A Hands-On Introduction To The New Longines Spirit Zulu Time GMT Watch
Every now and then, it feels like the stars align for a brand. A recent model becomes hugely popular due to its brilliant design, and the brand follows up with a confident next step. Everything comes together and results in perfection. This is exactly how the new Longines Spirit Zulu Time GMT feels. The watch represents a maturation of the brand’s Spirit line and an exciting step in the right direction. It maintains all the design elements that made the Spirit models so popular and builds on the solid foundation established in 2020. Though the Spirit chronograph was already a stunning riff on the time-only model, this latest take brings a whole new level of potential to the Spirit. It also ties in beautifully with the brand’s rich aviation-watch history, paying tribute to a Longines dual-time watch from 1925.
But why call it the Zulu Time? The name finds its roots in the Zulu flag featured on the dial of the 1925 watch. The NATO phonetic alphabet, used by pilots in their radio transmissions, uses the word “Zulu” for the letter “Z”, which, in turn, designates universal time. This designation is used by pilots and members of the armed forces alike. In keeping with the Spirit line’s adventurous ambitions, the Zulu Time GMT is a perfect companion for those who find themselves jumping from timezone to timezone on a regular basis. Bringing together heritage with the brand’s spirit of innovation, this latest offering from Longines is not just a beautiful watch. It’s also one that inspires a sense of adventure, hearkening back to the days of its predecessors.
The Longines Spirit Zulu Time
Worn on the wrists of many adventurers, Longines watches played a key role in the safety and navigation of aviators. These record-setting globetrotters, like Amy Johnson, Clyde Pangborn, and Hugh Herndon all relied on their Longines timepieces for their success. Now, almost a century after their achievements, the Longines Spirit Zulu Time is made available to modern-day pioneers.
The watch will be available in three different colorways, two of which you can see pictured in the article today. 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 of the watches feature the Longines COSC-certified caliber L844.4 (A31.L411) with a 72-hour power reserve and 25,200vph frequency. You’ll also be glad to know that this is a flyer-style GMT watch. As such, it features an independently adjustable local hour hand, which can be set without interrupting the watch’s timekeeping.
When it comes to aesthetics, the Spirit Zulu Time falls in line with the previous offerings in the Spirit collection. The 42mm stainless steel case features sharp lugs, an oversized crown, and a new bi-directional 24-hour bezel with a ceramic insert. The numerals on the insert are lacquered, and the triangle is filled with Super-LumiNova. The dial, visible through a domed and AR-coated sapphire crystal, has all the beautiful depth that you know, love, and expect from the Spirit line. The outer minute track features a distinctive brushed texture with a metal ring separating it from the main dial. Embossed diamond-shaped hour markers sit within that ring, aligning beautifully with the diamond-tipped sweeping seconds hand.
Details that count
The Longines Spirit Zulu Time has a solid steel case back held in place by six screws. This gives the watch 100m of water resistance, which is plenty for most adventures. And depending on the climate — or personal preference — you’ll be able to enjoy this watch on the fantastic steel bracelet or on a wonderful leather strap. Personally, I’m a bracelet guy 99% of the time. But the leather strap option that Longines provides for the watch is absolutely brilliant. More specifically, it’s the deployment clasp used that’s the real pièce de resistance. It features a cleverly built-in ratcheting micro-adjust system! This allows you to adjust up to one whole position with the push of a button in the clasp itself.
The Spirit Zulu Time wears beautifully on the wrist. The 42mm size is increased somewhat by the long lugs, giving the watch a 49mm wingspan. However, thanks to its 13.9mm height and downwards-sloping lugs, it hugs the wrist nicely. I had no trouble enjoying it on my 18cm wrist. Both on the bracelet and on the strap, the watch feels solid and looks fantastic. It’s a beautifully finished case, with nicely contrasting brushed and polished surfaces. It mirrors the classic Spirit line’s design and is a really sharp number. The classic looks can also be appreciated dial-side, where an applied Longines “winged hourglass” logo sits below 12 o’clock. The applied details continue with Arabic-numeral indices and the five stars that sit below the “Zulu Time” text. These stars are a historical element featured on Longines watches as an indication of the movement’s accuracy and supreme quality.
As you’ve seen, the new Longines Spirit Zulu Time GMT watches not only feature a brilliant overall design. They also offer value down to the smallest detail, from the intricacies on the dial to a brilliant micro-adjustable clasp and even a silicon balance spring in the chronometer-certified movement. Furthermore, these watches do not compromise in terms of offering “true” flyer-GMT functionality. If you’re in the market for a brilliant go-anywhere, do-anything GMT watch, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better option in this section of the market.
Prices for the Spirit Zulu Time start at €2,680 on the leather strap, and range up to just under €3K on the steel bracelet.
For more information on prices and availability, please visit the Longines website.
And, as always, please let us know your thoughts on these latest offerings from Longines in the comments section below.
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