Longines has, in recent years, been substantially growing its already expansive Heritage Collection. In the past year alone the Swiss brand has unveiled, among many others, the Legend Diver Bronze, Military Marine Nationale, and Classic Tuxedo series. Returning once again to its rich archives, Longines this year adds another version of its historically inspired pilot’s watch, the Avigation BigEye, outfitting it with a new titanium case and topping it off with an attention-grabbing, smoked blue dial.
Longtime fans of the Longines brand will know that the new titanium edition of the Avigation BigEye comes on the heels of the original steel steel version of the watch from 2017 (which we had the opportunity to go hands-on with shortly afterward). Like that original model, the new one draws its source material from a 1930s aviators’ chronograph (pictured below), but differentiates itself with a modern case material and a high-contrast blue dial. The result is a distinctly neo-vintage aesthetic that combines historical elements with contemporary manufacturing techniques.
The 41-mm brushed titanium case of the new Avigation BigEye achieves its luxurious look with small accents of polishing on the pushers, crown, and stepped bezel. The watch has the same dimensions as its steel forebear, sitting tall upon the wrist at 14.5-mm, and featuring large pump pushers and a tight-fitting push/pull crown on its right side. Despite its hardy, durable appearance, this watch is deceptively light on the wrist thanks to its titanium construction. While Longines doesn’t provide the model’s exact weight, it is likely much lighter than the 102 grams measured in its modern steel predecessor. The 30-meter water-resistant timekeeper is secured to the wrist with a light-colored leather strap.
The smoked blue dial under the sapphire crystal is distinguished by a fumé effect that lightens as it moves from the black edges to the bright blue center. It is also accented throughout with faux patina, black, and white colors. The simple white minute ring on that dark outer edge is punctuated at each 5-minute position with a printed rectangular marker, each one linked to a large, faux-patina Arabic numeral — except at the three spots occupied by black, engine-turned subdials: the namesake “BigEye” 30-minute chronograph register at 3 o’clock, 12-hour chronograph counter at 6 o’clock, and small seconds at 9 o’clock. A small but interesting detail on the two chronograph counters is their vintage-inspired choice of hands, which contrast the simpler stick hand used for the running seconds indicator.
At 12 o’clock we find a vintage-inspired Longines printed logo, with an “Automatic” script just below it. In the center, two sword-style hands with faux-patina lume display the hours and minutes. These two hands are joined in the center by a simple white chronograph seconds counter, counterweighted with a shape not too different from those seen on the chronograph subdials.
Longines has equipped the Avigation BigEye Titanium with the proprietary automatic Caliber L688, based upon the ETA A08.L01 and customised for the brand. The reliable chronograph movement is capable of a 54-hour power reserve, beats at a frequency of 28,800 vph, and — as in the steel model — is hidden behind a specially engraved, solid caseback.
The new Longines Avigation BigEye Titanium will be available later this month, via Longines and authorised dealers, and is currently priced at £2,970, or about $4,115, representing a significant increase from its steel predecessor’s price of $2,675.