When it comes to trumpeting an illustrious past, few watch companies can match up to Longines. The brand from Saint-Imier has an unparalleled legacy with making mechanical timepieces and its Heritage line is a testament to this glorious past. Now the brand presents a new line of Pilot’s watches that bring together its aviation heritage and modern watchmaking technology. Meet the new Longines Spirit collection.
Longines has had associations with aviation pioneers like Charles Lindbergh, Amelia Earhart, and Howard Hughes. The company also made plenty of aviation and Pilot’s watches in the 1930s and 1940s. The point being that Longines can claim genuine legitimacy and while it has issued aviation-themed vintage-inspired watches in its Heritage collection, it has not had a Pilot’s Watch as a regular watch family up until now.
The new Spirit collection has three watches – two are three hand automatics with a date complication in two case sizes and the third is a chronograph with a traditional column wheel movement. There are traits common to the entire collection – an oversized crown, stepped dial, diamond shaped indexes, five applique stars (to signify the chronometer-grade movements that use silicon hairsprings), large luminous baton hands, and applied luminescent numerals.
The entry-level watch in the line (Ref. L3.810.4.53.0) has a 40 mm wide stainless steel case with a mix of brushed and polished surfaces. It is fitted with a domed sapphire crystal glass with anti-reflective coating on both sides, a screwed in crown, and a closed caseback. The case is water-resistant to 100 meters. The matt black dial has applied Arabic numerals filled with SuperLuminova and tiny diamond shaped hour indices. The dial has a stepped flange that houses a one fifth of a second graduated scale. A discrete date window appears at 3 o’ clock and the red-tipped central seconds hand adds a pop of color to the dial. The hours and minutes are indicated by silvered-sandblasted hands filled with Super-Luminova.
As mentioned earlier, all the movements used in the Spirit line are COSC-certified chronometers. Caliber L888.4, a self-winding movement based on the ETA A31.L11 movement, powers this watch. It is now fitted with a silicon hairspring that oscillates at 25,200 vph (3.5 Hz) and has a power reserve of 64 hours. Finally, it is paired with brown leather strap. The watch is available with a lovely grained silver dial (Ref. L3.810.4.73.2) paired with a brown leather strap or a blue sunray dial (Ref. L3.810.4.93.3) presented with a blue leather strap. Options are also available with a steel bracelet.
An upsized version of this watch is also available in a 42 mm size. Though mostly identical, you can tell the difference in size by the fact that the 42’s dial has a date window that sits awkwardly next to the Arabic 3 numeral.
The chronograph version is also in 42 mm and has the same design codes as the rest of the family. In addition to the two mushroom-shaped pushers to operate the chronograph, the case has a screwed-in date corrector at 10 o’ clock. The tri-compax layout sees a 30 minutes counter at 3 o’ clock, a 12-hour counter at 6 and a running seconds hand at 9. A date window is again awkwardly placed at 4.30.
Caliber L688.4, a souped-up version of the ETA A08.L01, runs this watch. The movement has a traditional column wheel chronograph construction and is fitted with a silicon hairspring. It has a power reserve of 60 hours and an escapement that oscillates at 4 Hz (28,800 vph).
While the 40 mm automatic date version is priced at CHF2,000 (Approx. AED7,650) while the 42 mm version is at CHF2,100 (Approx. AED8,000) while the chronograph sells for CHF2,900 (AED11,111). In addition, Longines also has a Prestige Edition of the 42 mm three-hander presented with interchangeable straps – leather, NATO, and a steel bracelet.