Longines Avigation Watch Type A-7 1935 - The new 41mm wide and incredibly cool Avigation Watch
The Heritage collection best represents the testimony of the brand's history and, on paper, it is the collection that probably produces the lowest sale volumes if compared to all the other collections; nevertheless, Longines keeps coming up with new releases at a steady pace year after year. In a process that has seen every single brand gradually scale back on the size of their timepieces, Longines has perhaps realized that a watch collection whose case sizes range between 47.5mm (the Lindbergh) and 49mm (the current Avigation Type A-7) could represent a constraint to its spreading despite being fully compliant with the history and spirit of aviation.
The Longines Avigation Watch Type A-7 1935 (you can find our article dedicated to this timepiece by following this link) has undergone the same case size reduction process that has been affecting a new series of single-button chronographs with two horizontal counters and three-hands timepieces since the late 2015; among these timepieces are for example the new Heritage 1969, the 1918 to name a few examples released within exactly a one year's time. The process takes on an even more significant meaning when you consider that the timepieces that are classified as Type A-7 – a rigid military specification for aviator's watches – used to be bigger than 50mm in size and are now, at the beginning of 2017, 41mm in size. It is a quantum shift for the Heritage timepieces that actually makes sense; 41mm is the new 49mm or, at least, it is an option that allows users with considerably small wrists or even female's wrists to wear a Heritage (lots of women actually prefer man's collections). It is a policy that almost resembles that of those brands with a clear military vocation like Panerai and that aims at attracting a wider potential buying audience.
The year 1935 refers to a specific historic model, whose aesthetic side has been faithfully adopted by Longines, the 40-degree-layout that is typical of the Type A-7 timepieces included, and the new lacquered white dial – the original one is porcelain-made – to which bold, and big, and honey-colored Arabic numbers have been applied. When I first saw a picture of the Longines Avigation Watch Type A-7 1935, I was in St.Imier, where someone was browsing the latest catalog of all the brand's collections, and, on that occasion, I asked whether I could borrow one to write my article. No sooner said than done – beside the continuous case size reduction, the year 2016 also witnessed the introduction of warmer hues on the dial of the Heritage timepieces. These new colors are meant to better tell away the vintage and pioneering side of these watches in my opinion. The first one in a long series was the Heritage 1918, where Longines found a new colors and tones alchemy. Other details have also changed, like, for instance, the hours and minutes hands style with light-blue edges and the entirely blued central chrono hand that replace the stainless-steel made, and slightly cold hands of the current Avigation Type A-7.
A quick clarification; I don't know if this model will eventually replace the current version of the Type A-7 that has been available for a few years now and that was launched to celebrate the 180th anniversary of Longines, or if this timepiece will complement the existing original version, or – this is my very own idea – whether Longines will craft a 49mm version to replace the current model; only time will tell. In a nutshell, the new Longines Avigation Watch Type A-7 1935 features a richer and more sophisticated look than the first re-edition and some other details that really make the difference, like, for instance, the fixed case-back with a fine etching of an aeroplane silhouette and a geometry with spokes that reminds us of a style that was very much in fashion in the first half of the previous century. The proportions have changed too, as the case is both smaller in size and thicker, so that it gives the Longines Avigation Watch Type A-7 1935 a completely different look when wrapped around your wrist. Take a look, for instance, at the thickness of the bezel.
The case is beveled and entirely polished, it features a single opening; a small hole located at 7 o'clock that can be used to adjust the date, the button and the coaxial crown located at 12 o'clock are used to activate the L788.2 caliber; this is single-button with a column wheel mechanism, it oscillates at a frequency of 4Hz and guarantees up to 54 hours of power reserve; a true pillar of the ETA manufacturing for Longines. The Longines Avigation Watch Type A-7 1935 retails at 2,960€; an exceptional price for a product with so much history, a good overall quality outlook and a chronograph that lacks pretty much nothing. Forget the big aviator's watches (for those, you need to turn to the Twenty Four Hours), the last Type A-7 is a so-called “dress watch” that resembles more the early wrist timepieces rather than the big instruments worn in combination with a tracksuit overall. If compared to the the second type of watches, this timepiece radiates much more versatility and a completely different classic aura.
(Photo credit: Horbiter's proprietary photo-shooting)
Gaetano C @Horbiter