Being a cousin of the gorgeous Longines Column-Wheel Single Push-Piece Chronograph 180th Anniversary model that was revealed on March 2012, the Longines Avigation Watch Type A-7 (ref. L2.718.104.22.168) speaks the same design language, but is significantly, impressively larger looking like those pocket watch-based “aviators” of the pre-WWII era.
If you compare the two models, you will immediately see that the Longines Avigation Type A-7 gains weight gracefully (it now measures whole 49 millimeters in diameter!) without looking stupid. The extra available space on the dial is filled with an easily-readable tachymetric scale and the whole layout is nicely balanced with a slightly thicker bezel.
The other difference is, of course, the dial, which is angled around 60° to the right and the setting crown with a built-in chronograph push-piece, which is moved about the same 50° to the left now standing at the timekeeper’s ‘real’ 12 o’clock position.
As a result, the watch becomes more readable and the dramatically oversized, onion-shaped crown won’t bite you in the back of your hand. The crown’s position makes it easier to use the single push-piece that is used to start, stop and reset the integrated column-wheel chronograph unit although I don’t think that setting time and date would be a comfortable task without getting the timepiece off your wrist.
Like many recent “historic” models from Longines, the new Avigation Watch Type A-7 comes equipped with Breguet-style hands and italicized Arabic numerals that look contrasting on the matte-black background of the dial.
Just like the aforementioned 180th Anniversary model, the new timepiece is powered by the Longines Caliber L788.2 automatic movement. Being a fine-tuned version of the ETA A08.261 blank caliber (another representative of the recent batch of oversized mid-range calibers designed to better fit larger watches that are so popular right now while also delivering more power reserve than the good old ETA 7750 caliber its design is based on,) this column-wheel chronograph unit beats at a standard pace of 28,800 vph and sports a power reserve of 54 hours: around 10 hours more than an average ETA Valjoux 7750 will offer.
An impressive watch, that. I just wonder how much Longines will charge for this beast.*
UPDATE ON PRICE: The Avigation Watch Type A-7 ref. L2.722.214.171.124 will be available at a list price of €4100. Although I can’t honestly call it “affordable”, I must admit that the MSRP looks fine if you consider the timekeeper’s unique styling and factor in the new self-winding high-grade caliber that not only has a good reputation when it comes to reliability but is also accurate for a mechanical movement.
Longines Avigation Type A-7 (ref. L2.7126.96.36.199) specification
Price: €4100 (MSRP, ref. L2.7188.8.131.52)
Movement: Automatic, Longines caliber L788 (base ETA A08.261), monopusher column-wheel chronograph, Swiss Made
Number of jewels: 27
Movement frequency: 28,800 vph
Power reserve: 54 hours
Functions: Hours, minutes, small seconds, date, chronograph
Case: Stainless steel
Size: 49.00 mm
Hour markers: White
Hands: Steel, silvered
Water resistance: 30 meters
Strap: Black alligator leather strap with contrast stitching, on a steel buckle
Crystal: Sapphire, anti-reflective on the inside