I would guess that the majority of us have heard of the Spitfire and probably the Hawker Hurricane too, but very few people have perhaps heard of the Hawker Typhoon or ‘Tiffy’, as it was nicknamed, which has become somewhat of a forgotten legend. This powerful, potent ground attack aircraft helped redress the balance in mainland Europe during WWII.
Over 1200 men and women flew the Hawker Typhoon, and sadly 56 per cent of them made the ultimate sacrifice. But there is no memorial to these brave young men and women, nor the thousands of ground crew and support staff who kept the aircraft flying, or for that matter, the people who designed, built and tested it.
In total, 3,317 Hawker Typhoons were built, with its first flight taking place on 24th February 1940 before entering service on 11th September 1941.
To support the Typhoon’s legacy, AVI-8 Watches has just released a limited edition timepiece in partnership with the Hawker Typhoon Preservation Group (HTPG).
This charitable organisation is run entirely by volunteers with the goal of raising the funds required to rebuild Hawker Typhoon MkIb, RB396, as a lasting legacy to the brave men and women who flew and looked after the aircraft during the war.
It is estimated that it will cost £5million to rebuild RB396 to airworthy condition, with over £1million having already been raised since the charity was formed in 2016, meaning that the first section of the aircraft is now almost complete.
Each new watch sold will support the work of the HTPG as they continue to restore Hawker Typhoon RB396, which is the only surviving combat veteran example of the type known to exist. Once completed, the aircraft will symbolise the heritage, educate the public and become a permanent memorial to all the crews, of all nationalities, that made the ultimate sacrifice operating the Typhoon during WWII.
This limited edition watch measures 42mm and has a stainless steel case with knurled details on the pushers and crown which has been expertly crafted for style and durability. It is fitted with a hardened mineral lens with anti-reflective coating so as to provide a perfect view into the dial.
The watch dial itself is distinctly legible and has bold oversized Arabic and baton indexes with Swiss lume, as well as subdials with instrument-style frames which have been drawn from the cockpit of RB396.
The back of the case features the name “Sheila”, drawn from the nose art on RB396 that was inscribed by RB396 pilot Frank Johnson to honour his wife Sheila.
The timepiece utilises a Japanese chronograph quartz movement, making it both precise and reliable, and is fitted with a comfortable, quality genuine leather strap with cross-stitched details inspired by the pilot’s seat in RB396.
Each new watch is individually numbered and part of a limited edition of just 800 pieces. It comes in a custom canvas wrapped gift box, and to honour the heritage of this iconic aircraft, each colourway is named after a pilot who had flown RB396 over the years it was in operation.
In addition, every limited edition timepiece purchased will also receive a Hawker Typhoon Preservation Group Bronze Package valued at £25.
Each subscription to the Hawker Typhoon Preservation Group helps the project with the funds required to rebuild this iconic aircraft and by joining you become part of something truly unique and important in aviation history.
For more information on the AVI-8 Hawker Typhoon RB396 Sheila, which is available to purchase from £180, please visit AVI-8.co.uk.
Simon Burrell is Editor of Our Man On The Ground, a member of The British Guild of Travel Writers and professional photographer.
Photographs courtesy of AVI-8 Watches