Longines was one of the first watch companies to combine the style of watches from the past with modern techniques that are used in watchmaking today. This began when they introduced the Legend Driver in 2007 and it is still something that they are doing today. The Avigation BigEye Chronograph is the latest watch to be unveiled by the company.
The difficulty with producing a vintage watch is that it is hard to keep coming up with things that have not already been done before. Vintage watches have really taken off recently and there are a lot of brands other that Longines that are getting involved in this.
Despite this, the Avigation BigEye Chronograph is still a watch to get excited about. Many people feel that too much traditionalism is not something that should be worried about because a love of classic designs is the thing that attracted them to watches in the first place. If a watch is designed well then this design speaks for itself and good design is definitely something that the BigEye has. It was recently awarded the Best Revival prize at the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève.
The inspiration for the BigEye came from aviation watches of the 1930s. There is one watch, in particular, that was the main inspiration for the watch but details of this watch are hard to come by. One piece of information that is known is that the original watch is part of the Longines museum collection and it was given to them by a private collector. When looking at photographs of the original watch is it easy to see the similarities between this and the BigEye.
The BigEye is 41mm across the face of the watch and 50mm when measuring from lug to lug. The thickness is 14.45mm which includes the dome of the sapphire crystal. The dial layout is asymmetrical and the pushers on the watch are oversized. This is not something that will appeal to everyone but it does look very effective. There were many people that were appreciative of the design of the watch when Longines posted a picture of it on Instagram.
The dial itself is one aspect of the watch that oozes good design. It only takes a glance for you to see what the time is as the hands are very legible. Everything is very well proportioned and it makes good use of negative space. The dial base is completely black in colour and this makes it easy to see the silver hands and other markings on the face of the watch. The markers are large and luminous which means they are always easy enough to see.
When you first glance at the sub-dials it may look as if everything is normal but this is not the case if you take a second look. If you look carefully at the sub-dial at three o’clock that measures half hours you will see that the large hash marks fall at every three minutes, not five as you would expect. This helps the watch to retains its balanced look but it does take some getting used to in terms of being able to read the time quickly. However, this is not something that will take too long to adapt to, especially if you wear the watch all the time.
Another advantage that the BigEye has over similar watches is that it is very comfortable to wear. It does not feel too big on your wrist and the leather strap can be worn all day without causing any discomfort. It also looks the part with all types of dress, both casual and formal which is a balance that not many other watches are able to achieve. The strap is matte brown with contrast stitching in a paler cream color.
Longines themselves have not made a big deal of the release of the BigEye which adds to its understated appeal. However, this watch is easily the best of its kind which has been released by any company recently and is something that Longines should quite rightly be proud of. The Avigation BigEye Chronograph is proof that while the trend of vintage watches is not new, there can still be watches designed that delight and surprise people that are sure they have seen it all before.