Longines combines the original aesthetics of its most remarkable historic models with the most modern watchmaking techniques. Heritage pieces are a tribute to the innovative spirit that has driven Longines’ watchmakers from the outset, when the brand accompanied many pioneers in their adventures in the air, on land and underwater.
Longines is on fire with its Heritage collection… No doubt about that. After the delightful Classic Sector Dial, the Military 1938, the Heritage Military and many, many more watches paying tribute to the brand’s past, today there is a new collection that will make quite an entrance. Inspired by the 1940s, with two-tone sector dials (hence the ‘Tuxedo’ name), great proportions, powerful movements and, let’s be honest, a very attractive look, here’s the new Longines Heritage Classic Tuxedo Collection, with small seconds and chronograph watches.
Founded in 1832, Longines is one of the oldest brands of the Swiss watch industry still in activity. As such, you can imagine that its heritage collection is wide and constitutes an immense source of inspiration for today’s designers – we can’t really blame them since the market wants vintage-inspired watches and Longines is certainly very good at it.
Following many successful models that paid homage to past models, such as early diving instruments or military pieces, the brand now looks at another angle with civilian watches from the 1940s; the so-called ‘Tuxedo’ watches due to their combination of white and black colours. In 2020, the brand resurrects two models, illustrated above, a small seconds watch from 1945 – with some military design clues (hands and case, for instance) – as well as a chronograph from 1943 – with a classic two-tone layout, Art Deco Arabic numerals and a sectorized layout.
These two watches are now reissued with a faithful and very attractive design, modernized dimensions (but not too much), powerful modern automatic movements and multiple details that will certainly appeal to vintage lovers. This new collection for 2020 is named ‘Longines Heritage Classic Tuxedo’ and comprises two models that we’ll look at more closely below – both similar and different at the same time.
The Longines Heritage Classic Tuxedo Small Seconds
The first model in this line is a classic, elegant, old-school watch with small seconds and a bit of ‘Calatrava’ inspiration mixed with hints of a military past – something easy to understand as the original model was produced when Europe was still at war. The case of the Longines Heritage Classic Tuxedo Small Seconds retains the shape of the original model, with elongated lugs, a flat ‘coin-style’ bezel, fully polished surfaces, lug holes and, for the sake of modernity, a diameter of 38.50mm – which, by today’s standards, remains on the smaller side
The dial of this new model is a nod to the original version and plays well with the ‘Tuxedo’ name. It features a silver opaline central sector, with a matte surface, a recessed and snailed small seconds and, two important details, there is neither a date window nor an anachronic mention of an automatic movement on the dial. The outer sector is executed in matte black and features painted Arabic numerals (with a hint of art-deco), which are luminous. The hands are classic batons and filled with Super-LumiNova – slightly cream tinted, but not overly done. The dial is very elegant in layout and colours.
Powering this Longines Heritage Classic Tuxedo Small Seconds is a modern proprietary automatic movement, Calibre L893, an evolution of the classic ETA architecture. This revised version features an anti-magnetic silicon hairspring and an improved kinetic chain to increase the power reserve – the frequency has been reduced at 25,200vph and the power reserve is now 64 hours. The movement is hidden under a closed steel caseback.
The second watch in this Longines Heritage Classic Tuxedo is a handsome chronograph with all the codes of the 1940s: bi-compax layout; coin-style case; rectangular pushers; two-tone sector dial; and multiple tracks on the dial to make it both elegant and functional. The case of the Tuxedo Chronograph measures 40mm in diameter, again on the smaller side for a modern watch, and is topped by a box-shaped sapphire crystal. Its finishing is slightly different from the 3-hand model, as the bezel is brushed and overall, the shape is a bit more angular – faithful to the historical model above.
Once again, the dial of the Longines Heritage Classic Tuxedo Chronograph is a nod to the past with a silver opaline central sector and recessed sub-counters (also opaline). The hour chapter ring is executed in black with thin Art Deco-style Arabic numerals and the dial is framed by a tachymeter scale. Compared to the small seconds version, the hands are different on this model. First, the hours and minutes are indicated by rhodium-plated leaf hands. Second, all the chronograph indications are displayed thanks to elegant blued hands. Finally, the dial of this version doesn’t feature luminous elements. Again, no date or ‘automatic’ printing on the dial.
Under the closed steel caseback is a well-known movement, the Calibre L895 – based on the brand’s calibre L888 (ETA A31) with an ETA-produced chronograph module. This automatic chronograph movement with modular architecture was specifically developed for Longines’ Heritage collection and its bi-compax layout. The updates concern the hairspring, now in silicon, and a comfortable power reserve of 54 hours.