A brand interview with AVI-8 Watches. Through their timepieces they seek to honour both the aircraft and the untold story of the airmen who dedicated themselves to bring these incredible machines to life.
Photography: Courtesy of AVI-8 Watches
Could you tell us a little bit about yourselves and how you began the brand Avi-8?
The brand really began as part of a conversation between us as watchmakers, and a group of aviation and history enthusiasts. It's no secret that aviation has been a central theme to mens watches but we wanted to, and believe we have, reframed what the aviation watch genre could be.
We also wanted to produce watches that were well built, affordable and with a unique look that made each piece as much as a collectable as a functional piece of timekeeping.
Avi-8 is an interesting and eye-catching name. What is the meaning or significance behind the name of your brand?
Well the brand is pronounced AYVEE-ATE, a phonetic of aviate, which captures who we are really – an unexpected take on aviation. It of course looks great and harkens back to squadron call out or aircraft references.
We love the military inspiration behind the design of your watches. Was this the main thought process behind their design, or did other factors contribute to their creation as well?
Initially we wanted to create a no-fuss pilot field watch but as we dug into the history of wartime aviation we were more and more into the idea of bringing to life the planes and their detailing through the watches rather than just the pilots who manned these amazing aircraft.
Along the way we looked to inject more history, more subtle as well as obvious use of aviation iconography and reference points from the RAF. Each watch and each family of watches now has a preset sub – DNA which can be read throughout each collection.
How have you made your watches stand out in such a busy market?
We have looked to juxtapose the watches by presenting them in a different way to other brands. Early on we wanted to make sure that while the watches were vintage, or historically referencing the past, they were presented in the future to contemporary, younger watch fans.
In addition we wanted our brand to have some really stand out pieces that create a wow factor and enhance the brands collectability. Higher end automatic pieces, limited editions, and cool super concept pieces deliver a bit of excitement. They gain more interest than just the standard watches you see in watch stores.
What is the importance of a social media platform for you, and how does it contribute to the popularity and success of your brand?
Social Media helped build our brand – period. Whether it be watch bloggers, instagrammers, forums, or facebookers – before we knew it we had a brand. To this point, we take a lot of time to work with our audience, our fans and, of course, sometimes our critics to get a real view of where we are as a brand. We also believe that presenting the rich backstories to our watches via social media, and in particular Instagram, helps create a richer, more indepth view of our products for those who buy them. Of course social media has helped us connect with the talented photographers, visual artists and other brands that we are proud to call collaborators and partners. For example we were always fans of the Worn and Wound review site, and similarly the guys at Bradley Mountain – both of whom we got in touch with after discovering their work via Instagram, from there we have produced two unique collaborations that capture the spirit of their ideas via an Avi-8 timepiece.
What are the different styles of watches you produce and which are your most popular?
We produce a fair range of watches but generally all of them fall into families as follows:
- The Hurricane - Based and named after the Hawker Hurricane - the famed WW2 era single seat fighter.
- The Lancaster Bomber - The iconic and seminally important heavy air bomber that was a crucial part of the Allies victory in the air during WW2.
- The Hawker Hunter - An early Jet age fighter that was developed in the late 40s and 50s.
- The Hawker Harrier - A take on the modern aviation watch featuring elements, ideas and designs taken from the epically cool Vertical Take Off and Landing “Jump Jet”.
- The Flyboy - Basically the watch family that started it all - a no-nonsene field pilot watch that harkens to the colloquial term for the very young men who were the first military pilots.
In short – we’re always looking to develop what we have by being more creative with the story telling behind our watches. We love working with other creatives and we have some cool collaborations coming up. Look out for reboots of some of our most storied watches and new additions to each family of timepieces. We continue to be humbled and amazed at where we are now – and we’re really keen to keep producing good products and telling incredible stories of adventure through our watches.