Introducing the Longines Avigation BigEye TitaniumBy Bhanu Chopra
Although this tri-counter Avigation BigEye Chronograph is based on a 1930’s pilot’s chronograph missing from the Longines archives until a collector showed it to the Longines Museum, the watch itself was not introduced to the Longines Heritage collection until Baselworld 2017, and even then, the 1930s version of this was painstakingly adapted from a chronograph first introduced by Longines in 1971.
As part of its Heritage collection, which also includes the famed Lindbergh Hour Angle and the Longines Twenty Four Hours watch designed for airline pilots, the new version of the Avigation BigEye remains the same in size; a sensible 41mm in diameter, 50mm lug to lug, and about 14.5mm high.
What attracts attention immediately is the eye-popping degradé granulated textured petrol blue dial encased in lightweight titanium and shielded by a vintage style box crystal. The dial features striking yellow oversized Super-Luminova lumed Arabic numerals and cathedral style hands.
The chronograph comprises a central 60 seconds hand, an oversized 30 minutes counter at 3 o’clock, (from where the nickname ‘BigEye’ originates), small seconds at 9 o’clock and a 12 hours counter at 6 o’clock. The oversized pushers and crown are a throwback to the 1930s when it was necessary to operate the watch even while wearing thick gloves.
The high-quality column wheel chronograph is powered by an L688.2 caliber movement, based on the ETA A08.L01, the movement has a power reserve of 54 hours. Turn the watch over and there’s a stylized art deco engraving of an airplane on the screw down caseback. The watch comes on a plain tan leather strap.
Longines aviation style watches have always been best sellers, and reintroducing the BigEye in this eye catching blue colorway is a safe bet to attract Centennial collectors. The new “Avigation BigEye” is not an exact replica. If you’re looking for that you need to find yourself the 2017 model with a black dial and made from steel.
The blue degradé dial in titanium is a winning combination – the dull titanium case contrasted with the striking blue dial. If there’s anything that could have been better about this new version it’s the strap. A dark Horween leather or sailcloth would perhaps have been preferable to plain tan leather.
Movement: L688.2 (ETA A08.L01)
Case: 41mm x 14.5mm, titanium
Features: Hours, minutes, small seconds at 9 o’clock
Strap: Tan leather
Price: USD 3,225