Vintage watch

Keep an eye out for the Longines Avigation BigEye

Longines' expanded its Heritage collection with a brand-new version of the Avigation BigEye chronograph, inspired by an instrument designed for pilots in the 1930s.

By Nicolas Yvon
Longines Avigation Big Eye titane et cadran bleu pétrole
The Longines Avigation BigEye draws inspiration from a Longines watch made during the 1930s’ for aeroplane pilots.

The Avigation BigEye chronograph was released for the first time in 2017 in a steel black dial edition. That same year, Longine’s model won the Grand Prix de l’Horlogerie de Genève’s “Revival” prize.
And the GPHG Academy members were right on the mark concerning the instrument’s aesthetics and the technical features.

Avigation BigEye: Longines reinterprets a pilot watch from the 1930s

The winged-hourglass brand – founded in 1832 in Saint-Imier in the Bernese Jura – has been focusing on memory work for a long time.
It strives to acquire old timepieces from its vast patrimony to expands its museum collection. The museum recounts 185 years of history, made hand in hand with aviation pioneers.

La première Longines Avigation BigEye était en acier
In 2017, Longines won the GPHG’s Revival watch prize with this first edition of the steel Avigation BigEye.

The Avigation BigEye is a reinterpretation of one of the museum’s instruments, acquired shortly before 2017. The Longines timepiece was designed for pilots during the 1930s.
It adorns the signature design of pilot watches from this time of conquest of the sky. 
This vintage looking chronograph comes with two “great” specificities. Indeed, it features an oversized 3 o’clock counter – hence the name “BigEye” – as well as protruding push-pieces.

Oversized minute counters and push-pieces: the signature features of the Avigation BigEye

These elements do not only convey the aesthetic character of the model. In fact, they first and foremost have a functional role.
But to understand it, you need to imagine having to use the instrument like they did back then. It is clear why the Avigation BigEye is an asset inside a plane’s cockpit: it is a narrow space where the vibrations are as high as the noise of the motors is loud and where the body is numbed by the cold.

La Longines Avigation BigEye deuxième édition est en titane et possède un cadran bleu pétrole
Longine’s new Avigation BigEye (€3,230) comes with a titanium case and a petrol blue dial.

The big counter of the Longines watch offered a better readability of kept times. And the “oversized” push-pieces made the use of the chronograph function easier, even with the thick leather gloves worn by pilots to fight the cold in their non-heated cockpits.

New Avigation BigEye: between technical modernity and old-school style

The 41 mm diameter case of the new 2021 version is made of titanium, which makes it both resistant and light. Titanium is highly appreciated in aeronautics, aerospace engineering, the car industry and the military as it is as resistant as steel as well as two times lighter. The alloy is also extremely resistant to corrosion and biocompatible, which explains why it is used in the medical field.

Our Petrol blue dial and titanium case Longines Avigation BigEye technical data sheet

Longines’ vintage chronograph: the lightness of titanium and the beauty of a petrol blue dial

From the front of the watch, the know-how of the craftspeople is found in the refined sand-blasted surface, coloured by a stunning ombré petrol blue.

Compteur noir surdimensionné et cadran bleu pétrole pour la nouvelle déclinaison de l'Avigation BigEye signée Longines.
The name of the Longines’ Avigation “BigEye” comes from its oversized minute counters.

The dial features three black counters with a concentric pattern – 30-minute and 12-hour counters at 3 and 6 o’clock and a small seconds at 9 o’clock. Moreover, the hands and numbers are coated with a luminescent beige paint (Super-LumiNova), which enhances perfectly the vintage spirit.

5-year international warranty for the Avigation BigEye

This model is set on a “natural” brown leather strap and equipped with a domed box-shaped sapphire glass and a well-crafted automatic column-wheel chronograph movement.

La Longines Avigation BigEye vue de dos présente un fond vissé gravé d'un avion
The recto face of the Longines Avigation BigEye chronograph is striking and the screwed-in case back on the verso is embossed with a plane.

This reliable calibre features a silicon balance spring, a high-tech non-magnetic material. 
For this reason, the Avigation BigEye is guaranteed for five years, like every Longines watches equipped with the same balance spring.

Why the name “Avigation”?

Unsurprisingly, the name “Avigation” is the contraction of “aviation” and “navigation”. But beyond the etymological explanation, according to Longines, it actually is a reference to the aerial navigation system designed in the 1920s.

The new Avigation BigEye

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