Off the Cuff: AVI-8 Hawker Hurricane Kent Automatic

AVI-8 is a brand obsessed with pilot watches. I started a count of their current models on offer and simply lost track. Twice. The Hawker Hurricane Kent is another variation on this theme. Most of their watches are commemorative in nature–harkening back to the Second World War for inspiration. For its part, the Kent makes reference to Flight Commander John Kent and his 303 Squadron of Hawker Hurricanes.

AVI-8 Hawker Hurricane Kent Automatic Microbrand Watch Review
AVI-8 Hawker Hurricane Kent @calibre321

Kent, a Canadian, led the primarily Polish squadron during the Battle of Britain in 1940, acquiring more victories than any other Allied air group. Among his many honours was the Distinguished Flying Cross. The watch that bears his name is a vintage-inspired design with contemporary flair. I really like the Hampshire colourway and the highly legible sector dial featured here (there are three other models available).

AVI-8 Hawker Hurricane Kent Automatic Microbrand Watch Review
Powered by the Miyota 8215 @calibre321

The Kent case design is a nod to the traditional Flieger-style made popular by German watchmakers of that era and much-copied since by pilot watch manufacturers around the world. It is 43mm in diameter with a 50mm lug to lug measurement. It is also brushed for a toolish, utilitarian appearance. The screwed caseback is engraved with the 303 Squadron emblem, and each colourway is a reference to a flight station where Kent held command during his career: Newton (sold out), Sussex, Hampshire, and Stanton. The watch is water resistant to 50m.

AVI-8, who have a reputation for brash, colourful designs, have actually produced quite a subdued and well-balanced dial in the Kent. In the outer sector, there are applied markers and bold numerals framed by a ribbed chapter ring with minute indicators. The juxtaposition of pale yellow against the khaki green is quite tasteful. Surrounding this, on the rehaut, is a printed 24-hour scale. On the inner sector, we find a second register on the fives, a date window at six, and the brand name at twelve. A subtle addition of Kent’s aircraft code is stamped just above the date window. Perhaps unnecessary are the two lines of text–“Automatic 21 Jewels” and “21 600 Vibrations Per Hour”–which refer, of course, to the Miyota 8215 beating away on the inside. Nonetheless, they are not obtrusive. Dauphine hands and a custom seconds bearing the silhouette of the Hawker round things out. These hands, and all of the markers, are lavished with two-tones of Swiss lume.

AVI-8 Hawker Hurricane Kent Automatic Microbrand Watch Review
Strong two-toned lume @calibre321

The crystal is gently domed sapphire glass which remains legible from all but the most severe angles, where equally gentle distortions become apparent.

Each of the Kents come on a vintage-styled genuine leather strap.

AVI-8 Hawker Hurricane Kent Automatic Microbrand Watch Review
Balanced sector dial with domed sapphire glass @calibre321

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Specs

Case316L Stainless Steel
43mm Diameter
50 Lug to Lug
12.5mm Thick
22mm Lug Width
Screwed Caseback
50m Water Resistance
Dial & CrystalDomed Sapphire /w AR
Sector Dial
Applied Indices
Date @ 6
Super-LumiNova
MovementMiyota 8215 (non-hacking)
21 600bph
21 Jewels
42-Hour Power Reserve
StrapVintage-Styled Leather Band

AVI-8 Hawker Hurricane Kent


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Of Interest

For an automatic watch in this price point, the Kent is decently finished. The brushing is uniform. The dial is slick and well laid out. But the lume shoots for the moon. On wrist, just passing through a dim room, the watch will light up. There are also a lot of Easter eggs in the design which will delight military buffs.

AVI-8 Hawker Hurricane Kent Automatic Microbrand Watch Review
Top Gun vibes @calibre321

Quibbles

At 43mm, the Kent is on the larger side, and it wears larger than its specs suggest. There is a lot of real estate dedicated to the dial and very little bezel. Those with wrists under seven inches beware. And while the strap is adequate, I would suggest the addition of a NATO. Thicker spring bars would also help reduce excessive movement at the lugs.

AVI-8 Hawker Hurricane Kent Automatic Microbrand Watch Review
Design cues taken from the B-Uhr @calibre321

Final Thoughts

An AVI-8 is meant to be fun. And you should take it as such. The Kent, in spite of its more subtle design in the brand’s pantheon, still commands a great deal of wrist presence. It’s a conversation starter. Beyond horology, I love what AVI-8 is doing as a storyteller. They’re a gateway drug into history as much as they are a watchmaker. In the end, the Kent tells a good visual story. It’s also a solid build with a workhorse movement. Take it for a drive this summer, window down, arm propped on the sill, and just admire it in your wing mirrors. Might I suggest “Danger Zone” by Kenny Loggins on the stereo?

The Hawker Hurricane Kent retails for $295USD. For more information, please visit the brand website.

AVI-8 Hawker Hurricane Kent Automatic Microbrand Watch Review
AVI-8 Hawker Hurricane Kent @calibre321

About the author

Brent Robillard is a writer, educator, craftsman, and watch enthusiast. He is the author of four novels. You can follow him on Instagram.


Off The Cuff articles are full-length, hands-on reviews of the watch in question and represent the opinion of the author only. All photos are original, unless specified otherwise. If you would like to have your watch reviewed on this site, contact us here.

Please understand that using any links to products on this site might result in us making money.

3 thoughts on “Off the Cuff: AVI-8 Hawker Hurricane Kent Automatic

  1. joelmckellar

    By far one of my favourite brands right now. Their watches always tell a story. Their designs are bold, great depth and fun. Love the feature mate! Amazing review.

    Liked by 1 person

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