To commemorate the 50th anniversary of a historic race at the Kentucky Derby, Longines, the official timekeeper for the prestigious American horse race, has designed a limited edition wristwatch. The watch merges sportiness and elegance by using the slim Master Collection Chronograph as the base, and adding new design elements in a stylish combination of gold and blue.
Back in 1973, the legendary racehorse Secretariat, also known as “Big Red,” set a new record for the fastest time in the history of the Kentucky Derby, a record that remains unbroken to this day. With a total of 16 victories in its short 16-month career, Secretariat achieved celebrity status and is widely considered the greatest horse of the second half of the 20th century.
Longines’ latest offering commemorates Secretariat’s record-breaking race at the Kentucky Derby with a two-tone blend of gold and blue on the dial, which are the colors of the race’s logo. What’s noteworthy is that the incorporation of these new colors is subtle, resulting in a watch that stands out from the regular production versions without appearing ostentatious.
The blue is used sparingly, only on the minute track, which creates a sector-dial effect and visually shrinks the size of the watch, giving it a more tactile appearance. The gold is even more understated, found only on the logo and the polished ring for the sunken registers. These small design changes are crucial in transforming the look of the watch, resulting in a livelier piece than the regular production models.
Inside the “Kentucky Derby” is the L889 automatic movement, likely based on the ETA 2892, and topped with a chronograph module. This combination results in a slim watch that stands just 11.7mm tall, which is quite thin for a chronograph wristwatch and creates an elegant aspect ratio against the 40mm case. Like many modern Longines movements, the L889 features an upgraded power reserve of 59 hours, distinguishing it from competitors that use basic ETA cloned movements which typically offer a running time of around 40 hours.
The “Kentucky Derby” is an appealing variation of an already elegant chronograph wristwatch, featuring new colors such as dark blue and gold that give it a more striking appearance than the single-color regular production model. This is a good option for enthusiasts who already find the base model appealing but want something with a bit more flair. The limited edition of the “Kentucky Derby” is priced sensibly and accessibly, with just a 10% premium over the regular production models. However, access to the watch is limited as it is exclusively available at Davis Jewelers, naturally located in Kentucky.
Longines Master Collection Chronograph “Kentucky Derby”
Movement: L889; automatic; 59 hours power reserve
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, chronograph, and date
Case: 40 x 11.7 mm; steel; water resistant to 30 m
Strap: Leather strap
Availability: 50 pieces; exclusively at Davis Jewelers in Kentucky
Price: USD 3,400