Fratello’s Top 5 Recent Longines Releases — Including The Spirit Zulu Time, Ultra-Chron, Pilot Majetek, And More
Another Friday, another Top 5! Last week, we discussed the best currently available integrated-bracelet sports watches without a budget limit. As many of you remarked, there were many more options outside the five watches mentioned. This week, we’ll focus on one brand specifically that is hot property at the moment. Throughout the last couple of years, Longines has shown a great focus on reclaiming the love of hardcore watch fans and wider audiences alike. We have picked five recent Longines releases that perfectly show why Longines is doing so well.
This week, we’ll focus on just Longines. The brand is much loved among watch fans for its rich history and great number of historical releases. On top of that, the brand is among the biggest Swiss watch brands in terms of numbers. Having said that, in recent times, we have seen a shift in the brand’s strategy. With a stronger focus on creating better-quality products using great movements, a respectful approach to recreating classics from its archives, and all for very decent prices, Longines has put itself in the spotlight. It’s something we talk about frequently in the Fratello offices. Pretty much every Fratello editor likes what the brand is doing and probably loves one of its recent releases. That’s why we take a look at the five that stood out for us.
Longines Spirit Zulu Time 39mm
The Longines Spirit Zulu Time GMT was a hit the moment it came out last year. The 42mm Spirit Zulu Time was praised for its handsome looks, great traveler’s GMT movement, great overall quality and finishing, and decent price. It became an instant competitor for the popular Tudor Black Bay GMT models. But if there was one thing that watch fans had issues with, it was the 42mm size. We had the watches in the office, and they were definitely easy to wear, but I agreed that a slightly smaller size would be even better. Fast-forward a little over a year, and Longines came out with the 39mm model. As it turns out, the 39mm Spirit Zulu Time hits the sweet spot for many watch fans.
The case is slightly smaller at 39mm, 13.5mm thick, and 47mm from lug to lug. It has a lug spacing of 21mm and is water resistant to 100 meters. But the characteristic looks are still perfectly proportioned. The watches come fitted with a bidirectional bezel, ceramic bezel insert, engraved 24-hour scale, and lacquered numbers. The watch utilizes the COSC-certified caliber L844.4, based on the ETA A31. The same traveler’s GMT movement powers the 42mm model and provides 72 hours of power reserve. The stainless steel model comes in at €3,400 on the stainless bracelet or €3,300 on a leather strap and is one of this year’s best releases and an easy first pick.
The brilliant Longines Ultra-Chron is the perfect example of the brand upping its game technically. Who would have thought 5–10 years ago that the brand would bring back the brilliance of a high-beat movement? I, for one, certainly didn’t. But the Ultra-Chron that came out in June of last year surprised us in a great way. The watch is based on the brand’s Ultra-Chron Diver from 1968, powered by the high-beat caliber 431. Compared to the original model, Longines increased the case size slightly from 42mm to 43mm for the new Ultra-Chron. The watch is 13.6mm thick with a decent lug-to-lug span of 48mm. It keeps the watch suitable for various wrist sizes despite its substantial diameter. Additionally, the water resistance was increased from 200 meters for the original to 300 meters for the new watch.
Inside the case, Longines uses the L836.6 movement that was developed by ETA. After the final casing, the high-beat caliber is certified as an “ultra chronometer” by TIMELAB, as Robert-Jan explained, with an accuracy of +6/-4 seconds per day and a power reserve of 52 hours. It’s a great modern engine for the retro-inspired Ultra-Chron. The watch comes with an awesome sapphire box-shaped crystal and a super comfortable straight-end bracelet to maintain the retro look. This simply is an awesome piece if you are looking for a modern version of one of Longines’s great vintage watches. At €3,900 on the bracelet or €3,600 on a leather strap, this is still an impressive timepiece a little more than a year after its release.
Longines Pilot Majetek “1935”
Longines has a rich tradition in aviation, as most of you will know. What better way to celebrate that rich aviation past than to recreate the classics from it? That’s exactly what the brand did with the Pilot Majetek “1935.” The watch was released earlier this year and was a pleasant surprise for many. As Robert-Jan explained in his review, the watch was modeled after the original watch that the Czechoslovak Air Force commissioned. The specific request was to develop a watch that featured plenty of lume for readability and a rotating bezel with a triangular marker to mark a starting time. Longines registered the new design on April 1, 1935, at the IPO office in Bern. Then the watches were handed out to Czechoslovak pilots, with the words “Majetek Vojenské Správy” (“Property of the Military Administration”) on the case back.
This explains the historical references in the name of the new model. This one has also been redesigned to bring it up to modern standards. It comes with a case that is 43mm in diameter and 13.3mm in height. It has a rotatable bezel to move the triangular marker around the dial and also adds crown guards, which the original didn’t have. The black dial features raised vintage-inspired Arabic numerals and a large Super-LumiNova-filled handset. Inside the case, you will find the chronometer-certified automatic caliber L893.6 with a 72-hour power reserve. The watch comes with either a brown leather strap, dark green leather strap, or a khaki-green NATO strap, and all four have a retail price of €4,000.
Longines Master Collection 190th Anniversary
Longines is not just known for its aviation and sporty pieces. We were reminded of that when the brand released its Master Collection 190th Anniversary a little under a year ago. The collection consisted of three of the same dress watches. Two of them were limited-edition models in rose gold and yellow gold. The third one was the unlimited stainless steel version that Robert-Jan had the chance to try out. All three models come with the same 40mm case, which measures only 9.35mm thick. The standout element is, without a doubt, the sandblasted silver dial with 12 beautifully engraved Breguet numerals accompanied by a stylish vintage Longines logo.
If you turn the watch around, you are greeted by the caliber L888.5. It’s a self-winding movement with a silicon balance spring and a 72-hour power reserve. For the occasion, the movement is finished beautifully with a perlage finishing on the main plate and Côtes de Genève on the rotor, accompanied by a beautifully engraved Longines logo. At €2,550, this anniversary model is a wonderfully stylish statement. If you like your dress watch smaller, only a couple of weeks ago, Longines added the 38.5mm Master Small Seconds to the lineup with the same dial style in salmon or grained anthracite. These two models show the brilliance of the dial design and finish once more, and we hope to have them for review soon.
Longines HydroConquest GMT
Our final pick for this list is the recently released Longines HydroConquest GMT. It’s a watch that surprised many of us and maybe even me most of all. Just when I thought I had found my favorite GMT under €5K with the 39mm Spirit Zulu Time GMT, here comes Longines with a proper and impressive-looking GMT diver. I am not the biggest fan of the regular HydroConquest line because of the large numerals on the dials. They look almost comically big, making it hard to like them. Not only does the GMT version take care of that, but Longines decided to add my favorite complication to its dive watch. And the results are fantastic.
The watch has a 41mm stainless steel case that is 12.9mm thick with a 300m water resistance rating. The modern case shape is complemented by a nicely executed H-Link bracelet with a double-safety folding clasp and micro-adjustments. This watch runs on the self-winding ETA-based Longines caliber L844.5, which has a 72-hour power reserve. You can choose from four different versions, two of which have a retro-inspired look. As Lex mentioned, the vintage vibe of the green and brown versions does contrast with the overall design and shiny presence. The black and blue versions are more in line with the overall style. But I happen to like the clash of styles quite a bit. At €3,150 on the bracelet and €3,050 on a NATO strap, these are great and tempting offers from Longines.
Final thoughts on the best recent Longines releases
There you have it — our five favorite recent Longines releases that prove the brand is building something great with its renewed strategy and focus. As is always the case with lists like these, a variety of watches could have been featured. How about the Longines Conquest 2023 Chronograph, the Spirit Flyback Chronograph, or the Spirit Titanium? These are even more proof that Longines is hot. So consider this list as the starting point for a more extensive discussion. What is your favorite currently available Longines model, and why? Let us know in the comments section below. We will see you next week for another Top 5 list.
For more information on all the watches featured here, visit the official Longines website.