Every once in a while, I get the opportunity to shoot timepieces and try them out before they enter the market. Many times they have been watches with an obvious vintage inspiration, just like the Longines Heritage Avigation BigEye chronograph.
The Heritage collection is part of a major watchcollection Longines is offering. The new Bigeye is not yet on their homepage though.
Last time I received a chronograph from Hamilton for a photoshooting, the Intramatic 68 and fell in love immediately with it. I am waiting for my Intramatic 68 chronograph to arrive with my special limitation number reflecting my birthyear. So these photoshootings sometimes give me the chance to check the watches out, try them on and put them on my wrist and get a feel how they wear, how comfortable they are and how pleasant they look.
Below you find a picture taken in the Longines Museum. It was sent to me directly by Longines. This is the base for the upcoming Bigeye.
The upcoming Longines Heritage Avigation BigEye is inspired from a pilotwatch made in 1971 as you can see in the below picture. Compare it to the above picture, you see that it basically looks very similar.
Like the vintage predecessor, the new chronograph possesses excellent legibility. Housed in a 41mm steel case it has a contemporary size which most men should feel comfortable with. I would, although most of the time I am a maximum 40mm guy, sometimes up to 42mm depending on the overall feel of the watch and its casedesign.
The watch has a height of just above 14mm, maybe up to 14.5mm. Lugs to lugs measures close to 48.5mm. While the vintage piece only has about 38mm, the new one is bigger. I am assuming that the vintage piece has a Valjoux 72 movement as the totalisors are suggesting.
Longines is using an ETA base in their new watch which was inhouse modified. The watch I received for the photoshooting was still “prototypish”, it did not run although there was a movement inside as I could feel. I was able to set it however. Longines indicated that the watch will hit the market in September 2017. There was no talk of a limitation of this timepiece.
For collectors of chronographs, the Bigeye totalisor on the right has a special meaning. Military chronographs would carry such totalisors in the past among others.
The caseback has the typical Longines airplane surrounded with the title of this watch as well as other designations such as “Swiss Made”.
Something I really like is the share of the case, especially when you look at it sideways. The curved lugs are quite special and unique.
Trying to give you two more angles to show the curvature of the lugs.
And this is another one.
Took some shots on my piano as well which seems to match the color of the indices.
The watch is nicely complemented by a vintage style brown strap that feels a bit like it was roughed up. Very cool idea.
While I was shooting the watch, some people came by and everybody was fascinated by this new timepiece. They did not expect this to come from Longines, and they loved the look and feel of it. The watch feels great on the wrist despite its height of 14mm.
I received a prototype which did not run, but I was able to set it however. I shot a nice video of this watch which I would like to share with you here.
While I started to research this watch I ran into some conversations with other collectors as well as into some photos on the internet. Here is one example of a 1937 Longines monopusher, even this watch seems to share a lot of things with the new Bigeye, it is just missing the Bigeye…
I do not recall where I found this picture, if this picture is yours, please message me so I can share you as a source. Thank you.
I spoke to a collector who very much focuses on Longines in his own collection which is currently exhibited in Switzerland. He told me about a watch which looks similar to the Bigeye, but I am not able to find a true Bigeye chronograph. He told me that the watch was most likely for sale at Beyer in Zurich. So I contacted another friend who works there and he helped me at least find a watch that my friend may have considered. It does not have the Bigeye totalisor, but it has a bezel, a black sport bezel. Quite interesting, I am not sure to what extent this watch may have influenced the Bigeye watch introduced now. But I would like to share some of the pictures with you. Courtesy of Beyer in Zurich and my friend Marko, here you go.
Beyer is the oldest watch store in Switzerland founded in 1760. It is located in Zurich on the worldfamous Bahnhofstrasse, a street which is lined by many famous highend watch stores as well as other highend stores from highend fashion brands etc..
In addition, Beyer entertains a museum and is also selling vintage watches of the highest end.
The above Longines has a Valjoux 72 movement, made famous by having been used by Rolex in their vintage Daytonas.
Back to the Longines Heritage Avigation BigEye. After my first shooting I posted some pictures in a forum and immediately people were excited. It looks like Longines is hitting the nail here. Cudos, great job, wonderful timepiece with awesome vintage heritage. And it is not only hitting the nail with other people, but also with myself. 😉
I am waiting to see the watch on the wrist in the wild. I am convinced that this watch will be a huge success.