I remember when being a kid, our neighbor showed me his new timepiece. A Seiko with a moon phase. I was very intrigued by it, not even knowing it was ‘just’ a quartz watch and that a mechanical moon phase watch would be much more complicated. It must have been mid-1980s somewhere, so what did I know?
In any case, a moon phase disc on the dial of a watch is ever since something magical to me. It became even more magical when I learned about mechanical timepieces in the mid/late 1990s. It is one of the complications on a watch, not being a very useful one, that I really love.
It is a real challenge though, to find a mechanical timepiece with a moon phase complication that comes at an affordable price. Just recently, our editor Blaise showed you a few affordable vintage watches with a moon phase complication. However, most of these vintage models have a relative small diameter and of course, vintage is not (suitable) for everyone.
So I went out and started looking for an affordable modern watch with a Moon phase complication. Enter Longines. I found this beautiful classic designed Moon phase watch in their Master Collection by the reference of L2.6126.96.36.199. So I decided to request this watch from Longines for a review and to wear it for a few weeks.
To be totally honest with you, because we get to see a lot of watches, not every watch we get to see does excite us personally. When I unpacked the box and took this Longines Master Collection Moon Phase out, I was immediately enthusiastic about it. Not only because it is a watch that I would classify as an affordable mechanical time piece, but also because of the look & feel of the watch. The brown alligator strap, the classic high polished round case and the beautiful silver dial with so-called “barleycorn” pattern and blued hands are just a perfect fit.
But I was perhaps also a little too excited because there is a Moon disc on the dial. So I decided to remove all plastic protectors and wear the watch for a while to see if I would still be as enthusiastic after a few weeks of ‘ownership’ as I was during that very first impression.
Longines combines two of my favorite complications, a chronograph and a Moon phase. The two pump pushers are easy to operate (not too heavy and certainly not too light) and the crown is easy to grasp. Correcting the Moon phase needs to be done by pulling the crown in 2nd position and turn it clock wise. The date and month are also corrected in this position, by turning the crown counter clockwise. Adjusting the day of the week needs to be done by the small corrector located on the left side of the case. Longines delivers a little tool with this watch to operate the corrector.
Correcting the watch so everything is aligned (day, date, month, moon phase) needs to be done with a bit of care. So take your time and use the instructions in the manual that comes with the watch.
On the dial, you will also find a 24 hour indicator which is being used as a day/night indicator basically, not as an extra time zone as some might think. The dial has the typical Valjoux 7751 lay-out which indeed leave a bit of room for the Longines logo at 3 o’clock.
The alligator strap has a nice polished folding clasp, with the Longines logo engraved. It is very easy to adjust the folding clasp so it will fit your wrist. Personally, I rather have a normal buckle but that’s my own personal preference and has absolutely nothing to do with the quality and easy-to-use folding clasp from Longines.
When you turn the watch over, you will be able to have a glance at the Longines caliber L678 movement. This movement is based on the famous (ETA) Valjoux 7751 movement and has a long track record so there is little to comment on it. It ticks at 28,800bph and has a 48 hours power reserve, which is more than enough considering that it is an automatic winding movement.
There is a little bit too much text engraved in the case back for my taste, but the nicely decorated L678 movement grabs your attention anyway. The movement has some high polished parts as well as nice traditional decoration such as perlage and the rotor is finished with beautiful waves and gold engraving of the Longines brand name.
So, how did it wear? Well, the watch is actually an easy wearer. With a 40mm diameter, round case and slim classic looking lugs, it is a very comfortable watch on the wrist. It is not a bulky sports watch but certainly also not a watch that will wear like a small vintage timepiece or as ‘your grandfather’s’ watch.
This watch goes very well with a suit or a long sleeve shirt. I wore this watch in September, which was still a month here in The Netherlands that allowed me to wear a short sleeve polo shirt. So I can say that it didn’t bother me to wear this watch with a more casual outfit. But in the end, I rather prefer a more sporty watch with short sleeves somehow. But to each his own of course.
The appearance of the watch in general is great. I have to say that I was still as enthusiastic about this Moon phase watch at the end of the review period as I was when I received the watch. The dial shows a lot of information which you need to be able to process quickly and correctly. This is no problem because of the well-known lay-out and use of high contrast hands and dial.
Using Arabic numerals on the dial gives the watch a modern appeal. If Longines would be using Roman numerals, it probably would become a bit too classic. All the hour markers, brand name and other text on the dial is printed, not applied. The Moon phase and stars are in gold on a blue disc, which gives a nice contrast but does match perfectly again with all the hands.
The alligator strap was soft and very pleasant on the wrist. Looking at the price of the watch, see below, it could be a strap that you’ll normally find on more expensive timepieces. A very good choice of Longines to use a very decent strap on this Master Collection piece. Some brands make very interesting and nice (affordable) watches and very often, I am being put down by the cheap strap they’ve put it on.
Last but certainly not least, the price is a very interesting aspect of this Longines Master Collection Moon phase watch. With a list price of € 2470 Euro you will get a lot of watch for this money. Longines is not only a brand with over 180 years of history and significance, it is also known to deliver good quality timepieces. Please note that a watch with a lot of complications, like this Longines Master Collection, also need to be serviced every once in a while. Servicing a watch with all these complications takes more time and effort than servicing a time-only watch of course. Some manufacturers charge as much as around € 1000 Euro for a time-only watch.
Using ‘proven technology’ such as the ETA/Valjoux 7751 then becomes a very strong point actually. Longines or one of its service centers will be able to service this movement at relatively low cost. Please also take these things into account when you are buying a watch. Get yourself informed about the servicing costs when purchasing a watch and how long it will actually take them to perform this service. I noticed some people are still a bit in shock to learn that servicing their mechanical watch is more expensive then servicing their car.
More information about this Longines can be found on their official website.
Ever since he was a young child, Robert-Jan was drawn to watches, even though it were digital Casio and quartz Swatch models at the time. In the mid-1990s, his interest increased when he started to read about mechanical watches in... read more