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Baselworld 2017: Longines embraces its past and turns toward the future

Anna Wu-Chauvineau
Le 31 March 2017
R

Re-editions that remain more or less true to the original are going strong at this year’s Baselworld 2017 and Longines, the watchmaker of Saint-Imier, won’t be the exception. While case sizes have decreased for more elegance and dials have been decluttered to obtain a warm authentic purity, exuding a certain je ne sais quoi of the past, the spirit of the new timepieces are decisively turned toward the future.

Longines Flagship Heritage 60eme Anniversaire - Baselworld 2017

Longines reveals no less than two new movements this year, a new Quartz movement and a new self-winding mechanical caliber that are just as honorable as many other brands lingering around much higher price points. Admire the strength of the Swatch Group is all its glory…off the record of course. 

First we have an automatic caliber L888.4 that has been added to a spiral in single-crystal sillicon with anti-magnetic attributes, an 80-hour power reserve, and a chronometer certification by COSC. Not exactly your basic caliber.

Secondly, there is an excellent quartz movement with a precision margin of +- 5 seconds a year, and a power reserve of 5 years (without ever having to change the battery). Thanks to a new IC chip, the movement is able to block itself when entering a magnetic field in order to maintain its precision, and also resynchronise itself once a day to uphold the highest level of precision possible. Moreover, the watch has been equipped with an intelligent crown that allows fast adjustment of hours. What’s more convenient than that when a change in time zones is needed?

We’ve spent enough time with the movement, let’s focus in on the new watches shall we?

Baselworld 2017: New Longines Heritage 1945

Longines Heritage 1945 - Baselworld 2017

You have before your eyes a unique piece of history. We don’t know much about the original model of this re-edition, only that it was purchased in New York by our peer Ben Clymer, founder of the American site Hodinkee. While during a visit of the manufacture in Saint-Imier, the famous watch was around Ben’s wrist and caught the eye of…well, everyone. Everyone including the Director of Development at Longines, who fell in love with the piece. The Longines Museum didn’t have the model referenced, so it was really thanks to a happy coincidence that the new Longines Heritage 1945 was launched.

Two years later, we have the final results. Sporting a much larger, albeit reasonable, case size at 40mm instead of the original 36mm, the piece has the same features we appreciate on the original model: bleu Feuille hands, a small second at 6 o’clock, and the best part, a vertically-brushed copper-colored dial with warm tones. Arabic numerals and silver decorative heads alternate, enhancing the beautifully domed dial.

Baselworld 2017: New Longines Master Collection – L2.257.47.13

Longines Master Collection - L2.257.47.13 -Baselworld 2017

Another little newbie has come abord the Master Collection. A variation composed of a sleek grey dial and an extremely retro almost military-style green leather strap. A combination of colours that work so well together that it would be a shame not to share some photos with you…

Baselworld 2017: New Longines Flagship Heritage 60th Anniversary

Longines Flagship Heritage 60eme Anniversaire - Baselworld 2017

Blasting from the past for the brand’s 60th Anniversary is the new pre-Basel timepiece. Gentlemen, may I present to you the Longines Flagship Heritage. Refined and elegant, this numbered model is available in steel, rose gold, and yellow gold, and houses the mechanical caliber L609 in a perfect case of 38.5mm. Released in a limited edition of 1957 pieces, the dial displays eight markers and four Arabic numerals. Like with the original models, the case back of the commemorative watches has been stamped with a caravel sailing vessel, a.k.a. a flagship.

A very nice vintage-inspired piece in the shape of a 38.5mm body of modern proportions but “under control” for a 3-hand watch. The Dauphine hands and the small second at 6 o’clock with the inscription “automatique” glowing under the sub-counter creates great purity and clarity to the ensemble, and even a slight resemblance to the “Explo” for gentlemen adventurers that needless to say, we really dig.

If Longines continues on the path, soon we’ll be commenting on certified chronograph movements with an 80-hour power reserve at less than 2,000 EUR… And if the cases resemble that of the historique pieces, giving in to temptation won’t be difficult at all.