The first thing that comes to mind when I think of Longines is horse racing. Although this is probably owing to televised events bearing the sponsor’s winged hourglass logo, racing is part of the Longines timekeeping DNA. This dates back to 1878, and the production of its simple 20H calibre chronograph movement.
Longines is now the timekeeper for many prestigious races, including the Royal Ascot, the Melbourne Cup Carnival, the Kentucky Derby and the Dubai World Cup, and one of the oldest advertisements from the company’s archives indicates that this involvement dates back to 1881. Precise timing was the name of the brand’s game, and current associations with many other sports also go back to the early 1900s. Longines has been a longtime partner and official timekeeper of the French Open, and of alpine skiing competitions organised by the International Ski Federation since 1933.
One of the landmark time recordings done by Longines was of the first-ever non-stop transatlantic flight in 1927 by Charles Lindbergh on board the Spirit of St Louis. Although the original recording was done with the Weems model, Lindberg personally drew additional features, which were added in 1931 and released as the Lindbergh Hour Angle Watch. Its 90th anniversary is celebrated this year with a limited edition, updated replica with PVD bezel as part of the Heritage collection.
Of this year’s releases, it is the simple time-only collections that are the most desirable. Longines is one of the oldest manufacturers in the world, and it makes sense to highlight its provenance on its 185th anniversary, while also taking full advance of the vintage revival.
The modernised Longines Heritage 1945 revisits the period styling codes of the original in a slightly larger 40mm steel case on a beige, nubuck leather strap, and will complement the outfit of any dapper urbanite. Its beige, coppery toned curved dial is framed by a wide, flat bezel and features gorgeous, thin, blue hands. This elegant piece is bound to do well when it hits stores, not only for its vintage looks, but also for its accessible price tag of about $1 700. It was originally issued with a manual winding calibre, but the current edition is powered by an automatic self-winding calibre L609.3 movement. Longines is clearly starting to capitalise on what it does best.
Because high-precision timekeeping is in its bloodline, the most significant release at Baselworld 2017 was the Longines Record collection. Much like the 1945, these steel timepieces have a classic calatrava shape, available in four sizes and a variety of dials, intended for both men and women. The featured example on a steel bracelet has a white matte dial with Roman numerals and intense blued steel hands. The most important aspect, however, is that this is Longines’ first collection that is entirely Cosc-certified (Swiss Official Chronometer Testing Institute), which means the watches can carry the “chronometer” label, a sign of their incredible accuracy. To achieve increased accuracy and longevity, the company decided to add single-crystal silicon balance spirals to its two best movements. The 38.5mm and 40mm versions are powered by the mechanical self-winding caliber L888.4, manufactured exclusively for Longines, and feature a transparent case back. Also available on an alligator strap. Price: from $ 2000.
Swatch Group +27 11 911 1200; longines.com