Many historically minded watch mavens know that Longines timed Charles Lindbergh’s record-setting transatlantic flight in 1927 (and worked with him on the Hour Angle watch afterward). But did you know that Amelia Earhart and Howard Hughes also wore Longines watches on their own historic flights? Or that polar explorer Paul-Émile Victor wore one when he crossed the Greenland ice cap in 1936? Channeling the adventurous “spirit” of these pioneers, and the Saint-Imier watchmaker’s history of supplying robust, reliable timekeepers for their exploits, is the primary mission of the new Longines Spirit collection.
Described as drawing “traditional features from pilot’s watches and combin[ing] them with contemporary lines and codes,” the Spirit collection debuts in four references, three time-only/date models and one three-register chronograph. All of the watches include an oversized fluted crown, a pronounced, stepped bezel and minute-scale flange, large Arabic hour numerals and diamond-shaped indices, and big, luminous baton hands — all elements drawn from early 20th-century pilots watches by Longines and other contemporary manufacturers.
The three-hand/date models of the Longines Spirit are offered in both 40-mm and 42-mm stainless steel cases with an array of satin-brushed and polished finishing. Dial options are matte black and grained silver. The dials, protected under a domed sapphire crystal with multilayered nonreflective coating, feature a date at 3 o’clock, the Longines “winged hourglass” logo at 12 o’clock, and five applied stars above 6 o’clock, a traditional symbol of Longines representing, the brand says, the highest achievements of quality and reliability by its movement. These three-hand/date models are mounted on either a dark brown or light brown leather strap, or a satin-and-polished steel bracelet.
The Spirit Chronograph is thus far available in only one execution, in a 42-mm satin-brushed and polished steel case with a sunray blue dial poised under its domed sapphire crystal. On this model — whose tricompax dial has a 30-minute counter at 3 o’clock, 12-hour counter at 6 o’clock, and running seconds at 9 o’clock — the date window shifts to 4:30 and the five-star symbol moves up above the center, directly under the Longines logo at 12 o’clock. The blue leather strap, with vintage pilot-style contrast stitching, complements the dial.
Both versions of the Spirit contain mechanical, self-winding calibers made exclusively for Longines by the Swiss movement specialist ETA. The time-and-date Spirit models contain the L888.4 caliber, based on the ETA A31.L11), with a substantial 64-hour power reserve. Powering the chronograph is the L688.4 (on an ETA A08.L01 base), with a column-wheel architecture and a 60-hour power reserve. Both movements boast a COSC chronometer certification and an antimagnetic silicon balance spring. Both tick quietly and efficiently behind solid, specially engraved casebacks secured by six screws, ensuring a water resistance of 100 meters.
Pricing for the Longines Spirit Collection ranges from 2,000 CHF for the 40-mm three-hand models, to 2,100 CHF for the 42-mm versions, to 2,900 CHF for the 42-mm chronograph edition. Additionally, Longines is offering a “Prestige Edition” of the time-only model in each size, which includes three interchangeable bracelets (steel, leather, and NATO-style leather): these are priced at 2,600 CHF for the 40-mm version and 2,700 CHF for the 42-mm. The Collection is available at retail as of June 2020.