Last year, in order to celebrate its 190th anniversary, Longines surprised us with a rather stunning trio of watches. On paper, it was nothing more than a new set of dials applied to one of its most mundane, underrated watches, the time-only Master – not a bad watch, but one with a rather generic design. But a dial can drastically change a watch. And with various textures and handsome engraved Breguet-style numerals, the trio released by Longines did make an impact. The same concept is now back in a more compact small seconds version, and one comes with a salmon-coloured dial. And you know us at MONOCHROME. We love salmon dials.
With close to two centuries of continuous activity, Longines has an incredible patrimony and has proved to be extremely good at reviving models of the past, within its Heritage collection. However, the trio of watches that has been released last year – one still in production, the other two sold-out limited editions – was not part of this vintage-inspired collection. It was rejuvenating a classic of the brand, the Master – a collection launched in 2005 and focussed on elegant, timeless designs and ‘small’ complications. However, the Master Collection 190th Anniversary added some punch and desirability, thanks to cleverly designed dials.
First released with a time-only display, with all three hands positioned centrally, inside a 41mm case, the dials made an impression with their finely grained or brushed textures contrasting with engraved numerals. Playing with the light and having depth, they’ve been very positively received. Aware of the success of these 3 watches, Longines comes back this year with new Master models. Using the same technique for the dial, we’re now looking at more compact models with new colours and a different display. And they all create a watch that is, in my books, even more appealing than last year’s releases.
The new Longines Master Small Seconds is now housed in a mid-size case of 38.5mm in diameter. Made entirely of polished steel, the case is not the highlight and remains voluntarily discreet and classic. With its 10.2mm profile, it is thin enough to be worn with a suit and the 30m water-resistance might be on the lower side, but it’s not a watch meant to be used underwater anyway. Sapphire crystals are found on both sides and the watch is worn on a 20mm alligator strap.
As with last year’s larger version, the pièce de resistance here is the dial. It retains the same play of textures and depths, with a vertically brushed base and engraved Breguet-style numerals. The latter are filled in black and paired with matching leaf-shaped hands. New to this smaller edition, the bottom half is home to a small seconds with a nice, vintage-looking railroad minute track. And of course, there is the addition of an attractive salmon colour. Note that the watch is also presented in an anthracite edition, with a grained dial and numerals/hands in gold colour.
Powering this new Longines Master Small Seconds is the calibre L893.5, based on the ETA A31.501, a movement exclusive to the brand. Despite being an industrial movement, it benefits from several interesting upgrades compared to a stock ETA calibre. For example, the power reserve is now a comfortable 72-hour, while the regulating organ features an antimagnetic silicon hairspring. The view through the sapphire back reveals a classic ETA look.
Now available from the brand’s website, this new Longines Master Small Seconds 38.5mm With Salmon Engraved Dial is priced at EUR 2,600 and demonstrate once again great value for the money and attention to detail. To know more, please consult longines.com.