I was one of the lucky few who got to check out the AVI-8 Flyboy Engineer Automatic before it’s official release, and to say I was impressed is a definite understatement. AVI-8 has been bringing out some pretty amazing watches over the last few years and their new Flyboy line is no exception.
The Flyboy series has three models so far: the Lafayette Chronograph, the Eagle Squadron, and the Engineer Flyboy, which we are going to talk about today.
AVI-8 has become a well known brand not only because of their quality watches, but more so for their unique designs. Many of their models are inspired by military aircraft of yesteryear and each watch model takes specific design cues and integrates them into the overall look of the watch.
The dials look like instrument clusters from WWII Spitfire planes and the straps feel like they are cut straight from a Bomber Jacket. The crowns, bezels, chapter rings and more all have amazing little details; you are wearing a rugged, original, well thought out watch on your wrist.
In the case of the Engineer Flyboy, the vintage aviator feel is carried through and executed in perfect style. It is also more of a traditional pilot watch design with big, bold dial markings, a large fluted crown and all pulled together on a beautiful steel bracelet.
What stands out most with all AVI-8 watches (besides their trademark aircraft theme) is what the overall package represents and the value you’re getting for your money. I really love it when watches are created and designed with a purpose and manufacturers go the extra step to bring something original to a crowded wrist watch market.
Flyboy Engineer Long-Term Watch Review
The backstory and theme of AVI-8 is just that: an original vision to craft a watch that is functional, authentic, and doesn’t break the bank. In my experience, this has been true of all of AVI-8’s watches thus far, and they are continuing that tradition with the Engineer Flyboy. If you spend a lot of time on social media, you might think AVI-8 is brand-new to the game, but they have been manufacturing solid watches since 2012.
Besides the solid looks, the Engineer Flyboy added a pleasant surprise: a Seiko NH35 inside! I thought this was a nice option compared to expected Miyota movement. Adding hacking and hand winding is nice and follows along with the military inspired design of being able to synchronize your watch and set a precise time (a handy trait if you’re about to drop some bombs across enemy lines, for sure).
A Combination Of A Vintage Pilots Watch & Field Watch In One
Looking over the watch, I am captivated by the awesome textured dial with applied indices all topped off with a real piece of domed sapphire. All these features work together to give the dial a deep, three dimensional look. The layout itself is a combination of a vulnerable field watch dial with robust markings and a nod to vintage aviator dials with the fixed triangle at 12 o’clock and a cross hair across the center of the dial.
The Lume Does Not Disappoint
I am a self professed lume junkie and I love when a watch has a good dose of it. The Engineer Flyboy delivers here, too. A healthy amount of lume covers the numerals, hands, and even the top triangle.
Adding to the fun, the lume lasts a good several hours into the night. It is extremely bright when first charged up, then dims slightly and keeps its brightness for the long haul. Their website doesn’t list out the type of lume, but it’s definitely a popular formula since it performs so well.
At 42mm in diameter, the watch will sit just right on many wrists and allows great legibility yet still doesn’t overpower slimmer wrists. The lug width of 22mm fits perfectly with the overall aesthetics and, of course, offers numerous strap and band options.
Speaking of straps, the Engineer Flyboy comes on an excellent stainless steel bracelet that has a cool retro feel to it. I have to give credit to AVI-8 here on the bracelet; it’s well put together with solid end links, a milled clasp and a double push button fold-over buckle.
The bracelet is held together with pins and they feel only mildly solid, but at an under $300 price point, I understand compromises have to be made. All in all, the bracelet is, without a doubt, nicer than many watches costing more.
A Lot Of Added Details Abound
What sets a timepiece from AVI-8 above the rest are the little extra details added to the watch. An AVI-8 always has a nicer feel over some other mass market watches being pumped out. The clasp on the buckle is laser etched, the crown is signed, the caseback is engraved with a really cool Flyboy logo and the watch itself comes in a very nice canvas covered box.
The overall presentation also makes this watch perfect to give as a gift, and whoever receives it will think you spent way more than the actual retail price.
The case is solid stainless steel and its finishing is above average for a watch in this price range, just another check in the favorable column for AVI-8 going beyond some competitors.
With a raised chapter ring and sword hands, the brushed case really gives the watch a military/field watch vibe. I would call the overall layout a modern take on a vintage design.
The Engineer Flyboy is a very nice watch with a slightly understated look. With the brushed case and matching brushed bracelet, the watch will serve you well in a variety of situations. It’s just dressy enough for date night and still has the history and specs to take it to the skies.
Normally, I always have a few gripes when checking out a new watch, but to be fair here, the retail price is $285 (and AVI-8 always has coupon codes floating around) so when you consider everything you get for around $240, the watch is darn near perfect. If I could add one thing, I would love a screw down crown (but you guys already know that I’m a stickler in that department).
I’ve been wearing the Flyboy for several weeks and it has performed superbly. It’s handled bumps and drops as well as an emergency, late night flat tire situation all without a hint of weakness. It looks good on the wrist and is more than a decent value. If it’s a modern pilot watch you’re after, you would be hard pressed to find a watch that offers more than the Engineer Flyboy at the going rate.
Read More Of Our Watch Reviews Here
Watch Specs: AVI-8 Engineer Flyboy AV-4075-11
See The Watch At AVI-8
Watch Review By – Blair Witkowski
Blair Witkowski is an avid watch nut, loves pocket knives and flashlights and when he is not trying to be a good dad to his nine kids, you will find him running or posting pics on Instagram. Besides writing articles for Tech Writer EDC he is also improving a clients website for his other passion, Search Engine Optimization. His wife Jennifer and he lives in coastal South Carolina.