In addition to the new collection, Longines is releasing a quartet of limited-edition anniversary models, all reminiscent of earlier timepieces from Longines’s history and all limited to 180 pieces.
The Longines Column-Wheel Single Push-Piece Chronograph 180th Anniversary Limited Edition is modeled after the first chronographs produced by Longines starting in 1878, particularly the brand’s first wristwatch chronograph from 1913, powered by Caliber 13.33Z. The new watch contains Caliber L788, a column-wheel chronograph movement developed exclusively for Longines that has a single push-piece integrated into the crown for the stop, start and reset functions. The white dial features a bright red numeral “12,” a design element reminiscent of the so-called “Agassiz dial” (named for Auguste Agassiz, who founded Agassiz & Co., the forerunner of Longines) of the original version. The moving lugs, common on many vintage Longines wristwatches, also echo the 1913 timepiece. The case is rose gold.
Longines also offers two anniversary models for ladies, both of which contain quartz movements — not an inappropriate choice, since, as von Känel points out, “We offer both mechanical and quartz watches and we mean to continue with quartz.” One is the Agassiz 180th Anniversary Limited Edition, a contemporary version of a watch launched in 1982. It has an extra-thin rose-gold case (25.5 mm in diameter) set with 180 diamonds. The dial is mother-of-pearl, with 12 diamond hour markers, and the strap is black alligator leather.
The other feminine model is La Grande Classique de Longines 180th Anniversary Limited Edition, which has an extra-thin, 29-mm steel case set with 180 diamonds and mounted on a stainless-steel bracelet. Like the Agassiz model, it has a white mother-of-pearl dial with 12 diamonds as hour markers.
The anniversary piece with the most obviously vintage look is the Longines Lépine 180th Anniversary Limited Edition, a pocketwatch with a a manual-wind mechanical movement, Caliber L878. Inspired by early pocketwatches produced by Agassiz, its yellow-gold case has a guilloché-decorated back cover which opens to reveal an engraved caseback also in gold. The white, lacquered dial features black painted Roman numerals and blued steel hands.
Von Känel, who describes his brand’s price range as basically between $1,000 and $5,000 U.S., says that the Saint-Imier line will be the priciest in Longines’s portfolio, starting at around $2,000. The 180th Anniversary models will, of course, be priced at or above the high end of that range, some exceeding $10,000. However, he believes that Saint-Imier is a natural extension of the brand rather than a harbinger of big changes in either price segment or focus. “We are talking about evolution here,” he says. “Not revolution.”
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