Longines replica and its Heritage collection… A range that comprises some of the most desirable watches produced by the brand, all inspired by some of Longines’ most glorious past watches, re-edited in a modern way but always with great historical relevance. One of the flagship models in this collection is the high quality fake Longines Heritage Avigation BigEye, a watch modelled after an elusive 1930s watch with quite a resemblance with some glorious post-WWII pilot’s chronographs. Also known as “Big Eye chronographs,” this specific type of watch was first re-issued in 2017 with the steel Avigation BigEye. And this year, the brand adds a new version, with an attractive petrol blue gradient dial, and a titanium case.
As explained in our review of the steel model, the story behind the steel case copy Longines Avigation BigEye Chronograph is anything but clear. The design is based on a 1930s pilot’s chronograph that a collector presented to the Longines museum, but the company didn’t have a record of the piece in its archives. Is it a prototype? What’s the exact year? Nothing is truly clear but what makes no doubt is the beauty of the piece in question, hence why Longines was audacious enough to make a re-edition of this model.
Fast forward to baselworld 2017, when Longines clone presented its Heritage-based Avigation BigEye. Typically, a robust, military-inspired pilot’s chronograph with tri-counter layout, classic luminous Arabic numerals and, the star of the show, an oversized minute counter providing instant legibility on the indication. While this steel/black edition is still an important member of the permanent collection, it is now joined by a sportier, bolder edition.
THE SWISS REPLICA LONGINES AVIGATION BIGEYE TITANIUM
Following the presentation of this watch with the official photos, I wanted to have a look at it, in the metal. I personally have a big thing for pilot’s chronographs, and especially those from the Type XX series. So, even though the Avigation BigEye isn’t part of the watches made for the French Air Forces, it still has a lot in common with this series and has always been one of my favourite models in Longines’ collection. But how does the titanium version, with its bold and more colourful dial, lives up to the model’s pedigree.
Well, in all fairness, if you’re looking for historical relevance and faithfulness, this new version won’t be for you. Good point, the steel model is still part of the collection and will certainly fulfil your needs. Now, the titanium edition of the Swiss movement copy Longines Avigation BigEye is not meant to be a proper re-edition, but more a modern take on the concept, something fresh, more modern with a true personality. Indeed, it’s a watch with character and presence, and once you remove the vintage watch from your mind, it actually is a looker…
Apart from the change in materials and colours, the Longines Avigation BigEye Titanium retains the proportions and specifications of the original steel edition. This means a 41mm case with a typical 1930s/1940s shape, meaning the style of a Calatrava watch transferred to a more robust chronograph watch. This is particularly visible with the combination of a stepped bezel with a coin-edge profile and the lugs integrated into the middle case. I found this design very appealing and its utilitarian look greatly matches the overall pilot’s concept. The watch is certainly quite large and not particularly thin either, but it wears comfortably.