Introduced in 2020, the Longines Spirit collection has been, without a doubt, the brand’s most prolific range in the past few years. Since its presentation, we’ve seen multiple editions, most of them built around the needs of pilots. Following a time-and-date, a chronograph, a no-date and recently a cool GMT Zulu time, without mentioning the different sizes, colours or materials, Longines released its flagship model, a large and high-end chronograph with column wheel and flyback, the aptly named Longines Spirit Flyback. First seen in stainless steel and reviving an important complication for the brand, this bold chronograph now comes back in titanium, which might be a good thing given its size.
Longines’ expertise in pilot’s watches is undeniable, as we’ve seen when the Spirit collection was introduced. Great explorers like Charles Lindbergh, Amelia Earhart or Howard Hughes broke records or achieved impressive flights wearing a Longines on the wrist. This glorious past is the inspiration behind the Spirit collection. With the Longines Spirit Flyback, the brand also paid tribute to one of its milestones, but this time, a technical one. The winged-hourglass brand was amongst the first, if not the first, to create a chronograph with a flyback function – examples of flyback movements at Longines can be traced back to 1925, with a patent registered on 16 June 1936, some other sources indicate 1923 with Breitling. The flyback function or retour-en-vol is highly practical for pilots, as it enables a chronograph to measure consecutive intervals of time smoothly and quickly. The flyback function allows the hand to return instantly to zero and start measuring time again with a single press of the push-button, instead of performing the classic 3-step sequence stop-reset-start.
If the Spirit Zulu Time was to be seen as the bigger brother of the classic 3-hand models, the same could be said about the Spirit Flyback next to the classic automatic chronograph. In both cases, we have sportier watches with an external rotating bezel and a more advanced movement. First presented in steel, with a 42mm case and an imposing thickness of 17mm, the Longines Spirit Flyback is the collection’s flagship. This year, and probably for the best considering its dimensions, the watch comes back in grade 5 titanium. Not only will it provide an even sportier and more instrumental look to this watch, thanks to the darker tone of titanium, but it will make it far more comfortable on the wrist, titanium being 40% lighter than steel.
Apart from this new material, this new Spirit Flyback Titanium retains all specifications of the steel models, with a combination of brushed surfaces with polished accents, a screw-in crown and a 6-screw caseback, both good for a solid 100m water resistance. The sapphire crystal is still framed by a bi-directional bezel with a ceramic insert. It comes with a 60-minute scale composed of small recessed squares and numerals/markers filled with Super-LumiNova.
In the same vein as the time-only Spirit watches in titanium, the new flyback chrono comes with a gilt dial. The base is anthracite-coloured, pairing nicely with the grey tone of titanium. All elements of the dial – hands, applied markers and numerals, rings around the sub-dials and the inner flange – are gold-coloured for a vintage, slightly luxurious feel. A generous amount of SLN also guarantees good legibility in the dark. The five applied stars are still present and indicate the precision of the movement.
Inside the case and visible under the sapphire back is still the calibre L791.4, a movement manufactured by ETA exclusively for Longines. A profoundly modified Valjoux 7753, it is equipped with a column wheel, a flyback function, a silicon balance spring (with anti-magnetic properties), a 4Hz frequency and a comfortable 68-hour power reserve. The precision of the movement is chronometer-certified by the COSC.
Available on a black-and-grey textile NATO strap or an easily interchangeable titanium bracelet with a folding clasp, the Longines Spirit Flyback Titanium will be part of the permanent collection and is now available from the brand’s boutiques and retailers. It is priced at EUR 5,400 on a NATO strap and EUR 5,750 on a titanium bracelet… quite a stretch from the brand’s usual price range, but for a watch that offers a lot in return. More details at www.longines.com.