For a collector of vintage military watches, it is always a challenge to find a particular model in good condition. This comes somewhat with the territory, as these watches were of course created to accompany our armed forces in the most dangerous situations. That does not mean that there are not any spectacular vintage military watches out there, such as this Longines Type A-7 Avigation Watch.
This particular watch was sold on September 14th, 1935 to the US Army Air Corps. This was the name of the US Air Force from 1926 until 1941. In these days the navigation instruments inside an airplane were not as sophisticated as they are today, and the watch was an important piece of equipment to any pilot. The entire design of the watch was therefore also catered to his needs. With a diameter of 51 mm it was meant to be worn around the leg, so it could easily be seen at all times. The dial of the Type A-7 was also twisted to make this even easier.
“Avigation Watch” may sound a bit strange, but this comes from combining the two words “Aerial Navigation” into a single term. The manual wind caliber 18.72 features a single button chronograph complication. This helped the pilot even further with navigating his aircraft, while it also simplified the operation of the watch during flight. The crown and the chronograph button are, just like the rest of the watch, rather large, allowing the pilot to use it while wearing his gloves, as planes were not heated back then as they are today. Apart from the engravings, it is the chrome plated case that designates this Type A-7 as made in particular for the armed forces. Longines also made it for the civilian market for a short period of time, but those watches feature a stainless steel case.
Although the exact history of this particular Type A-7 is unknown, it is in an exceptionally good condition, not only taken into account the age of the watch but also for what it was made. For Longines is it part of their aviation heritage, right with the legendary Longines Lindbergh and the famous Weems watches.