2021 was yet another complicated year for watchmaking, and not all brands were as active or creative as they might have hoped. Many of the established watchmakers have been playing it safe, adopting conservative policies or simply postponing major launches for better days. Yet others have shown impressive reactivity and presented solid collections in 2021, and Longines certainly is one of them. Today, in a recap article, we’ll take a closer look at the most attractive watches that have been launched by the winged hourglass (a.k.a Longines) in 2021. And yes, we have a soft spot for its heritage collection. Guilty as charged!
The Longines Avigation BigEye Titanium
This model isn’t per se a new watch, but more a new version of an existing model launched about four years ago. First presented in stainless steel with a classic black dial mimicking an elusive historic model, the Avigation BigEye returned this year in a new version with new materials and colours. And while it may sound like a light update at first, the result is pretty different from the original model. Now made of titanium, resulting in great comfort and an even more instrumental look, the Avigation BigEye Titanium comes with a gradient blue dial with a strong grainy surface, vintage-coloured luminous elements and contrasting black sub-dials. There’s not much historical faithfulness anymore, but yes, the result is highly attractive and original. Inside, it is powered by the excellent proprietary automatic, column-wheel calibre L688, but now equipped with a silicon balance-spring for enhanced resistance to magnetic fields. And the price, considering what you get in return, is more than fair… But that’s what you’d expect from Longines.
Quick facts: 41mm x 14.5mm – grade 5 titanium case, brushed and polished – 30m water-resistant – petrol blue gradient dial, grained texture – calibre L688, base ETA A08.L01 – automatic column-wheel chronograph, 4Hz, 54h power reserve – brown smooth calf leather strap – ref. L2.8184.108.40.206 – EUR 3,230
The Longines Silver Arrow
2021 was not the first time we’ve seen a reproduction of the emblematic Silver Arrow watch; this already occurred in 2009. However, this year’s vision of the re-edition is far more legit and ticks many boxes. A watch born in 1955, the Silver Arrow was a rather futuristic watch back in the days with a bold mix of striking elements and an overall elegance. For 2021, Longines has decided to bring back this glorious model with its usual commitment to faithfulness adapted to modern tastes. The design is dominated by a sharp and pointy case, combined with a dial that is packed with details – look at those striated applied markers… The result is a neo-retro chic watch of 38.5mm, with charm and contemporary specifications, including the brand’s proprietary calibre L888.5 with an extended power reserve and antimagnetic properties. The best of both worlds and an undeniable air of elegance.
Quick facts: 38.5mm x 10mm – stainless steel case, polished – 30m water-resistant – domed silver dial with opaline finish, striated applied markers – calibre L888.5 (base ETA A31.L11) – automatic, 3.5Hz, 72h power reserve – brown matte calfskin leather strap – reference L2.8220.127.116.11 – EUR 1,950
The Longines Heritage Classic Black Sector
Already when it was released with a silvery-white dial a couple of years ago, the Heritage Classic Sector dial made quite an impression on the MONO’ team. The combination of a classic look, typical 1940s vibe and modern specifications with a great price sealed the deal. But Longines decided to strike even harder this year by releasing a black dial version on a beads-of-rice steel bracelet. And if the recipe is approximately the same, the result is simply stunning. The look, a rather surprising combination of vintage elements and a dash of modernism due to the graphic dial, is highly attractive. So is the Calatrava-shaped brushed case with its restrained proportions. The black dial adds more presence to this watch, and the BoR bracelet with straight end-links adds the final touch. Inside is the automatic calibre L893 with an extended power reserve and a silicon hairspring. A great 1940s-inspired watch with the reassurance of modern watchmaking and a very reasonable price.
Quick facts: 38.5mm x 11.5mm – stainless steel case, stepped bezel, brushed with polished accents – 30m water-resistant – two-tone sector dial in black and charcoal grey, polished silvered hands – calibre L893 (base ETA A31.501) – automatic, 3.5Hz, 72h power reserve – beads-of-rice stainless steel bracelet or cognac-coloured leather strap – reference L2.818.104.22.168 on leather strap and L2.822.214.171.124 on steel BoR bracelet – from EUR 1,920
The Longines Spirit Titanium
The Longines Spirit, a brand new collection inspired by pilot’s watches of the past without being part of the Heritage collection, was certainly a great addition to the lin-up. And although there were many positive elements on display, it never felt entirely right for us here, at MONOCHROME. The look was a bit too cold, the weight a bit too heavy, and the date window a bit off. But the editions launched this year have solved everything, and we’re now looking at the best of the Longines Spirit watches in the new titanium versions. Crafted from grade 5 titanium, it is light and nicely finished with a darker colour that adds an instrumental look, yet with refined details such as the large polished bevels. The dial now reveals a cool anthracite colour with a sandblasted surface along with gold-plated hands and numerals, adding the necessary touch of warmth. Finally, the date has been removed, making the dial even more balanced. All of that comes with a modern, antimagnetic, powerful COSC-certified movement and a refined execution. And it’s available either in 40mm or 42mm and with a titanium bracelet or a nylon strap, depending on your preferences.
Quick facts: 40mm or 42mm – grade 5 titanium case, brushed with polished accents – 100m water-resistant – anthracite sandblasted dial with applied Arabic numerals and hands plated in 1N gold – calibre L888.4 (base ETA A31.L11), proprietary, chronometer-certified by COSC – automatic, 3.5hz, 72h power reserve – titanium bracelet or anthracite woven nylon strap – reference L3.810.1.53.2/6 or L3.8126.96.36.199/6 – from EUR 2,550