15 Oct 2020

Breitling Avenger Chronograph vs LIV P-51 Pilot’s Watch

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The Breitling Avenger Chronograph 45 Night Mission is available in 17 different models. The P-51 Pilots Watch uses the rock-solid Swiss-Made ETA Valjoux 7750 automatic chronograph. LIV Watches is a boutique watch brand that has been shaking up the horological world since 2014. The LIV P-51 Pilots Watch is available in black, blue, and chrono gray. The watch is 46 mm in diameter and uses sapphire crystals front (with an anti-reflective coating) and in the exhibition screw-down case back. Both use the best materials and movements.

Breitling Avenger Chronograph vs LIV P-51 Pilot’s Watch

The pilots watch is very popular among collectors, enthusiasts, and watch freaks. And, with good reason, they are awesome looking on the wrist, rugged, and give the wearer a certain“je ne sais quoi.” Prices range from astronomical to cheap. Let’s compare two watches that fall inside this gigantic spectrum; the Breitling Avenger Chronograph 45 Night Mission and the LIV Watches P-51 Pilots Watch.

Breitling Avenger Chronograph next to LIV P-51 Pilot's Watch

The Breitling Version

Breitling has a solid reputation among pilots and flight enthusiasts around the world. The company created its first pilot’s watch in 1936 during the interwar period leading up to World War II. It was characterized by it’s large, easy to read numerals and featured a small amount of lume for use during night flights.

The Avenger 45 Night Mission chronograph is powered by an in-house Breitling caliber, Movement 13. This movement is self-winding and offers about 48 hours of power reserve with a full winding.

The chronograph provides the expected timing capabilities in three subdials located at the 12, 6, and 9 o’clock positions. Primary functions are:

  • Constant seconds in the 9 o’clock subdial,
  • 30 minutes in the 12 o’clock subdial, and
  • Twelve hours in the 6 o’clock subdial.

The Avenger is available in 17 different models, each offers different case materials, diameters, and complications. The Avenger Night Mission uses a DLC-coated titanium case, 45 mm in diameter. The crystal is a concave sapphire, with glare-reducing coating on both sides. The case back is screw-in titanium.

The dial is available in either black or khaki green. The hours are marked with large Arabic numerals rendered in a military stencil style and are coated with luminescent material. The central hours, minutes, and seconds hands also receive the luminescent treatment.

When it comes to the straps, the Avenger is available in textured calfskin with slightly contrasting stitching. You can choose between a traditional buckle or pushbutton deployant clasp. For this comparison, the textured leather strap with buckle is used. Other straps are available in both rubber and different leathers starting at 75.00 USD.

Collectors who fancy the Breitling brand will find their expectations fulfilled with this robust timepiece.

The LIV Watches Version

LIV Watches is a boutique watch brand that has been shaking up the horological world since 2014. The company’s focus is delivering Swiss-Made and Swiss-Built, limited-edition timepieces at accessible price points. One of the founders has a passion for aviation that fueled the development of the P-51 Pilots Watch.

History buffs will likely be familiar with the legendary P-51 Mustang. This single-seater fighter was introduced in October 1943. Considered the most advanced prop fighter at the time, The mighty Mustang delivered air superiority to the Allies in both strategic bombing missions and close air support of ground forces.

The P-51 Pilots Watch uses the rock-solid Swiss-Made ETA Valjoux 7750 automatic chronograph, a legendary power plant in its own right (the fighter was powered by a Rolls-Royce engine). The estimated power reserve following a full winding comes in at 54 hours.

The chronograph functions are displayed in three subdials at 12, 6, and 9 o’clock:

  • 30 minutes at the 12 o’clock position,
  • 12 hours at the 6 o’clock position, and
  • Constant seconds at the 9 o’clock position.

LIV delivers the P-51 in four models, all of which use titanium cases with a ceramic and titanium bezel. Case colors include natural titanium and IP-coated black or rose gold. The watch is 46 mm in diameter and uses sapphire crystals front (with an anti-reflective coating) and in the exhibition screw-down case back.

LIV P-51 Pilot's Watch on leather strap

Multi-level dials are available in black, blue, and chrono gray. Indicies are hand-applied at each hour position and use BG-W9 Super LumaNova lume. The same lume is used extensively on the bezel. And the central hours, minutes, and seconds hands also receive the luminescent treatment. The hands in the 12 and 6 o’clock subdials are given the lume treatment, simplifying chronograph use after dark.

LIV P-51 dial and case edge detail

Buyers have a choice of hand-stitched leather, silicone, or nylon straps with a traditional buckle closure. Titanium bracelets are also available with a diver’s style clasp for an extra 80.00 USD. Push-button deployant closures are available for some straps. Prices for upgraded straps and bracelets begin at 65.00 USD.

Those buyers familiar with LIV Watches attention to detail, quality control, and innovative designs will find a lot to like with the striking P-51 Pilots Watch.

LIV P-51 exhibition case back


Time now for a head-to-head dogfight, pitting the specifications and prowess of the LIV P-51 against the Breitling Avenger 45. Since an actual dogfight is unrealistic without some serious CGI/CGG, the table below delivers the performance of each contender in a series of important areas, at least areas important to collectors and watch freaks around the globe.

Component Breitling Avenger 45 Night Mission LIV Watches P-51 Pilots Watch
Caliber Breitling 13 self-winding, 25-jewel, mechanical chronograph  ETA Valjoux 7751 self-winding, 25-jewel, mechanical chronograph
Case 45 mm DLC-coated titanium 46 mm IP-coated titanium
Crystal Convex sapphire crystal, glare-proofed both sides  High-grade anti-reflective sapphire crystal front, high-grade sapphire crystal in screw-down exhibition case back
Crown Screw-down Screw-down
Water resistance 100 m (300 ft)  100 m (300 ft) 
Bezel Uni-directional rotating titanium 120-click, uni-directional rotating, ceramic and titanium
Strap/bracelet Textured calfskin with contrast stitching, 316L Stainless steel bracelet $400 extra Premium French or Italian leather with contrast stitching, titanium bracelet $80 extra
Limited edition No Yes – 500 per variant
Warranty  5 years 5 years
Price with strap $5,405.00 $1,370.00

The Bottom Line

Looking at the stats, both watches have nearly identical performance. The P-51 offers some additional niceties like greater use of lume and a screw-down, exhibition case back. Both use the best materials and movements and are Swiss-Made. How to choose?

There is no denying the appeal of the Breitling brand to collectors of their timepieces. Upstart boutique, direct to consumer LIV Watches is carving out their own niche, appealing to people who are more focused on value and uniqueness than a label.

While either watch will deliver reliable performance for decades, there is one more statistic to consider before allowing you, the reader, to determine which of these pilots watches you should select. That last little tidbit is price.

Drumroll please! Breitling’s watch has an MSRP of $5,830.00. LIV’s entry to this fray comes in with a current price of $1,370.00. Or, $1,450.00 if you opt for a titanium bracelet at the time of purchase. Both will serve their intended purpose flawlessly. Saying that, you could buy four, count ’em four, of the P-51 Pilots Watch for a bit less than one Avenger 45 Night Mission. Considering a flight of fighters contains 3 – 6 aircraft, you’d be well on the way to issue every pilot a P-51 Pilots Watch.

A Brief History of Pilots Watches

Aviation watches have a long lineage, dating from the earliest part of the twentieth century. However, it was during World War II that they reached prominence and set the standards for aviator watches today.

The watches developed for airmen during WWII were often as large as 55 mm in diameter, had a rotating bezel that pilots and crew could manipulate while wearing gloves, and boasted extra-long straps with double loops and a buckle to allow the user to put it on over thick flight uniforms. Lume was used to enable use after sunset.

Watches were essential tools of the aviation trade because, in the earliest days of flight, pilots relied on compasses and watches for navigation. Time, speed, distance, and compass heading were the elements that went into properly following a flight plan.

The introduction of chronograph movements around 50 years ago enhanced the time aspect of navigation. Now pilots and navigators could time various legs of their route with split-second precision. Eventually, some watchmakers started offering a slide rule function, often around the chapter ring and bezel.

Some Reviews of the LIV P-51 Pilot’s Watch

LIV P-51 WOW!!!!!!!!!!! Great solid watch. I will definitely be ordering different models! Thanks to James & Chaz for responding to emails speedily and keeping me updated on my order. Keep up the great work!

Ruben F., South Africa

P51 Titanium : a true Pilot’s Watch for air fans. A tribute to warbirds. I received my P51 Titanium yesterday, and i’m in love ! What a so beautiful watch. Unboxing it was such a great and real pleasure for all the senses ! What a look (technical, professional, precise), what a smell (the brand new leather strap), what a sound (the mechanical and subtil beating, when sticking my ear on the watch), what a touch (materials, high quality),… A true Pilot’s Watch, for all the air fans. A true tribute to warbirds… To the most legendary, the P51 Mustang…

Francis A., France

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