Mid-Century Charm: Longines Heritage Classic TuxedoBy Stephanie Ip
The Longines Heritage collection is one of our favourite collections to write about and well within reason. With a historical archive that dates back to 1832, the Heritage Collection has so much to draw from: pocket watches, military watches, tool watches for pilots and divers — beautiful classics that carry an echo of decades past.
For 2020, Longines adds two new Heritage models to the family: the Longines Heritage Classic Chronograph Tuxedo and the Longines Heritage Classic Tuxedo. Tuxedo was a nickname coined by collectors due to the contrast of the black and white on their dials. The three-hand model dates back to 1945 while the chronograph dates back to 1943.
Longines Heritage Classic Tuxedo
Simple three-hand watches like these were a popular design in the 1940s and this one was special because it came with a matte black hour tracks with raised luminous Arabic numerals and a small seconds counter at 6 o’clock with snailing detail. The black and white gives the watch an almost Art Deco vibe and a dressy feel — with a nickname like Tuxedo, you might even be convinced that the watch was made for jazz club and party-goers. But noting the year — 1945 — and the legible dial layout and application of lume, the original watch was probably meant for the field.
The 2020 version pays pretty faithful homage to the original, but is now 38.5mm in diameter and fitted with the Calibre L893 automatic movement, Longines’ take on the ETA A31.501. The movement beats at 25,200 mph and is equipped with a silicon balance spring. Keeping to the ’40s aesthetic, Longines intentionally left out the “Automatic” label it typically includes on its self-winding timepieces, and kept the crown on the larger side in tribute to its historical watches that were hand-wound and featured larger crowns for winding. For its modern iterations in the Heritage line though, Longines has equipped its watches with a self-winding movement for convenience sake. On the closed case back, the old-school Longines logo with the winged hourglass can be found. The drilled lugs are also a period detail that doesn’t go unnoticed.
Self-winding calibre L893, hours, minutes, small seconds, power reserve of 64 hours
Silver opaline and black dial with rhodium-plated luminous hands and numerals
38.5mm, stainless steel, water resistant to 30 metres
Longines Heritage Classic Chronograph Tuxedo
While Longines has yet to revive the hugely desired 13ZN chronograph (we tried to ask Vice-President Charles Villoz but he very cleverly evaded our questions), this has not stopped the brand from coming up with vintage-inspired chronographs that continue to make us dream. One day.
The new Heritage Classic Chronograph Tuxedo takes design cues from a 1943 chronograph, a bi-compax chronograph with the same matte black hour track with Art Deco-like numerals, an opaline dial and blued tachymeter scale and chronograph hands. At 40mm in diameter, the watch is also equipped with large crown and pushers as befitting a watch from this period. Inside, the movement is sadly not the hand-wound 13ZN but the Calibre L895. The ETA-based self-winding movement is still a robust one, beating at 28,800 vph and a power reserve of 54 hours.
Both additions are beautifully executed and at their price points, they really are a steal. We might all have opinions on how Longines could do even better — give people what they want, like a manual-wind version — but we cannot deny, when it comes to vintage-inspired pieces, Longines really knows their stuff.
Self-winding calibre L895, hours, minutes, small seconds (at 3 o’clock), central chronograph and 30-minute counter at 9 o’clock, power reserve of 54 hours
Silver opaline and black dial with tachymeter scale
40mm, stainless steel, water resistant to 30 metres