Longines lifts off with a new pilot watch collection
Longines’ Spirit range of pilot watches appeared in 2010 as a limited edition run. The concept of ‘Spirit’, Longines said, was to pay tribute to ‘the pioneering spirit that led exceptional men and women to surpass themselves, pursue new ambitions and believe in the impossible’. Specifically, it had in mind early explorers and aviation greats like Amelia Earhart, Paul Emile-Victor and Howard Hughes. It’s the sort of derring-do watch brands love to associate themselves with. On this score Longines had more qualification than most, seeing as the above were all customers – as were Hans von Schiller, captain of the ‘Graf Zeppelin’, and Charles Lindberg. (The latter worked with Longines on a navigational watch known as the Longines Lindberg, an early example of a branded collab, and a publicity winner when it came out in 1931.)
Now Longines has bought the Spirit range back to life. The collection is made up of two three hand/calendar models (in 40mm and 42mm) and a chronograph. They feature a matt black, grained silver or ‘sunray’ blue dial and are available on a steel bracelet, or a dark brown, light brown or blue leather strap. While there’s no mistaking the pilot watch stylings, some of the more overt design flourishes – the outsized numerals, for example – have been reigned in from previous iterations, dialling down the self-consciously retro appearance and making this collection feel more contemporary.
Longines was the first Swiss company to assemble its watches under one roof – now an industry badge of honour. It is known both for its super-precise quartz movements (deviating by just five seconds a year) as well as being great value for money, two qualifications that don’t always go hand in hand.
The handsome new collection is impressive stuff and a happy reminder of the days when the men and women took to the skies in search of the unknown. Or, indeed, the days when you could take to the skies at all.