Longines produces modern reinterpretations of its historic watches under the popular (and very successful) Heritage collection. The various models in this line are largely faithful reproductions of the originals they’re based on, but come enhanced with tweaks that update them for the modern wearer. Among them is the Avigation Watch Type A-7 1935, which was first released in 2012. To commemorate Singapore-based retailer The Hour Glass’s 40th anniversary, Longines created two limited and numbered editions of this watch, with just 40 pieces available for each reference.
The Avigation Watch Type A-7 1935 The Hour Glass Edition is based on a watch produced by Longines to fulfil an order from the United States Army Air Corps, the precursor to the United States Air Force, in 1935. Conceived and built as a tool watch for pilots, its dial was rotated by 40 degrees to allow it to be read and operated easily while its wearer’s hand was on the aircraft’s control yoke.
Naturally, Longines has kept this defining feature in both the reissued Avigation Watch Type A-7 1935 and the The Hour Glass Edition variants. It’s an unusual design choice, but not an uncommon one – in the past, some vintage driver’s watches have had their dials offset in a similar way to improve their legibility when their wearers’ hands were on the steering wheel.
Rotated dial aside, the Avigation Watch Type A-7 1935 comes equipped with a chronograph to aid in flight operations. This would, of course, be crucial in the early days of aviation, when digital tools and computerised aids weren’t yet available. The variant used is a period-correct monopusher chronograph, which employs a single pushbutton to start, stop and reset the chronograph sequentially. Like the original, the chronograph is also limited to measuring events that are up to 30 minutes long, with just two sub-dials for both the watch and the complication.
Marking A Milestone
For the two commemorative watches, Longines has made some design tweaks beginning with the case, which is now in bronze in lieu of steel. The alloy doesn’t just impart a warmth that steel doesn’t, but also gives the watches even stronger vintage vibes than the “stock” variant. As bronze will oxidise to develop a patina, every watch in this limited series will acquire a unique finish over time. Lest their wearers develop allergies, their case backs are rendered in titanium, which is hypoallergenic.
To complement the new bronze case, the new watches’ dials have also been changed. Despite sporting the same vintage Gothic typeface and cathedral hands, the dials are now in champagne and blue respectively. They’ve also been finished with a new sunray texture that reduces the tool watch aesthetic for a more luxurious look.
Eagle-eyed observers will also note how the new watches lack a date window, just like the original from 1935. It’s a departure from Longines’ usual practice of adding a date window to its vintage reissues, but one that’s definitely a welcomed decision, given how it reduces clutter.
Tool Or Dress
The elephant in the room is whether the Avigation Watch Type A-7 1935 The Hour Glass Edition timepieces are actually dress and not tool watches. We definitely think they are the former. To be fair, the original watch was meant to be a pilot’s watch that’s worn over a flight jacket and not under a dress shirt. It has, however, gradually shifted away from its intended usage. There are several such watches that started out as sports watches before shifting to become dresses watches over time, and this is one of them. With a bronze case that clocks in at 41 millimetres, these timepieces are a tad large. Their retro styling, classy colours and fairly subdued designs do make them suitable for dressier occasions though, and will surely lend a touch of pizzazz to any ensemble while it’s on the wrist.