The Longines Master Collection 190th Anniversary TrilogyBy Suan Futt Yeo
Longines has much to celebrate, not merely for the distinction of being among the oldest watch companies in continuous operation, but also for the most impressive trail of innovations that it has blazed through its 190-year history. From pioneering mechanized watch production for volume and quality consistency in 1867, Longines went on to produce the world’s first dual time zone pocket watch in 1908, followed by the first dual time zone wristwatch in 1925. It has also proven to be relentless in pushing the envelope on timekeeping precision, creating the world’s first high-frequency wrist chronometer in 1959 that clocked 36,000 beats an hour (5Hz), and winning the top two prizes for accuracy at the Neuchâtel Observatory in 1961. And Longines’s track record in sports timekeeping can only be characterized as stellar: it created the world’s first high-frequency stopwatch with a 5Hz movement that allowed it to take readings to an accuracy of a tenth of a second; this was followed just two years later in 1916 with a stopwatch that ran at 360,000 beats an hour (50Hz), giving it accuracy to a hundredth of a second. Today, the company’s timekeeping systems which Longines has been improving on since debuting its electromechanical system in 1912, boasts accuracy to a millionth of a second.
To celebrate such rich watchmaking heritage, Longines has released a trio of special-edition dress watches from its Master Collection: the Longines Master Collection 190th Anniversary, in 40mm steel, yellow gold and rose gold. The steel version bears the values and aspirations of the storied brand at a very attractive price, handsomely proportioned at just 9.35mm thick, with blued hands set against a sandblasted silver dial, with engraved Arabic numerals for the hours. Both gold versions are numbered, limited editions of 190 pieces each, the yellow gold version sporting a vertical-brushed gray dial and the rose gold version in grained anthracite dial that adds a touch more contrast to the warmth of the rose gold case, engraving and hands. By paring down markings and features to the bare minimum — there is no date window to disturb the continuity of the dial; the hours are neither appliques nor printed but engraved onto the solid dial, with only “Automatic” and “Swiss Made” beyond the brand signature to inform the wearer of the strictly essential — all attention is turned to the fit and finish of the watches, lending them an appropriately quiet elegance in expressing the spirit of the brand.
Turning the watch over reveals a display caseback and anniversary engravings, and the self-winding cal. L888.5 that embodies Longines’s technical prowess: it features a silicon hairspring that is resistant to corrosion, performs consistently through temperature variations and is unaffected by magnetic fields, improving the reliability and precision of the watches so that Longines is able to offer a five-year warranty for them. A 72-hour power reserve also ensures they can be set aside for the weekend without having to be wound for the following workweek. All three watches are paired with alligator leather straps, with the gold models featuring matching gold buckles; the 21mm lug width should not be cause for concern as straps of this breadth are no longer hard to find.
The 190th Anniversary Master Collection offers an elegant and succinct embodiment of the company’s many milestones and innovations with which Longines has enriched the story of watchmaking, while standing out from the mainstream of dress-watch aesthetics.
Reference: L2.722.214.171.124 / L2.7126.96.36.199 / L2.7188.8.131.52
Movement: Self-winding caliber L888; 72-hour power reserve
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds
Case: 40mm; steel, 18K yellow gold or 18K rose gold; water-resistant to 30m
Strap: Anthracite alligator leather
Price: USD 2,400 (steel); USD 12,000 (gold)
Availability: Gold versions in limited and numbered edition of 190 pieces each