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Paying homage to the past

Longines' Heritage watches are a celebration of old time-keeping traditions.
04/12/2020 - 05:50


Inspired by a rare 1957 timepiece prized by collectors, this watch with a black dial and emblematic design of the 1950s is a tribute to Longines' Flagship line of dress watches from that period. Vintage watch fans would love the new all-black variant, which complements the 60th anniversary Flagship model launched in 2017. It bears the same design but has a silver dial. The latest version runs on the automatic L615 movement, a ETA 2895-2 spinoff, housed in a stainless steel case. Apart from the black lacquered domed dial, with pink-gold accents for the markers, hands and Longines logo, the new Flagship Heritage forgoes the traditional subdial in favour of an open sector style design that's broken up by the model name. Unlike before, it includes a date function under the small seconds at 6 o'clock. Besides a wider 38.5mm watch case, the back is engraved with the emblem of the Heritage Flagship collection - a golden caravel (old merchant ship) in blue enamel.

Price: S$2,400


This pilot chronograph watch, instantly recognisable by its tilted dial and shifted monopusher, first appeared in the 1930s. The earlier models had a huge and awkward 49mm steel case but Longines downsized it to a more comfortable 41mm in 2016. That was the year it revived the white dial model with a reinterpretation of the 51mm Type A-7 chronograph the US Air Force ordered in 1935. Now the Avigation is back in its classic black version. Except for the colour of the dial, the numeral size and shape of the hands, it's a copy of the 2016 model - right down to the case size. Of course, the odd-angle dial remains, with the display rotated by 40 degrees, for this is still useful to pilots who can check the time without taking their hands off the stick. There's also the fluted crown at 12 o'clock which facilitates the handling of the watch in the air - even when wearing gloves. The watch is powered by a column-wheel chronograph movement (L788.2) developed exclusively for Longines.

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Price: S$5,170


Other than the size of the steel case and the colours of the date-free dial and steel hands, this is how the orginal Reference 5774 watch Longines made for the French Navy in 1947 would look. Even the brand name and the words 'Swiss made' in French, Fab Suisse (Fab for Fabrique), are there at the same spot. The changes attempt to reimagine the original model more than 70 years after. The result is a larger, but still undersized, 38.5mm case, 5.5mm wider than the vintage case. The dial's colour is altered from weak brown to cream, and the hands switched from light green to deep blue. But there's no loss of respect for the strong original design, evident in the retention of the counterweight second hands. Before dive watches, this is what the French Navy used for water duties - and Ref 5774 offered a water-resistant design with strong legibility. The new Heritage Military Marine Nationale, powered by an automatic movement, is water-resistant up to 30 metres.

Price: S$3,020


The Tuxedo comes in two versions: a 3-hand time-only model and a chronograph. Both are inspired by two historic timepieces. Like the originals, they reflect the typical aesthetics of the regained freedom of the late 1940s, after World War II. Collectors nicknamed them 'Tuxedo' because the black and white contrast on their dials recalls the dress code of elegant evenings of the era. Although equipped with self-winding movements, Longines took care not to put the word 'Automatic' on the dials to stay faithful to the original. For the same reason, there is no date window. The 38.5 mm 3-hand steel model, with a small off-centre seconds counter, has a movement with a silicon balance spring - a guarantee of quality and precision.

Price: S$4,530 for the chronograph and S$3,020 for the 3-hand watch