A New Look On Watches: Introducing the Longines Heritage Avigation Type A-7
There are not many companies in Swiss watchmaking whose product line is as vast and seemingly unending as that of Longines. Highlights from its collection have been acknowledged in Heritage models that channel the past with small modifications to things such as size and the use of robust automatic movements. Consider Longines’ superb additions in watchmaking, and any number of distinguished, fan-favorite watches might come to mind: the Heritage Classic Sector Dial, the Military Marine Rationale, the Skin Diver, and the Legend Diver, amongst others.
Undoubtedly, Longines is one of the leading Swiss brands with the richest history. It is evident that their people know how to capitalize on this with their impeccable Heritage timepieces — which has recently expanded its product lineage with the Tuxedo or the Sector dial models. Longines is known to produce aviation watches, in particular, with models like the BigEye or the Hour Angle timepiece produced for Charles Lindberg. Then, there’s the extraordinary Type A-7, which recently made a comeback in a more consumer-friendly and faithful package.
The 1935 Longines Type A-7 Timepiece
First created for the US Army Air Corps in 1935, the Type A-7 Avigation Hack Watch was an extraordinary monopusher chronograph adapted to the wrist exclusively designed for navigation. Consider it as the American equivalent to the German B-Uhr Fliegers, only with the addition of a chronograph, or to the French Type 20. It was first issued during the World Wars for the US Army Air Corps (1926-1941), now renamed US Air Force. This timepiece was designed specifically for aircraft navigation, “Aerial Navigation,” hence the name “Avigation.
The Longines Avigation Type A-7 watches were easily identified with their monopusher chronograph design — the offset crown at 2 o’clock and their reasonable dial tilted 40 degrees. This peculiar angle was made to make consulting the time easier without the pilot having to lose focus from the airship. The 12 o’clock mark led to an unmistakable look on the wrist, designed for easy reading for the pilot while holding onto an aircraft control stick.
These timepieces were massive with their 51mm diameter chrome-plated metal cases, making this watch much more svelte on the wrist than many other similar watches. Gallet, Meylan produced such watches, and, of course, Longines, with different dials — Art Deco numerals, black Arabic numerals, or with white dials.
In 2012, Longines recreated this design with the first A-7 Avigation, a monopusher chronograph with a shifted black dial, and a 49mm steel case. While this version drew attention and praise for its originality, the massive dimensions made it a difficult sell for the average buyer. Thus, in 2016, Longines solved this issue with a 41mm steel case with a white dial and exquisite Art Deco Arabic numerals.
The 2020 Longines Avigation Type A-7 Watch
While the 2012 version of the watch was definitely the most variant wearable of the series, similar to the dimensions of the unique 1935 model, it’s 49mm metal case wasn’t the most comfortable to wear — to say the least. The 2020 model brings back the specifications of the historical model in a more reasonable package, similar to the white dial version, with a signature black dial and Arabic numerals.
The rounded, fully refined case of the 2020 Avigation Watch Type A-7 now comes with a stainless steel case that measures 41mm in diameter. While the latest design adopts all the desired elements, including the elongated lugs (about 49mm lug-to-lug) that seem welded on the case of a pocket watch.
Additionally, the watch sports an onion crown positioned at 2 o’clock that enables controlling the different chronographic functions by merely pressing the single-button chronograph pusher. Mounted on a brown alligator strap, the 2020 Longines Avigation Type A-7 watch complements the sleek white dial version launched in 2016.
The latest version of the Type A-7 watch comes with a matte black dial adorned with white tracks and printed Arabic numerals executed in cream-colored Super-LumiNova, ensuring optimal readability. The elegant cathedral-type hands do not look similar to the original model, however, it works fine in this 1930s context. What makes the watch outstanding is its 40-degree shifted display that remains faithful to the original model.
Similar to the 2016 version, the new Longines timepiece is powered by the Longines Calibre L788.2 automatic chronograph movement, also referred to as ETA A08.L11. This automatic movement offers a comfortable 54-hour power reserve and runs at a 4Hz frequency.
The 2020 Longines Avigation Watch Type A-7 is available from retailers such as CT Pundole & Sons and priced at INR 257,000.