Longines Avigation BigEye in titanium
The Longines Avigation BigEye in titanium features a lightweight case, a gorgeous petrol blue dial and a column wheel movement. With its impressive specification and keen pricing, this latest watch from Saint-Imier will undoubtedly sell like hotcakes.
Longines won the ‘Revival Watch Prize’ at the GPHG 2017 with its Avigation BigEye. The following year, I had the good fortune to wear one for a few days and relayed my findings on ESCAPEMENT. The design was inspired by a 1930s pilot’s chronograph. Housed in a 41mm stainless steel case, the watch featured plump capstan-like pushers. The self-winding chronograph movement, the Calibre L688, featured a column wheel and the dial was a paragon of legibility. Yet, despite its many attributes, the model was keen priced at £1940 (RRP as at 30.12.2017).
Now, the Maison from Saint-Imier has released a new version of the watch. Its face may be familiar, but it now encompasses petrol blue tones juxtaposed with contrasting black snailed counters. The hands and indexes are lined with Super-LumiNova, augmenting readability during night-time sorties. The Calibre L688 (ETA A08.L01) returns. Surprisingly, despite the model’s modest asking price it features a silicon balance-spring. This latter detail augments accuracy and is less susceptible to magnetic fields. However, the pièce de résistance is the titanium case.
Titanium has a low mass, is resistant to corrosion and is hypoallergenic, a welcome attribute for those individuals with a nickel allergy.
It is four years since Longines released the previous Longines Avigation BigEye, hence inevitably prices have increased. Indeed, the recommended retail price of this new version is £2970 (RRP as at 15.2.2021). However, it is housed in a titanium case, a material which is significantly more expensive than steel. Moreover, the Longines Avigation BigEye Titanium features an incredibly sumptuous dial, rich in character, and a column wheel movement with a silicon balance spring. Suddenly, the price of this watch looks remarkably attractive. Indeed, I can think of few alternatives which offer so much, for comparatively so little.
The brand’s press release (February 2021)
Since the early 20th century, Longines has been associated with conquering the skies. Today, the winged-hourglass brand presents a new interpretation of The Longines Avigation BigEye in titanium with a petrol blue dial, in homage to the greatest aviation moments and its pioneers. This pilot’s chronograph with an emblematic 1930s’ design is characterised by the striking size of its 30-minute counter: a unique look that inspired the model’s name (BigEye).
The Longines Avigation BigEye has a 41-mm titanium case which encloses a column-wheel chronograph movement (L688) with a silicon balance-spring for accuracy and enhanced resistance to magnetic fields. To prove its reliability, this new version comes with a 5-year warranty.
In keeping with the spirit of pilots’ watches, The Longines Avigation BigEye is also characterised by its ease of reading. Adorned with sand-blasted black hands and Arabic numerals coated with SuperLuminova®, its grained and shaded petrol blue dial features a seconds subdial at 9 o’clock, a 12-hour counter at 6 o’clock and an oversized 30-minute counter at 3 o’clock.
A box-shaped sapphire glass with multi-layered anti-reflective finish above and below, and a screw-down and engraved case back also attest to the advanced technology of this piece.
This new version comes with a natural brown leather strap with a vintage finish. It joins a version of The Longines Avigation BigEye in steel with black dial, launched in 2017.