Understanding and Appreciating the Longines Avigation Watch Type A-7 1935

Longines Avigation Watch Type A-7 1935 single push-piece chronograph in a 41mm stainless steel case. The dial is angled as it was in the past as this allowed better time-reading legibility for aviators. Photo: © TANG Portfolio / TimeWerke. Elfa / Timmy

During the 1930s, “avigation” watches were better known as the Type A-7 – a classification system for Air Force chronograph wristwatches.

“Avigation” is a term derived from the words “Aviation” and “Navigation” and such watches were used back then by American Air Force navigators for astronomic navigation or “course determination through the stars”.

The Longines Type A-7 US Army Avigation Hack Watch made during that era was known as a “hack watch” because it features a mechanism for synchronising the seconds.

The Longines Type A-7 US Army Avigation Hack Watch is a single-pusher chronograph watch and features what is known as the désaxé or “unbalanced” dial because it is tilted or angled to allow better time-reading legibility for pilots.

What is noteworthy for collectors is that one Longines Type A-7 US Army Avigation Hack Watch went under the hammer for CHF22,500 at an Antiquorum auction held in 2011, more than three times its highest estimated value.

The good news for collectors is that Longines introduced a re-edition of this military watch in 2016 – the Longines Avigation Watch Type A-7 1935.

Like its “ancestor”, the contemporary Longines Avigation Watch Type A-7 1935 features an angled dial, the logic being that it allowed pilots (of the past) “to read the indices without having to release the plane’s control yoke”.

The dial is actually angled at 40 degrees to the right and has 12 honey-coloured Arabic numerals.

Case back of the Longines Avigation Watch Type A-7 1935. It is water-resistant to 30m and is powered by the Calibre L788.2 (ETA A08.L11) automatic movement. Photo: © TANG Portfolio / TimeWerke. Elfa / Timmy

 

 

 

 

The Calibre L788.2 automatic movement powers the Avigation Watch Type A-7 1935. It is a column wheel chronograph movement with a single-pusher for activating, stopping and resetting the chronograph function. The single-button chronograph pusher is integrated with the crown.

The Calibre L788 column wheel chronograph movement was first launched in 2012. It is based on the first movement used in a wristwatch by Longines in 1913 – the Calibre 13.33Z.

The skeleton hands of the Avigation Watch Type A-7 1935 are pear-shaped and in blued steel.

Thankfully, the good folks at Longines have offered the Avigation Watch Type A-7 1935 in a 41mm diameter case which we feel is more “wrist-friendly” rather than going for a large 50mm diameter case similar to the original from the 1930s.

Another article on the Longines Aviation Watch Type A-7 1935 on timewerke.com that may be of interest is:
i. The Longines Aviation Watch Type A-7 1935 explained