Longines dips into their archives to revive one of their coolest creations of the ‘60s, the high-frequency Ultra-Chron Diver. The brand’s history with high-frequency movements actually goes back much further, from a 50Hz (!) stopwatch capable of measuring 1/100th of a second in 1916, to classy 5Hz wrist watches in the late 50’s. In 1968 came the Ultra-Chron Diver, complete with a high-frequency caliber 431, with guaranteed accuracy to one minute a month. Today, the Ultra-Chron returns with a 5Hz Longines caliber L836.6, a certified “ultra chronometer” movement running within.
The ultra chronometer badge comes courtesy the independent Swiss testing laboratory, Timelab, who subjects the watch head to 15 days of brutal tests at extreme temperatures to ensure it meets the criteria set forth in ISO 3159:2009 standard. These protocols go well above and beyond the usual chronometer certification, and if the watch makes it through to the other side while retaining -4/+6 seconds accuracy, Longines can call it an Ultra Chronometer. Turn the watch over and you’ll find this proudly emblazoned on the caseback.
From the outside, the Ultra-Chron follows closely in the footsteps of the original from the late ‘60s, with a slightly softened steel cushion case that now measures 43mm in diameter. The lug is integrated into the shape of the case so its footprint is relatively small, all things considered. It still wears a touch large, but it’s not unpleasant on the wrist by any stretch. The watch is 13.6mm thick, though much of that is the bezel assembly and box sapphire crystal. The actual sidewall is pretty low profile here.
The dial and bezel are the big draw here and Longines has nailed both. The bezel gets a sapphire insert that’s fully indexed in the top layer, creating a floating effect at the right angle. The minute hashes get a red infull that compliments the red minute hand within the dial. The dial itself gets a subtle matte texture with a rough, sand like appearance. The cardinal hour markers get an applied baton, while the rest frame negative space to create a stylish visual in the absence of any numerals. The bottom of the dial is signed with an applied high-frequency logo and the Ultra-Chron label.
The Ultra-Chron is a welcome surprise from Lognines, and one that should have enthusiasts typing a bit more attention to the brand if they haven’t been already. But if the Spirit releases aren’t quite your jam, you’ll likely find a lot to love with this one. The Ultra-Chron is available in box set form with an extra strap and strap change tool now, while the non-box edition watches will be available later this year. Prices for the box edition start at $3,500 on a leather strap, and go up to $3,700 on a steel bracelet. Those prices will go to $3,200 and $3,450 sans the box. Longines.