New Pilot’s Watches — The Longines Spirit Collection A tribute to legendary aviators and explorers by Robert-Jan Broer June 08, 2020 MIN READNew Pilot’s Watches — The Longines Spirit Collection
Just a few days before traveling became impossible, we saw the new Longines Spirit collection. Under embargo, of course. So we are happy that it’s now finally time to show you the pictures we took during that appointment.
To me, it seems that Longines is taking a new direction with the Spirit collection. Although we’ve seen — and still see — some heritage-inspired watches from Saint-Imier, this Longines Spirit collection is different. It combines heritage and modern watchmaking, with a very attractive price tag.
Longines Spirit Collection
Every new watch needs a story. For this collection, Longines has dived into its archives and come up with tales of more than 20 pioneers as well as some extraordinary events in which Longines played an important role. Among these pioneers we find Amelia Earhart, for example. The pioneer who flew solo non-stop across the Atlantic, in 14 hours and 56 minutes. Earhart had a chronograph from 1913. It was a 35mm wide Longines powered by caliber 13.33Z. This Longines chronograph was given to her by Harry Gordon Selfridge Jr, owner of the famous London department store.
4/8/1931 – Amelia Earhart in the cockpit of her autogiro
Defined by pioneering spirit
It’s stories like the above that have been collected by Longines. The brand has collated them in a book titled, Longines, defined by pioneering spirit that will be available soon. It contains the stories of Amelia Earhart and many more pioneers, using a Longines watch or board instrument, as is the case for pilots Maurice Bellonte and Dieudonné Costes. They used a Longines cockpit clock indicating sidereal time when they flew from Paris to New York in 1930.
But it is not all about pioneers before WWII. Downhill skier Steve McKinney’s record of 200km/h was clocked with Longines equipment, also. Or what about Albert Einstein? He was another famous Longines wearer. And let’s not forget the brand’s timekeeping duties when it comes to the 24 Hours of Le Mans and Formula 1 competitions. These stories and events, and the beautiful way in which they’ve been captured in this new book, make it a must-have for every watch enthusiast.
Longines Spirit three-hander
There are a number of references available in this new collection. There are both three-handers and chronographs on offer. Let’s have a look at the three-handers first. They are available in 40mm and 42mm. Both sizes come with the same movement, caliber L888.4. This ETA-based movement is equipped with a silicon balance spring and chronometer certification. The power reserve is a healthy 64 hours. Available with three different dials, customers can choose between matt black, grained silver, and Sunday blue.
Longines Spirit Chronograph
The chronograph is only available in 42mm, but with the same three dial variations as the three-hander. Inside this watch ticks caliber L688.4, an ETA-based chronograph movement. It has a column-wheel chronograph mechanism and a power reserve of 60 hours. Of course, it also comes with chronometer certification and a silicon balance spring.
You probably noticed the applied five stars on the dial of the Longines Spirit watches. In the history of Longines, the five stars indicate the high quality and reliability of its movements. Although Longines does not develop its own movements anymore, the L688.4 and L888.4 are reliable and accurate nevertheless. In fact, it sets them apart from the competition in their price range.
Straps and bracelets
The Longines Spirit watches are available with a leather strap, stainless steel bracelet, and a leather NATO. The bracelet has a folding clasp with a release button and feels very solid. However, I am not a fan of the bracelets and prefer the leather strap. The watch looks more elegant that way. Besides the standard options, Longines also offers a “Prestige Edition” for the three-hander. This includes all three band options, which are easily exchanged for one another.
The extra button
The Longines Spirit chronograph does remind me a bit of the IWC Flieger Chronograph. That’s not a bad thing, to be honest. It seems to me that this Longines with its chronometer column-wheel chronograph movement is (even) a bit more bang for the buck than the Valjoux 7750 based IWC Pilot’s watches. One part of the resemblance with the ICW Doppelchrono comes from the button on at 10 o’clock. In the case of the Longines Spirit Chronograph, it is not for the split function but to advance the date. It is a screw-down button, to ensure water resistance.
Prices and Availability
And this brings me to the pricing of the Longines Spirit collection. When it comes to the Longines Spirit Chronograph, I can be brief. The retail price is €2,950 (in The Netherlands), regardless if you choose for a strap or stainless steel bracelet. The three-hander version has several prices, due to the different sizes and the “Prestige Edition”. The 40mm three-hander is €2,040 and the 42mm version is €2,140. The “Prestige Edition” will add €610 to those prices.
One advantage of the “Prestige Edition” is that the straps included in it, feature Longines’s “interchangeable system” for easy shifting between bands. My favorite version is the chronograph with grained silver dial, on a leather strap. I requested one for a hands-on review and will keep you posted when it arrives! Regarding its availability, we expect this watch to hit the markets in September at the latest. More information via Longines online.
Brand Longines ModelSpirit CollectionReferenceThree-hander: L3.810.4/L3.811.4 Chronograph: L3.820.4DialMatt black, grained silver, sunray blue. All dials have applied Arabic numerals and Super-LumiNova.Case MaterialStainless steelCase DimensionsThree-hander: 40mm and 42mm Chronograph: 42mm.CrystalSapphireMovementThree-hander: L888.4, self-winding (ETA A31.L11), 21 jewels, 25200vphm, power reserve: 64 hours, silicon balance spring, chronometer Chronograph: L688.4, self-winding (ETA A08.L01), column-wheel, 27 jewels, 28800vph, power reserve: 60 hours, silicon balance spring, chronometerWater Resistance100 meters / 10 barsStrapLeather strap, leather NATO strap, stainless steel bracelet (all optional or complete as "Prestige Edition").FunctionsTime, Date, (Chronograph)PriceThree-hander: Starting at €2040 (40mm) and €2140 (42mm). The "Prestige Edition" adds €610. Chronograph: €2950. All prices include VAT. Watch of the Week
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About the author
Ever since he was a young child, Robert-Jan was drawn to watches, even though it were digital Casio and quartz Swatch models at the time. In the mid-1990s, his interest increased when he started to read about mechanical watches in… read more
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