Longines is celebrating their 190th anniversary this year, an impressive feat even in this industry, and with it they are launching a trio of watches within their Master Collection. The new collection gets a pair of limited edition variants with precious metal cases, and a series production reference in steel. While the colorways vary, each receives a stunning dial with engraved Arabic numerals that will have you reaching for the nearest loupe with every wrist check. Longines has excelled in the formal watch department in recent years (decades? centuries?), and these latest examples are certainly no exception, punching way above their weight.
Engraved numerals are a rare sight on watches, even more so in this price range. We’ve admired similar dials from the likes of Naoya Hida, and Longines has created something every bit as elegant with these three creations. The dials are grained anthracite (red gold), brushed gray (yellow gold) or sandblasted silver (steel), and each get deeply engraved numerals at each hour marker. The execution is beautiful and rather dramatic in the metal, heightened by the relative simplicity of the rest of the watch.
The 40mm case measures a mere 9.35mm in thickness, and Longines have opted for a 21mm lug span for a slightly wider appearance on the wrist. Overall the watch wears beautifully, though I’d be curious to see a curved strap end fitted to the care between the lug to elevate the look a touch further. Additionally, this feels like manually winding movement territory, but Longines has gone with the (in-group) automatic L888 caliber with 72 hours of reserve.
As good as the case is, the real star of the show here is that dial. Depending on the metal, each dial gets a light texture, from a graining on the red gold to a vertical brush on the yellow gold example. The steel case gets a sand blasted dial. The rehaut is set with milled holes to mark the minutes and hours, tracked by a set of blue, gilt, or pink leaf hands.
Pricing for the Longines Master Collection 190th Anniversary watches starts at $2,400 for the steel case, and jumps to $12,000 for the precious metal references, each limited to 190 numbered examples. Longines.
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