If you’ve ever taken a stroll through Grosvenor Square, you may have noticed a tall plinth on the southern side – like a miniature Washington Monument. Perched on top is a giant eagle fashioned from bronze, wings stretched ready for flight.
The memorial symbolically faces a statue of Franklin D Roosevelt on the opposite side of the square – both long-time sentinels of the former American Embassy.
The Eagle Squadrons Memorial was created to commemorate three fighter squadrons of the Royal Air Force, which were formed in 1940 by volunteer pilots from the United States. They joined the effort during the early days of World War II – before America's entry into the war.
The bravery and sacrifice of these flyboys has now been commemorated in a very different form by British watch company AVI-8.
Its latest model, the AVI-8 Flyboy Eagle Squadron Bronze Automatic Limited Edition, pays tribute with its vintage-style pilot design. The 39mm case and 22mm lug width proportions are in line with pilot watches worn during the war.
The flat sapphire lens even has an anti-reflective coating to stop it from catching the sun – and the attention of enemy pilots. The dial has a matt finish complemented by multiple layers of Swiss luminous painted on hour indexes. Blunt shape hands for the hour and minute display are also lumed for night flights.
Most significantly of all – like the American eagle atop the memorial – the watch is made from bronze
The watch is powered by a custom-modified Seiko TMI NH35 self-winding automatic and is water-resistant to 50m.
The Eagle Squadron comes with two straps: one vintage-style hand-stitched leather strap, as well as a military-inspired Nato number.
But perhaps most significantly of all – like the American eagle atop the memorial – the watch is made from bronze. The metal is renowned for its anti-magnetic qualities, making it ideal for a pilot watch.
Bronze also has a substantially higher Vickers (hardness) rating compared to most metals, even steel, meaning you can bash it about a bit without fear of dents.
The final salute to the squadron comes in the form of the RAF Eagle Squadron emblem – one is engraved on the case back, another embossed on the face.
Limited to 300 pieces, it comes packed in a field-like canvas-coated box along with a brass plaque.
It’s now nearly 80 years since the Eagle Squadrons flew, but symbols like this will help their legend live on.
£400; see more at AVI-8