown is inspired by the nosecone and propeller of the Spitfire plane, another tasteful design cue that follows the aeronautical theme of the watch.
There are four different dial variations of the Spitfire Smith Automatic, each inspired by a manufacturing plant where the Spitfire aircraft and their components were produced over the years. Each dial sports a clean and legible aesthetic evoking the cockpit of the Spitfire, with a high-contrast design marked by a matte backdrop and bold Arabic numerals.
While simple in premise, the dial maintains an impressive amount of visual interest thanks to its variety of color, texture, and depth. There are multiple “layers” present on the dial, including raised hour markers, an angled chapter ring, and a recessed inner ring at the center of the dial, which indicates time on a 24-hour scale. The minutes hand is shaped like the needle of an instrument gauge, and the second hand adds a welcome pop of color (red on the Woolston, Birmingham, Reading variants, blue on the Salisbury variant). The markers are generously coated in Swiss luminescent material, which glows a bright bluish-green in dark environments. Covering the dial is a domed scratch-resistant sapphire crystal that’s coated with anti-reflective coating.
Under the hood of the AVI-8 Spitfire Smith Automatic is a modified variation of the reliable Seiko NH35, one of the world’s most popular and widely used automatic movements. The Caliber NH35 beats at 21,600 VPH and features a power reserve of approximately 41 hours. The custom rotor of the Spitfire Smith Automatic – visible through its exhibition caseback – evokes the silhouette of the Spitfire aircraft when viewed from above.
A tastefully designed tribute to the iconic Spitfire aircraft and its designer, Joseph Smith, the AVI-8 Spitfire Smith Automatic is a fitting choice for watch collectors and fans of aviation, alike. Priced at $330 USD (Woolston, Birmingham, Reading) and $350 USD (Salisbury), the Spitfire Smith Automatic is available for order on Avi-8.com.
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