Earlier this week we told you about some new Legend Divers from Longines, one of which features a deep blue dial. That’s not the only vintage inspired sports watch to get a new, blue update from the brand, as the Avigation BigEye has been refreshed with what Longines is calling a “Petrol blue” variant. This is more than a new colorway however, as this version is in titanium, which shifts the tone of the BigEye fairly dramatically from vintage tribute to bonafide tool watch. Or does it? Let’s take a look at how the new Avigation release stacks up.
If you’re not familiar with the original Avigation BigEye, your best bet is to check out Zach W’s full review from 2018. But the gist of this watch is that it’s based on a historic military reference and its most prominent design feature is an asymmetric dial with an oversized minutes totalizer at 3:00. The large “Big Eye” subdial certainly lends the watch a purpose driven feel, and at 41mm and about $2600, the original stainless steel version offers a nice balance of value and vintage inspired weirdness. The new watch is something else entirely, with a colorful panda style dial featuring a deep blue with a gradient effect and complementary black chronograph registers.
The new watch is functionally identical to the original, with the same L688 column wheel chronograph movement and 41mm case size. A titanium case of the same size, however, should offer a very different wearing experience. In the photos provided by Longines the case certainly seems to have taken on a more industrial quality than this watch’s steel predecessor, which is to be expected with titanium. While the materials used here are utilitarian, Longines has applied ample amounts of radium colored lume to the dial on the Arabic numerals and hands, which is likely to be a somewhat controversial decision. The original steel version did not include this vintage styled lume, and still managed to evoke watches from the past quite clearly. The decision to use a modern material combined with some pretty affected vintage accents feels like a miss, but it’s possible that the tone of the lume’s color is more subdued in person.
The other key differentiator between the original steel BigEye and the new titanium version is, unsurprisingly, the price. This blue version will set you back $3,225, which is a sizable premium over the steel version, and is nearly in another pricing category altogether than some of our favorite recent releases in Longines’s Heritage line. That’s a lot to pay for a lighter overall wearing experience, and you’ve also got to be OK with Longines’s very specific design choices on the dial. That seems like a tough needle to thread, and we can’t help but wonder what a simple dial update on the steel watch would look like.
The new Avigation BigEye is available now through the Longines website. More information can be found here.