Longines Avigation Watch Type A-7 1935
The Longines Avigation Watch Type A-7 1935 is a new model for 2020. It references a former watch of yesteryear, produced for the U.S. Air Force in 1935. Its specification includes a mono-pusher chronograph, bi-compax dial layout, cathedral hands, a chemin de fer and date indication. However, most notably the watch is equipped with an integrated chronograph movement which includes a column-wheel mechanism despite only costing £2500.
Longines has an incredible knack of releasing beautiful chronographs at remarkable prices. Back in 2013, the Swiss brand launched the aptly named Longines Column-Wheel Single Push-Piece Chronograph ref. L2.7188.8.131.52. The design was inspired by a historic model of 1913 and the model was endowed with a white lacquer dial. Furthermore, the watch was drop-dead gorgeous and retailed for the very modest sum of £2850 (RRP as at 3.9.2013). Despite seeing the watch seven years ago, I have never forgotten its appearance or its impressive specification.
Towards the latter part of 2015, Longines unveiled another column-wheel mono-pusher chronograph, the L2.800.4.23.2, inspired by a 1920s model. This watch eschewed the wire-style strap attachments of the 2013 model in favour of conventional lugs. However, both watches featured bi-compax dials, each with a date aperture at 6 o’clock. My scribbled notes at the time, reveal the price was $3150 at the time of launch.
Now, the luxury marque from Saint-Imier has just released the Longines Avigation Watch Type A-7 1935. Again, it references a former watch of yesteryear, produced for the U.S. Air Force in 1935. Once again, it is a mono-pusher type chronograph and features a bi-compax dial layout. The shifted dial upholds the design of the 1935 model and includes cathedral hour and minute hands with a chemin de fer framing the display.
The movement found in all of the three aforementioned watches is the Calibre L788.2. This integrated chronograph movement includes a column-wheel mechanism, a detail usually only found on much costlier watches. Remarkably, despite the passage of time, this new Longines model is offered for the very reasonable sum of £2500. While most things in life cost more year-on-year, nobody seems to have told Longines.
The brand’s press release (July 2020)
The Longines Avigation Watch Type A-7 1935 pays homage to aviation’s finest hours. Longines has been associated with the aeronautical universe and its pioneers since the beginning of the 20th century. For this new timepiece, the brand takes inspiration from a model ordered by the U.S. Air Force in 1935. In order to be designated “Type A-7” by the US Army so that it could be worn by its pilots, the watch had to meet extremely rigorous specifications in terms of aesthetics, durability and precision.
Faithful to the original model, the new variation of The Longines Avigation Watch Type A-7 1935 sets itself apart with its black dial shifted 40° to the right. The particular orientation of the dial allowed pilots to read the indices without having to release the plane’s control yoke.
To facilitate the handling of the watch in the air – even when wearing gloves – the fluted crown located at 12 o’clock enabled control of the different chronograph functions: power, stop, and reset, by simply pressing the single push-piece. Today, The Longines Avigation Watch Type A-7 1935 adopts this unique design.
Its stainless steel case with a diameter of 41.00 mm houses a column-wheel chronograph movement (L788.2) exclusively developed for Longines.
Adopting the specifications of the historic model, the matt black dial adorned with large Arabic numerals and a “train track” chapter ring, ensures optimal readability. This understated composition is decorated with elegant “cathedral”-type hands covered with Super-LumiNova®.
Mounted on a brown leather strap, this new model of The Longines Avigation Watch Type A-7 1935 complements a white lacquered dial version launched in 2016.