Longines New Spirit Honours The Pilots Who First Put The Brand On The Map
As its famous “winged hourglass” logo would suggest, aviation has played an important part in the history of Longines. As early as 1919, the St Imier-based company was the official supplier to the International Aeronautical Federation, allowing it to develop the highly accurate and reliable navigation equipment used by intrepid flyers to set some of the earliest distance and endurance records. It's a history Longines recognises in limited re-editions of its heritage pieces, but now the brand is launching a new collection – Spirit – inspired by, rather than purely based on, those celebrated models.
Although not named for Charles Lindbergh's “Spirit Of St Louis” – the aircraft in which he made the first solo nonstop North Atlantic crossing in 1927 – the collection does seek to celebrate the early pioneers of aviation, many of who wore or relied upon Longines timepieces. For instance, in 1932 Amelia Earhart wore a Longines Chronograph when she became the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic, a journey that lasted 14 hours and 56 minutes.
Six years later, Howard Hughes’ circumnavigation of the globe (in three days, 19 hours and 14 minutes) was timed by the company. Crew members wore Longines chronometer watches and a Longines Sidérograph – a device used to pinpoint location using the stars – was also onboard.
While featuring the latest proprietary technology, the antecedents of the collection are nevertheless clear. Drawing on several of the recognised features of a classic pilot’s watch, including oversized crown, large “baton” style hands and bold dial fonts, the new models – three hand/calendar versions in 40mm and 42mm cases (from $2,068) and a 42mm chronograph – feature self-winding COSC-certified movements delivering 64 and 60 hours respectively.
Other contemporary elements include a multilayer antireflective coating applied to both sides of the vintage-style box sapphire and a choice of matte black, grained silver and sunray blue dials, all of which feature Longines' characteristic five stars reflecting their chronometer status.
The chronograph model ($3,761) is available on a steel bracelet or fitted with a light or dark brown or blue leather strap, while the three-handed version comes in a “prestige” edition complete with bracelet, a brown leather or Nato-style strap. longines.com