Sunday, September 20

Review: Breitling Super Avenger Chronograph 48 Night Mission

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Breitling Avenger is a strong line within their current collection. The new(ish) Super Avenger Chronograph 48 Night Mission was one which caught our eye when it was introduced. Here is our hands on review, with some wallpaper sized Watchscapes.

The Avenger and Super Avenger line are self-winding mechanical watches available in both time only (like the Avenger Automatic 45 Seawolf) and chronographs with 300m depth rating. The Avenger and Super Avenger share almost all physical and technical features, the only difference is the size. The Avenger is smaller with a case diameter of 45mm and thickness of 17.4m, while the Super Avenger is larger at 48mm case diameter, and a thickness of 18.6mm.

Breitling Super Avenger Chronograph 48 Night Mission

The Super Avenger Chronograph 48 Night Mission is a bold, robust and shock resistant watch which has a strong wrist presence, not only due to the large case dimensions, but also the imposing design. As a true Breitling Avenger, it is designed to be used wearing gloves, featuring a rugged bezel and its special grip-pattern on the crown & chronograph pushers.

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The case, dial and hands

The Night Mission interpretation of the Super Avenger Chronograph 48 is a large 48mm DLC coated titanium case, a blue dial and a blue military strap that fits either a DLC coated stainless steel pin buckle or deployant clasp. Despite the case’s rather massive dimensions, it wears smaller, and wraps around the average male wrist with comfort and ease. The soundbyte from Georges Kern, CEO of Breitling comes to mind, paraphrased – “I don’t have a large wrist. And if I am not able to wear the watch comfortably, it does not get approved.”

The dial is a beautiful dark, almost navy blue, and is marked with Arabic numerals with thick SuperLuminova. The design of the arabic numerals are similar to the stenciled numbers used on the decks of aircraft carriers.

The design of the hands are also with the purpose to optimize legibility. The hands are large and coated with superluminova. The sub-dial layout of the chronograph is typical of a Valjoux 7750 sourced movement, and indeed the Breitling Caliber B13 is a variant of the Valjoux with the day of the week wheel removed.

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Though the sapphire crystal features anti-reflective coating on both sides, or rather because the front is multi-coated, a strong blue reflection of the (white) flash of our strobe is caught on the photographs. This is because the anti-reflective coatings are designed only to block certain wavelengths of light.

The movement

The case back is closed, and engraved with the Breitling Avenger logo and verbiage, including the stated Chronometer Certification (COSC). The entire case, crown, pushers and screw down back is in black DLC Titanium.

As mentioned, the movement is the Breitling Caliber B13, which is a derivative of the robust and well tested Valjoux 7750. This is a workhorse movement, with many watches using it reliably. The movement has a standard power reserve of 42 hours and beats at 28,800 bph. The rotor winds only in one direction, and allows the rotor to move freely in the other direction, earning it the nickname “wobbler” as the rotor can be felt as one wears it and move one’s wrist.

We did not open the case back to examine the movement finishing, but at this price point, we are not expecting it to be magnificently decorated, but to sport a rugged mechanically sound engineering type finish.

Competitive Landscape

In this price class, the Breitling Super Avenger Chronograph 48 Night Mission (retail price is S$7,890) lives in a rather crowded landscape. Even if we filter out non-military or aviation designs, the field remains quite well populated. The Breitling Avenger Chronograph 45 Night Vision (S$7.890, same price) is almost exactly the same, except for the case size of 45mm. One curiosity we found is that neither the Avenger or Super Avenger series use the in-house developed Breitling B01 movement, depending on the Valjoux 7750 instead.

Trying out the wrist shot in black and white for some attitude. Truth be told, the sapphire glass had a bright blue reflection due to the anti-reflective coating, that made the photograph unusable in colour. The promo shot of the pilot serves as the colour wrist shot.

Our picks are as follows:

Tudor Black Bay Chronograph (S$6480), is priced quite closely (ok, the Tudor is more than S$1k less expensive), but in a far smaller stainless steel case instead of DLC titanium. The Tudor also has a water depth rating of only 200m. Interestingly, the Black Bay Chronograph sports the Tudor MT5813 movement, which is manufactured by Breitling. A

Bell & Ross BR v2 92 Military Chronograph. (S$6,300 in elastic canvas and S$6,800 in SS bracelet) is another contender in the similar price class, but it too is much smaller in size being only 41mm in case diameter, and a water resistant rating of only 100m. The movement is the calibre BR-CAL.301 which is a chronograph module on the dial side of the ubiquitous ETA 2824-2.

So in practice, though at first glance, the market for a sporty chronograph at about S$6-8k seems rather crowded, in the final analysis, the Breitling Super Avenger stands alone if the selection criteria is narrowed to 48mm case size, black DLC titanium case with a 30 ATM water resistance rating. Quite remarkable. The IWC Big Pilot’s Chronograph might come close at 47mm. It is also powered by the Valjoux 7750 movement, but it is priced at S$19,700, and only comes in a steel case, and 60m water resistance. As is Zenith’s Heritage Pilot Cafe Racer, which is proposed in a bronze case rated to only 100m water resistance. It too is smaller at only 45mm in diameter. The movement, however is the famous El Primero with integrated column wheel. Asking price is also considerably more at S$11, 200.

Concluding Thoughts

In conclusion, the Breitling Super Avenger Chronograph 48 Night Mission has a raison d’être it occupies a niche for those who require very special properties – a large, robust, legible chronograph which is lightweight but very strong, and with a diving water resistance rating.

On a pilot’s wrist, it certainly looks the part. Image source: Breitling official.

The watch is very beautiful, and fits the rugged environment which it is intended for. The black DLC titanium case is light, and surprisingly comfortable on the average sized wrist. The blue dial is magnificent in its own right, and the huge markings with bright lume is very attractive. The ease of use due to the design of the bezel and crown/pushers is a big plus, as is the water resistance rating. And we think the asking price of just a shade below S$8k is quite reasonable.

Breitling Super Avenger Chronograph 48 Night Mission Specifications

Caliber Breitling 13
Movement self-winding mechanical
Power reserve approx. 48 hrs
Chronograph 1/4th second, 30 minutes, 12 hours
Vibration 28,800 v.p.h
Jewel 25 jewels
Calendar Dial aperture

Case black titanium
Water resistance 300 m (1,000 ft)
Crown Screw-locked, two gaskets
Crystal Cambered sapphire, glareproofed both sides

Diameter 48.00 mm
Thickness 17.73 mm
Weight (without strap) 160.00 g.

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