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Fly Boy Friday: Longines Lindbergh Hour Angle

by Jonathan Fairfield
10 May, 2013
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Jonathan lives and works in Thailand as a writer and English Teacher. He is fanatical about football which makes it all the more strange that he should support Stockport County. In addition to watches, Jonathan has a passion for fitness and nutrition and writes for a blog on the subject.

Fly Boy Friday Pilot's watches

 

Fly Boy Friday is a weekly series taking a look at some of the finest Pilot watches around. This week we take a look at the Charles Lindbergh and the Longines Heritage collection.

Whilst brands such as IWC, Breitling, Zenith and Bell & Ross might spring to mind today, back in the pioneering days of early aviation, it was Longines that was at the forefront of aeronautical watchmaking.

Longines association with aviation continued long into the Golden Age of flying when planes and air travel became an everyday topic of conversation. This was primarily due to Charles Lindbergh, who is of course famous for being the first pilot to fly a nonstop solo transatlantic flight from New York to Paris in 1927 and who worked with Longines to help produce some of the world’s first pilot watches.

Lindbergh’s remarkable achievement is even more impressive when you consider that it was without the use of GPS, Radar or any other electronic devices; things like autopilot were nothing more than fantasy. Imagine flying all that way, without any real tools to help you keep your bearings.

At the time, Lindbergh was one of the world’s most famous and high profile people, so the association between him and Longines helped to elevate the watch brand into a household name.

Upon returning from his groundbreaking flight, Lindbergh set about creating a navigational watch that would be able to calculate longitude whilst taking into account variations in time around the world.

The solution – the Hour Angle watch which was built by Longines in 1931 to the exact specifications as detailed by Charles Lindbergh.

The first Longines Hour Angle watch

The first Hour Angle watch measuring 47.50mm included a rotating bezel and central disc and also used dial markings, which at the time, were pretty unique as it enabled pilots to instantly work out their location from reading in line with the earth’s 360 degree rotation.

The watch also included a handwound pocket movement and extra long strap which meant that it could be worn over the sleeve of a thick flying jacket. It’s extra large onion crown also meant that it was easy to adjust even when wearing flying gloves.

Longines Heritage Lindbergh Hour Angle Watch L2.678.4.11.0

Throughout the past couple of years Longines has been releasing a new series of Heritage watches which pay homage to the original Hour Angle watch designed by Charles Lindbergh. There are a couple of different variations but the one pictured here is ref no L2.678.4.11.0 which features a self winding mechanical calibre L699 movement, with 24 jewels and 42 hour power reserve, beating at 28,800vph.

The watch displays hours, minutes and seconds as well as all the functions of the original Hour Angle watch. The case measures 47.5mm, as did its predecessor, and is made of stainless steel with a rotating bezel. The watch also includes a transparent sapphire caseback.

The white lacquered polish dial with blue Breguet hands is crisp and clear and protected by an anti-reflective sapphire crystal. The L2.678.4.11.2 is presented on a genuine leather strap but also comes with an additional extra long strap so that it can be worn with when wearing a flying jacket. Retail price $4,725.

Longines Weems Second Setting Watch

The Lindbergh Hour Angle is undoubtedly the most famous timepiece in the Heritage collection but the rest of the series is also well worth taking a look at, with the Weems Second Setting (ref L2.713.4.13.0) being a case in point.

Released as a tribute to Captain Philip van Horn Weems, the original Weems Second Setting was a huge source of inspiration for Charles Lindbergh when creating the Hour Angle.

The new watch, pictured above, includes a stainless steel 47.5mm case with a scratch resistant sapphire, complete with several treatments of an anti reflective coating. It is driven by the same L699 movement in the Heritage Lindbergh Hour Angle above.

The Weems Second Setting  displays hours, minutes and seconds as well as an internal rotating dial that can be used to sync the second hand with a radio time signal. The watch also includes an internal rotating bezel that can be adjusted as per variations in the equation of time. From $4,200.

Longines Heritage Twenty Four Hours Watch

The Longines Twenty Four Hours watch is an updated version of a watch from the 1950’s that was designed especially for Swissair pilots. The watch is driven by a self winding L704 mechanical movement that beats at 28,800 vibrations per hour with a power reserve of 46 hours.

The black dial uses a 24hr scale to display hours, minutes and seconds, with a date window found at 3 o’clock. All hour markers numerals and hands have been treated with a Super Luminova coating. $3,100.

Longines Avigation Type A-7 Watch

The somewhat unconventional Type A-7 watch from Longines features an angled dial design, large case and, like the other pieces in the Heritage collection, is based on the aviator watches from the early part of the 20th century.

Angled at 50 degrees, the dial ensures that it can quickly and easily be read by the pilots of the day, who would normally wear such a watch on the inside of their wrists. The stainless steel case measures 49mm in diameter and is one of the largest of Longines Heritage watches.

The Longines Avigation Type A-7 is powered by a calibre L788 column wheel movement, which was specially developed by ETA, and which offers a power reserve of 54 hours. $4,900.

You can find out more about the Longines Heritage Collection by clicking here.

 

 

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Jonathan Fairfield | Website

Jonathan lives and works in Thailand as a writer and English Teacher. He is fanatical about football which makes it all the more strange that he should support Stockport County. In addition to watches, Jonathan has a passion for fitness and nutrition and writes for a blog on the subject.

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