There must be a growing number of worried watch designers these days, who are zealously guarding their work station in the office, and looking over their shoulder anxiously each time the door opens and someone walks in, because in recent times quite a few of them will have noticed that their brief from above is to design a watch which in truth has already been designed – decades ago!
We are seeing this increasingly with the more mature brands releasing tribute collections to mark an anniversary or event, with faithful reproductions of bygone classics. And with the demand for actual vintage and pre-owned pieces, there is a market ready and waiting for modern vintage.
One company in particular, Longines, have really taken this baton and run with it, and proof of this is their Heritage Collection which has in recent times expanded to become a well populated and very handsome range of timepieces, all with their origins firmly rooted in the days gone by. The Longines Heritage Collection is now one of their principal categories and this would suggest that the interest is not purely down to nostalgia, but that classic styling never really passes too far out of fashion.
The latest addition to the Collection is the Longines Heritage Avigation GMT, a piece which has drawn much of its inspiration from the watch of the same name (well, minus the ‘Heritage’) which was first produced in 1949 for the British Army.
Now as then, the watch comes in a large-for-its-time 44mm wide, round stainless steel case, but as the name Avigator would suggest, this was destined to be an aviation/navigation instrument watch, which would be equally at home as an aviator’s timepiece as it would for collecting bearings during land based manoeuvres. The caseback is solid, and within a soft iron lining counters the effects of unwanted magnetic forces being exerted on the L704.2 self winding automatic mechanical movement.
The face is laid out as it would have been some 65 years ago in the original, with white and red markings made to stand out against a base black dial. The hands are – to quote the manufacturer – ‘silvered sandy’, and like the large arabic numerals are liberally coated with Super LumiNova which guarantees maximum legibility in poor light conditions.
Inwards, from the edge of the dial, a red 24 hour GMT ring is patrolled by a short central hand in matching red with a diamond of lume near its tip, and at the 3 o’clock position the date window replaces the numeral.
The Longines Heritage Avigator GMT (ref. L2.831.4.53.x) is presented on alligator strap with tang buckle and is priced at € 1.600 EURO and already available.