To commemorate the 80th anniversary of Operation Chastise, AVI-8 have launched a brand-new limited edition timepiece which pays homage to the historic Dambusters Raid with the Avro Lancaster Bomber and their brave airmen.
Partnering with the esteemed 617 Squadron Association, AVI-8 will be donating 5 per cent of net sales from the launch of this new watch to support the valuable work the charity does for good causes and preserving many of the traditions and comradeship of the Royal Air Force.
Carried out by the Royal Air Force’s 617 Squadron during World War II, the Dambusters Raid, also known as Operation Chastise, holds a significant place in the annals of aviation history. It was an audacious and daring mission targeting the dams in Germany’s Ruhr Valley, using the ingenious bouncing bomb developed by English engineer and inventor Barnes Wallis.
The raid itself which was carried out on the night of 16th and 17th May 1943, a date chosen due to the bright moonlight, was led by Wing Commander Guy Gibson. The squadron’s pilots displayed bravery and precision navigating their 19 Lancaster bombers through a web of obstacles to carry out the mission. Eight of the 19 Lancasters failed to return and 53 of the 133 aircrew were lost in the raid.
This rather special collection of three watches pays tribute to the heroic acts of 617 Squadron and the technical brilliance of Operation Chastise with its impeccable design and exceptional craftsmanship.
The stainless steel case is 43mm wide and 51.5mm in length and water resistant to 50 metres and has a screw-back caseback with circular brushing, adding to the watch’s robust construction. The mineral lens and Japan Luminous offer good visibility in low-light conditions.
There is a choice of three colourways that capture the spirit of aviation and pay tribute to the squadron’s legacy. The first, AV-4107-01 – Jet Black showcases a bold and sophisticated aesthetic with black plating of the case that is paired with a black dial and a black strap with warm red stitching.
AV-4107-02 – Camo combines stainless steel with a black camouflage dial, in a nod to the stealth and precision of 617 Squadron. The tan strap with black stitching adds a touch of rugged sophistication to the timepiece.
The third colourway – AV-4107-03 – Navy Blue – features a stainless-steel case with a navy-blue dial, giving a sense of classic aviation aesthetics and the blue strap with ivory stitching complements the overall design and creates a striking visual appearance to the watch.
Wing Commander John Bell MBE DFC LdH’s, President of the 617 Squadron Association, said:
“We are very proud of the launch of this new timepiece and have worked closely with AVI-8 to reproduce a chronograph that aptly commemorates the Dambusters. AVI-8’s remarkable attention to detail is reflected in the dials which replicate the Lancaster pilot’s instruments, including the Artificial Horizon, Altimeter and the Air Speed Indicator. The essence of the Dambusters is captured in the second hand, inspired by the red lightning bolts from the Squadron’s crest. Engraved on the case back is our 80th anniversary logo incorporating the 617 Squadron memorial at Woodhall Spa, our third wartime base.”
The Dambuster 617 Squadron 80th Anniversary Dual Time Chronograph costs £285 and is limited to just 775 pieces, and is available to buy at AVI-8.co.uk.
Simon Burrell is Editor of Our Man On The Ground, a former member of The British Guild of Travel Writers and professional photographer.
Photographs courtesy of AVI-8 Timepieces