By Jovan Krstevski
Reissue watches are nice in that it offers any one the chance to procure a vintage watch without going through the process of hunting for these historical pieces. Speaking of heritage reissues, Longines, a Swiss watch maker is among the many watchmakers doing this seemingly unstoppable trend in the history of watchmaking quite well. In fact, the Longines Heritage collection is expanding rather quickly. Their new reissue watch is a vintage-inspired pilot’s watch that pays tribute to the brand’s longstanding history with aviation – the Longines Avigation BigEye. This watch features aesthetics taken from several of the brand’s vintage aviation and military pieces including modern watchmaking technology pertaining to a column wheel chronograph caliber, a highly domed, anti-reflective sapphire crystal, and Super-LumiNova coating for the hour markers and hands. It feels like Longines is putting “everything new” in there which is good especially for a vintage watch.
The new Longines Avigation BigEye is just one of the brand’s watches that complement the growing Longines Heritage collection. What sets it apart is that it keeps its original inspirations quite intact. This is to say that the design language is the same even though the watch sees lots of new tech in order to keep up with the new standards. The new model is only possible because of the acquisition of the 1930s pilot’s watch by the Longines Museum. It can also be seen that the new dial still shares certain design elements seen on the original.
The black dial is classic featuring an straightforward and traditional aviation design. It seems that the light does not get sucked up completely hence the partly glossy effect on the dial. Still at a certain light level, looking at the dial is like looking at a blackhole which is quite impressive. The combination of Super-LumiNova-coated Arabic hour markers and bead-blasted, rhodium-plated hands keeps the traditional Longine’s style which should be familiar to the brand’s loyal fans. Moreover, there is a running seconds at 9 o’clock and a twelve hour counter sits at the 6 o’clock position. The oversized thirty minute sub dial is at 3 o’clock which acts as the focal point of the dial and practically the reason for the BigEye name. Just like its predecessor, there is no date window. Overall, the dark themed dial is clean and extremely legible.
Moving on to the case, its 42mm dimension is not so large in today’s standards considering that Aviation watches are usually known for large and utilitarian case designs. The case features mostly brush finish except the highly polished bezel under the beautiful domed anti-reflective coated crystal. The crown and pushers are also polished and oversized recalling the large controls of the pilot’s watches. The large crown is designed to be operated with ease by a flyer wearing heavy gloves. There is no exhibition caseback here but a closed caseback with a special aviation-inspired engraving.
Powering the Avigation BigEye is a self-winding mechanical column wheel L688.2 caliber, note the column wheel which is hugely popular for the fans of vintage watchmaking and watchmaking in general for their tactile or mechanical and positive feel at the pushers. The 27-jewel movement also beats at 28,800 BPH and cranks out 54 hours of power reserve.
The Longines Avigation BigEye wears on a nice brown leather strap and retails for 2,625 USD.
For more info, please visit longines.com