Longines Unveils One Of This Year’s Hottest Releases With The New 39mm Spirit Zulu Time GMTs
One of last year’s most praised releases was the Longines Spirit Zulu Time. This series of charming GMTs got critical acclaim for combining great looks with a COSC-certified flyer GMT movement at a competitive price. It was a great addition to the Spirit line-up that celebrates the rich aviation history that Longines has. If there was one remark to be made about the watch, it was that its 42mm size might not fit everyone. Longines has taken that criticism to heart and now introduces four 39mm models. With these new Spirit Zulu Time models, Longines might just have added one of this year’s best releases to its line-up.
Ever since Longines introduced the Spirit collection in 2020, we have seen a great string of releases for the collection. The Spirit collection celebrates the rich part that Longines has in aviation. As Nacho explained in last year’s review of the 42mm Spirit Zulu Time watches, Longines watches played a key role in the safety and navigation of the early aviators. Record-setting globetrotters like Amy Johnson, Clyde Pangborn, and Hugh Herndon, all relied on their Longines timepieces for their incredible achievements. These pioneers of the sky are celebrated in spirit with Longines’ great collection of the same name.
The Longines Spirit Zulu Time
But Longines does so in fitting modern fashion. We all know that a large part of today’s watches take inspiration from the past. But Longines does a lot more with its Spirit collection than just bringing back the classics of the past. The brand combines the design inspiration from its past models with a modern-day execution in terms of materials and movements. Additionally, the stories of these aviation pioneers create the right historical context to bring to life a collection that has gained the brand a lot of positive reactions.
The great thing about the collection is that it has an instantly recognizable design signature. Within that signature, Longines has found a way for the introduction of a variety of different models. From a time-only model to a time-and-date model, to the recently introduced flyback chronograph, to the mentioned GMT models introduced last year, they all have that typical Spirit collection character. Additionally, the brand has introduced titanium versions of the time-only and chronograph models for some proper modern-day flair. The great thing is, however, the hue of titanium works great with retro-inspired designs. It gives the watches an even bigger charm that works very well.
The Spirit Zulu Time GMTs
With the Spirit Zulu Time models, Longines pays tribute to a Longines dual-time watch from 1925. The Zulu Time name for these new models was inspired by the Zulu flag featured on the dial of the 1925 watch. As most of you will know, “Zulu” is the term used for the letter “z” in the NATO phonetic alphabet. It, in turn, designates universal time. It’s a designation used by pilots and members of the armed forces alike. As such, the Spirit Zulu Time watches honor the Zulu name and are the perfect watches for people that regularly jump from timezone to timezone.
With the 42mm version of the Spirit Zulu Time, Longines managed to impress many fans. But as said, its size was the main point of critique that watch enthusiasts could find. So could the new 39mm versions be the answer to make this series a true hit? Let’s look at some specs. The new models feature a 39mm case that is 13.5mm thick, has a lug-to-lug of 47mm, a lug spacing of 21mm, and is water resistant up to 100 meters. The case design is in line with its bigger brother, so it keeps the characteristic looks but is now fitted for smaller wrists as well. The bidirectional bezel of all four models is fitted with a ceramic bezel insert with an engraved 24-hour scale and lacquered numbers.
A gold and steel model with great appeal
Regarding the different variations, Longines introduces three new models in stainless steel and one in a combination of stainless steel and 18k yellow gold. Let’s start with the latter. The new two-tone model comes with a stainless steel case, with a 200-micron 18-karat yellow gold capped bezel with a chocolate brown bezel insert, and an 18-karat yellow gold capped crown. Furthermore, the watch features a sandblasted anthracite dial with a date window at 6 o’clock.
The gilt executed applied numerals and accents on the dial and bezel work very well with the deep dark brown bezel insert and the dark dial. The GMT hand is executed in black with a gilt tip, which creates the nice effect of an invisible GMT hand, except for the arrow-shaped tip. The overall combination of colors looks very classy and probably appeals the most to that classic pioneer’s spirit of the past. You can choose between a stainless steel bracelet, a brown leather strap, or a brown NATO for these new models.
The three new stainless steel models
The stainless steel models align with the 42mm models we know. First, there’s a vintage-tinted version with a dark green bezel, a black dial, and gilt accents. There is also a more modern-looking version with a black bezel, a black dial, and blue accents. The third option is the sportiest of the three and features a blue bezel, a blue dial, and an orange GMT hand.
All three models come with the option of a stainless steel bracelet or a matching brown leather strap. My first pick would typically be the stainless steel bracelet. I see it as the go-to option for practicality and comfort. But I have to say that all four of the watches look great on leather straps too. While I would still opt for the bracelet, I would also get leather and NATO straps out to check out the great versatility of the Spirit Zulu Time. As with the 42mm models, the green bezel and gilt accents version is my favorite. The combination of colors makes it an absolute stunner.
The Longines COSC-certified caliber L844.4
All four models are powered by the COSC-certified Longines caliber L844.4. This movement is based on the ETA A31 caliber. This automatic GMT caliber operates at 25,500vph and has 72 hours of power reserve and an anti-magnetic silicon balance spring. It’s the same flyer-style GMT movement that powers the 42mm models. As such, it allows you to independently adjust the local hour hand without interrupting the movement’s timekeeping.
Now we move on to pricing. As you might expect, the new gold and steel models are the most expensive. The stainless steel bracelet comes in at €4,650. On either the leather or NATO strap, it will be €4,550. The three stainless steel models come in at €3,400 on the stainless steel bracelet and €3,300 on the leather strap. However, I must say that it’s best to check your local prices as we have noticed slight differences depending on where you are.
First thoughts on the 39mm Longines Spirit Zulu Time
At first sight, the introduction of the 39mm Spirit Zulu Time seems like a simple addition in a smaller size. And, of course, there is the addition of the great-looking two-tone model. But the impact of these new smaller models could be much greater. It opens up a potential for the brand that could be massive. As mentioned, many people praised the introduction of last year’s models, but there was always the lingering discussion of their size.
With the introduction of these four new models, that discussion is history. I am sure that many watch enthusiasts will check out these new models as they are fit for a wide variety of wrist sizes. The incredible looks combined with modern materials and a COSC-certified flyer-style GMT movement create a complete package. Add the prices below €3,500 for the stainless steel models, which are incredibly hard to beat. Its biggest competitor, the Tudor Black Bay GMT, clocks in €4,270 on a stainless steel bracelet. That price difference makes the new Spirit Zulu Time models hard to ignore.
For more information, please visit the official Longines website. Let us know your thoughts on these new Longines Spirit Zulu Time models in the comments section.
Update (June 15th): We received some questions about the gold used for the bi-color model. We contacted Longines HQ to get some clarification on using the gold. The crown is entirely made of 18kt gold, except for the inner tube, which is steel. As for the turning bezel, the inside is made of steel, but the externally visible part is 18kt gold. This makes it gold-capped (read here about what that means) but still 18kt. Legally, Longines must mention GC200 because, on certain parts, they use 200 microns of gold. On other parts, Longines indicates using more than 500 microns, but they need to state the minimum amount, hence GC200.