Breitling Avenger Hurricane 12h Breitlight

Breitling Avenger Hurricane 12H has been very prolific in 2017, releasing an array of new models including some new Avenger timepieces.

The Avenger Hurricane Military features a 24-hour display and brims with action-man testosterone. However, I personally struggle with looking at a hand pointing to 6 o’clock and computing that it is actually 12 o’clock. It may be an age thing, but I prefer the much simpler Avenger Hurricane 12H with its conventional, user-friendly 12-hour display.

Another reason for my preference for the Breitling Avenger Hurricane 12H is that it eschews the Breitling Caliber B12, found within the Avenger Hurricane Military, in favour of the fabulous column-wheel chronograph movement, the Breitling Caliber 01.

As someone who is no stranger to Breitling Avenger ownership, I was very interested in trying on this latest incarnation of the model at Baselworld 2017 and, as you will ascertain from this review, I was not disappointed.

The hour and minute hands are bold and luminescent. The hands mix grey tone with creamy-white fill, masterfully imparting the hours and minutes. The dial is available in Volcano Black or Cobra Yellow. Although I prefer the black variant, I am not averse to the ebullience of the yellow dial option.

Breitling Avenger Hurricane 12H with Cobra Yellow dial

Hours are denoted with Arabic numerals, termed ‘stencil-type numerals’, emulating the characters found within an airplane cockpit.

Adjacent the crown resides a 30-minute chronograph register. It is adorned with orange detail, augmenting ease of read off.

Located at 6 o’clock is a 12-hour chronograph register and, along with the other subdials, it sits below the main dial surface, providing a fabulous play with depths.

At 9 o’clock is a small seconds display, while at 4:30 the date is displayed. The central chronograph seconds hand features an orange tip which, together with the scale encircling the dial, allows ¼ second integers to be read-off.

Owing to the significant scale of the watch, all dial elements are spaced significantly apart to facilitate ease of read-off.

The Avenger has always been a horological leviathan and this watch proves no different, measuring 50mm in diameter. A few years ago I purchased a highly polished steel Avenger, but subsequently felt its sparkling surfaces and sheer bulk made the watch appear too conspicuous, leading me to ultimately part company. However, this new timepiece seems less noticeable.

Part of the reason for the unobtrusive appearance of this particular watch, the Avenger Hurricane 12H, is that it is housed in Breitlight, a stealthy-toned case material which is 5.8 times lighter than steel ‘yet significantly harder’. The material is said to be resistant to scratching, corrosion and magnetism, to name but a few of its many attributes. Certainly, one quality I particularly appreciated when I saw it for the first time was that its has a softly spoken mien. This watch does not unduly crave attention from onlookers.

The unidirectional bezel is typical of Breitling, featuring four rider tabs positioned at each 15-minute integer. The bezel is marked with Arabic numerals in 5 minute intervals and short strokes are positioned in between.

The sapphire crystal is treated with an anti-reflective coating on both sides, conferring a spectacularly clear view of the dial detail.

A textured grip graces the circumference of the crown, while the pushpieces also feature a textured motif on their vertical flanks, aiding manipulation ‘even with gloves’.

The Manufacture Breitling Caliber 01 is a peach of a movement. At Baselworld 2017, Breitling and Tudor jointly announced that the movement will also appear in Tudor products as a part of a reciprocal agreement between both companies.

Pressing the pushpiece at 4 o’clock sees the central chronograph seconds hand ‘zero’ without the merest hint of a wobble. Furthermore, actuating the chronograph causes the central chronograph seconds hand to commence its journey free of any discernible shake. Lastly, pressing the pushpieces rewards the wearer with a smooth tactile experience. The pushpieces do not move with the lightness of touch found on some column-wheel chronographs but, nevertheless, they operate with a smile-inducing action which is a cut above anything typically found with a modular movement.

The balance has a frequency of 28,800 VpH (4Hz) and the movement contains 47 jewels. The power reserve is sufficient to deliver 70 hours of autonomy. The watch is a certified chronometer, independently tested by COSC, providing the wearer with the reassurance that this is a highly precise timepiece.

Despite the impressive work rate of Breitling’s New Product Development Department, the Avenger Hurricane 12H seems to be the result of protracted and careful consideration. Everything appears to be distilled to an incredibly high standard.

The dial is simple to interpret and the stencil-type numerals exhibit a high quotient of style. The bulk of the watch affords the dial with a notable amount of space for all functions to easily breathe. Nothing feels cluttered or ‘crammed in’.

Notwithstanding its size, the use of Breitlight for the case provides a low-mass, augmenting wearer comfort. Moreover, the matt appearance of the material tempers the bulk of the timepiece and sidesteps the conspicuous nature of some Avenger models of yesteryear.

Lastly, the installation of the sublime Manufacture Breitling Caliber 01 confers an array of qualities, several of which can be discerned with the smile-inducing pressing of the pushpieces.