What We Know
Longines turns the big one-nine-zero this year. Yup, the Saint-Imier-based company is 190 years young in 2022, and it shows no sign of slowing down. First came the Spirit Zulu Time GMT in March of this year, outfitted with a local jumping-hour hand and an impressive sub-$3,000 price tag. A few months later, Longines dropped the high-beat Ultra-Chron Diver, inaugurating a new internal chronometer standard in the process. And last week, Longines released its most clear-cut anniversary release yet, with the new Master Collection 190th Anniversary models.
The Longines Master Collection 190th Anniversary series consists of a trio of three-handed dress watches within the company’s Master collection, all riffing on the same overall design in three different case metals: stainless steel, 18k yellow gold, and 18k rose gold. That overarching design is a strong one, utilizing a traditional formal vibe with the addition of Breguet-style numerals that are machine-engraved into the no-date dial with a matte finish and the vintage Longines logo, the blue-hued handset, and the slim, smoothly rounded and polished case that measures 40mm by 9.35mm.
The beefed-up ETA movement inside is a proprietary self-winding design for Longines that gains the benefit of a silicon balance spring and 72-hour power reserve, impressive additions at Longines’ typical mid-tier price point.
And what, pray tell, is the exact price of the new Longines Master Collection 190th Anniversary? Well, the stainless-steel release lands at exactly $2,400, while the yellow and rose gold models will cause quite a bit more damage to your wallet, at $12,000. Longines is only making 190 examples each of the yellow and rose gold examples, while the stainless-steel model is entering serial production.
What We Think
Longines might quietly be having the best year of any Swiss watchmaker. That sounds like an exaggeration, but it’s hard to think of another company that’s done as much. Longines has released a crowd-pleasing hit (the Zulu Time GMT), established a new chronometer grade with the Ultra-Chronometer Certificate, and has now dropped one of the best-looking dress watches of the year. The company has done all that while remaining in its commercial sweet spot, the under-$4,000 bracket.
And the Master Collection 190th Anniversary is one of the best-looking dress watches of the year. The use of engraved Breguet numerals calls to mind recent watch releases like the Naoya Hida NH Type 1B, but I also recall seeing a Longines with a similar style of etching (on a different set of Arabic numerals) used on a 1930 pocket watch that sold a few years ago in the HODINKEE Shop. Whatever your point of reference, it’s a classic look that emphasizes texture while remaining entirely legible.
Would I prefer if the Master Collection 190th Anniversary models were placed in a smaller 36mm or 38mm case size? You betcha. But it’s otherwise hard to fault the new releases. The watch is on the larger side, but I hesitate to describe it as missing the mark, as the thin, sub-10mm profile will ensure it fits most modern-day wrists.
One-hundred-and-ninety-years might seem like a somewhat odd anniversary to celebrate, but if the result is as attractive and affordable as the new steel addition to the Master Collection, I’m already looking forward to what Longines’ 191st birthday brings to the table.
Model: Master Collection 190th Anniversary
Reference Number: L2.7184.108.40.206, steel; rose gold, L2.7220.127.116.11; yellow gold, L2.718.104.22.168
Case Material: Stainless steel; 18k rose gold; 18k yellow gold
Dial Color: Steel, sandblasted silver dial; yellow gold, brushed grey dial; rose gold, frosted black dial
Indexes: Machine-engraved Breguet numerals
Water Resistance: 30 meters
Strap/Bracelet: Anthracite alligator leather strap
Caliber: L888.5 (ETA A31.L11 base)
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds
Power Reserve: 72 hours
Frequency: 25,200 vph
Chronometer Certified: N/A
Additional Details: Silicon balance spring
Pricing & Availability
Price: Steel, $2,400; rose and yellow gold, $12,000
Limited Edition: Steel, unlimited; rose and yellow gold, 190 pieces each
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The HODINKEE Shop is an authorized retailer of Longines watches; to view our collection, click here.
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