Longines introduces a new edition in its Heritage line, a vintage- and military-inspired watch that takes its place alongside the recently launched Heritage 1935, Heritage Diver and Conquest Heritage 1954. This collection of Longines watches is certainly the brand’s most interesting, with vintage inspired designs and practical complications. The Longines Avigation GMT is no exception: it’s a robust watch with an old-fashioned style and a useful display.
The Longines Avigation is inspired by a 1949 timepiece produced for the British Army. The term “avigation,” which is an amalgam of “aviation” and “navigation,” harks back to the time when Longines was supplying many armies and other military units with robust and highly legible tools, such as the original “Majetek Vojenske Spravy,” made for the Czech Air Force. The original Longines Avigation watch was made to meet military specifications for resistance, legibility and antimagnetic capability.
Along with the dimensions of its round, 44-mm stainless steel case, which matches those of the original, the main feature the new Avigation has in common with its predecessor is a technical one. The new edition of the Longines Avigation also comes with an antimagnetic “Faraday Cage” (a soft iron case) that protects the movement against magnetic fields and thus makes it suitable for pilots and navigators. The dial is also an ode to vintage pilot watches, with its black dial and large, contrasting Arabic numerals painted in white, all of are luminous for good nighttime legibility. The central area of the dial features a red 24-hour scale that matches the GMT hand, which is also painted in red.
The dial is adorned with the old Longines logo and a ‘broad-arrow’ shaped symbol at the top. This symbol was used in the United Kingdom to denote government property, including military equipment and therefore the watches used by the British army. Inside the 44-mm case, with its classical pilot-watch shape, and behind the soft-iron cage, ticks a self-winding movement, the Longines Calibre L704. This movement indicates hours, minutes, seconds and date, as well as 24 hours. It is based on the ETA A07 171, meaning a movement from the Valgranges collection that measures 36.6 mm x 7.9 mm and boasts 48 hours of power reserve. This is a smart choice considering the size of the watch, as the date aperture is not lost in the middle of the dial but on the far side of it. And once gain, it is a highly robust, reliable and accurate engine that should do its job for many decades, without any issue. The watch comes on a black alligator strap with a pin buckle.
The Longines Avigation GMT (Ref. L2.831.4.53.x) is a nice addition to the Longines Heritage collection, albeit (in my opinion) a bit less “inspired” than the other recently introduced models. It is more classical, featuring a traditional pilots-watch design, whereas the Heritage 1935 and Conquest Heritage are based on specific, iconic models that are easily recognizable. It is priced at $2,325 and is currently available.
- Movement: Mechanical self-winding Caliber L704.2 (ETA A07 171). 161/2 lignes, 24 jewels, 28,800 vph. 48-hour power reserve
- Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, date at 3 o’clock, second time zone
- Case: stainless steel, diameter = 44 mm, screw-down caseback, scratch-resistant sapphire crystal with several layers of nonreflective coating, anti-magnetic soft iron protection around the movement
- Water-resistance: 30 meters
- Dial: Black lacquered and polished, 11 Arabic numerals, with Super-LumiNova, red 24-hour scale
- Hands: Rhodium-plated, skeleton baton hands with Super-LumiNova; red 24-hour diamond-shaped skeleton hand, with Super-LumiNova
- Strap: Black alligator with buckle
There are dozens of watches similar in shape and appearance to this one, although the red added to the dial does make a pleasant change. Many of them don’t have the super Luminova and are digital eg, the Hamilton Khaki (several models).
Few of the abovementioned have the GMT additional hand.
The DoD arrow, also used by Australian Military during and for a while after WWII is an interesting addition adding a touch of history to the Avigation.
Nice GMT watch.