Here’s a closer look at the Longines Silver Arrow and Avigation Big Eye.
Longines has the spectacular ability to present models that reference the past but are updated to meet the desires of a contemporary audience. The watch does this year with two models – the Silver Arrow and the Avigation Big Eye. The former was inspired by the 1950s, generally seen as a period of positivity, as the world bounced back post World War 2. While there is debate about the positives of the era, one thing is for certain, the 1950s saw a resurgence in design and it was during this period that Longines first debuted the Silver Arrow, capitalising on the preoccupation with fast cars and supersonic planes that appeal across generations.
This year, Longines revisits this model, bringing back the Silver Arrow and in the process, capturing the understated elegance and distinctive silhouette that was characteristic of the 1950s version. This is actually the second time that Longines has brought back the Silver Arrow, the first was in 2009. Though it is the third retelling of the Silver Arrow story, critics commend Longines for being one of the few watchmakers that do remakes well. According to Watches by SJX, “the Silver Arrow manages to outdo its peers in many ways, because it manages to get practically everything right.”
As part of the evolution, the latest version is powered by cutting-edge watchmaking technology. At the heart of the watch is a self-winding mechanical movement (L888.5) with a silicon balance-spring to ensure high-precision accuracy and enhanced resistance to magnetic fields, the same as that of Omega and Breguet. The Silver Arrow has a 72-hour power reserve and comes with it a five-year warranty as evidence of its reliability.
The elegance of the 1950s is captured in the minimalist, silver opaline dial, which has been described as one of the highlights of the watch. It is about understated elegance as the date display and “self-winding” indication is absent, ensuring that this edition remains true to the original timepiece. The silver opaline dial features striated indexes, like the original, and sword-shaped hands, both of which are coated with SuperLumiNova.
Also featured is a box-shaped sapphire glass with a multi-layered anti-reflective finish as well as screw-down back engraved with the “Silver Arrow” emblem. Completing the look of refinement is the matte brown leather strap that has a soft texture and vintage finishing.
Staying true to its tradition of creating watches that stand the test of time, Longines also presents a re-issue of the Avigation BigEye, a watch that pays tribute to one created in the 1930s which to date has a somewhat mythical existence. Nonetheless, it was a watch that captured the imagination of the watchmaker which led to the Avigation BigEye launched in 2017. The military-inspired pilot’s chronograph proved to be a success.
It is unsurprising then that Longines continues to pay homage to aviation history this year with a new interpretation of Avigation BigEye. Presented in titanium with a petrol blue dial, the watch is an apt tribute to its inspiration and one that continues to personify the brand’s association with conquering the skies first established in the early 20th century,
The Longines Avigation BigEye comes with a 41-mm titanium case. At the centre of the watch is the enclosed column-wheel chronograph movement, L688m, with a silicon balance- spring for accuracy and enhanced resistance to magnetic fields. Design-wise, the chronograph is reminiscent of the 1930s design, characterised by a striking 30-minute counter, which inspired the name “BigEye.”
Sticking to the spirit of pilot watches, the Avigation BigEye is characterised by ease of reading. The hands are in sand- blasted black while the Arabic numerals are coated with SuperLuminova. On the grained and shaded petrol blue dial is a second subdial at 9 o’clock, a 12-hour counter at 6 o’clock and an oversized 30-minute counter at 3o’clock.
The finishing is in a box-shaped sapphire glass with multi- layered anti-reflective finish. The screw-down and engraved case back also attest to the advanced technology of this piece. The re-issue comes with a natural brown leather strap with a vintage finish.