Longines is a brand with not only a rich heritage, but also quite an extensive current collection. A staple since its launch in 1992 is La Grande Classique. The name couldn’t have been more suitable, as this model truly embodies the core values of a dress watch. Its design is very pure, with a clean dial, two hands, a slim bezel, and lugs that embrace the strap or bracelet from the sides. The stick hands seem to be almost painted on the dial, which in the current collection is combined with either thin Roman numerals, diamond markers, or nothing at all. As Longines also kept the writing on the dial to the bare minimum, is the La Grande Classique an exercise in purity.
While also offered in 24 and 29mm, I focus in this article on the larger 36 and 38mm models. Both are available in quite a few varieties, always in stainless steel, although some combine this with a PVD coating in red or yellow gold. In particular combined with a black leather strap, silver dial, and Roman numerals, these represent the La Grande Classique in its most classic shape. The watch looks almost completely different when you opt for a blue dial with a metal bracelet. While I don’t want to use the term sportive, as it doesn’t go that far, it becomes more of a contemporary dress watch.
The strap or bracelet debate is challenging with the La Grande Classique, as this Longines looks good with both. As we are used to from the brand, the bracelet is well constructed, comfortable to wear, and good-looking. It also does quite a bit with the perception of the watch, making it more sportive for the stainless steel models and more luxurious looking for the gold PVD-coated models. Unless a version on a strap captures your heart, I would advise buying it on a bracelet and getting a strap as well. This allows you to enjoy the La Grande Classique with a wider range of looks. As is traditional with this model, the leather straps have no stitching, as it should with a classical dress watch.
While I am normally the first to suggest the mechanical movements when they are an option, with La Grande Classique, things are slightly different. While the automatic version with display back is desirable, also because of its beautiful shape, it is also substantially thicker than its quartz-powered sibling. The automatic version of this Longines is 8.1mm thick, while the quartz is a mere 5.4mm. While this is not a world of difference, the La Grande Classique is a watch that looks more in place with a thinner case. That combined with the fact that the automatic has more writing on the dial, and that there is no seconds hand to tell the difference, might make the quartz version the better choice. However, that is a personal decision to take, as in both versions, the La Grande Classique shows an incredible timeless appeal that is already lasting over three decades in the Longines catalog, and that says something.
Prices for the Longines La Grande Classique start at $1,300 for the stainless steel model with quartz movement on a metal bracelet.
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