Longines has done a brilliant job in combining classic vintage looks with quality modern construction and movements in its Spirit collection. Now, the young line expands in an exciting direction with the introduction of the new titanium models. But that’s not all, a new dial color as well as detailing in gold give these new models a classy edge. These details elevate the watches well beyond what was already available in the lineup. A new strap option is a cherry on top of this already appealing new offering.

The watches found in the Longines Spirit collection walk the line between the pilot and field watch aesthetics. This is certainly well-trodden ground when it comes to watch design. However, these Spirit collection models have a certain je ne sais quoi to them that keeps them interesting. Black, blue, green, and white dials decorated with lume-filled Arabic numerals make for a classic look. Sharp baton hands and a red-tipped seconds hand with a lume-filled diamond at the end add to the distinctive looks of the Spirit. We are no strangers to the Spirit line here at Fratello, and we have covered them extensively here and here.

Take a good thing and make it titanium

Just as with the steel models, the new offering maintains most of the design cues we know and love but takes them to the next level. Starting with the case. Grade five titanium is used by Longines here in creating the elegant yet significant lines of the case. The material is lighter and harder-wearing than steel and gives the watches a darker and more matt appearance. The satin-finished elements of the case highlight the characteristic tone of this material, giving them a more modern look. Polished elements play with the light and make for a nice contrast. A big, signed, screw-crown at the 3 o’clock position reinforces the pilot’s watch aesthetic.

Another novelty from Longines in the new Spirit models is the sandblasted anthracite dial, which complements the titanium case wonderfully. Depending on the light and angle, the dial can transform from a pleasing gray to a deep black. The raised black satin flange around the dial where a well-executed minute track can be found, offers a change in texture and color, adding plenty of depth to the dial. Everything sits below a fantastic domed sapphire crystal and remains perfectly visible thanks to the multi-layer anti-reflective coating applied to both sides. Not adding too much to the thickness of the watch, which comes in at a sleek 12.2mm.

A touch of gold

So far we’ve been talking about blacks and grays, but this watch is far from monochromatic. For this new model, Longines has left silver behind and gone for gold. The hands, numerals, and the applied winged hourglass logo as well as the five stars on the dial are now executed in a golden finish. It can also be found on a ring separating the center of the dial from the flange as well as all other dial text. Twelve diamond markers around this separation sit beside the Arabic numerals. A small detail that I very much appreciated was how the diamond on the tip of the seconds hand aligns with the diamonds around the edge as the hand sweeps over the dial.

For me, it’s the golden touches on the dark dial that give this watch a lot of character. If Longines had stuck to silver all of the charm would have been lost and the look might have fallen flat. The golden elements add to the vintage appeal of this piece, creating a gilt-like dial, and adding a bit of warmth to the watch. The seconds hand, also in gold, featuring the signature red tip. A detail that slowly grew on me, and which adds a bit of quirky appeal to the overall look.

Small details go a long way

This new titanium Spirit comes on both a matching titanium bracelet, as well as on a nylon Nato-style strap. Similar to a single pass nato, the quick-release spring-bars sit in stitched loops in the fabric, meaning that the watch will not slide along the strap. The color of the strap, at first sight, is black, but the special weave used creates some lighter tones, more reminiscent of the anthracite dial. It’s great to see Longines having put so much thought into this strap. It would have been easy to go with a simple single-pass nato, but this cleverly engineered strap speaks to the care and attention put into this watch.

It would seem that the running theme with the new Longines Spirit is that small details go a long way. Taking an already successful model from the lineup and adding small details could be seen as an easy way to create a cash-grabbing LE. But the impression that is given here is that the design was revisited with only the best intentions. Something which speaks directly to this is the lack of a date window. I can honestly say that I have never been happier to see the number three on a dial, which in the steel models in the collection gives way for an admittedly nicely executed date display.

COSC certified caliber L888.4

Available in both 40mm and 42mm the new Spirit models feature the COSC certified caliber L888.4 (A31.L11). Beating away at 25,200 vph, the 21 jewel self-winding movement has an impressive power reserve of 72 hours. On the technical front, it is also worth mentioning that the lume used in the numerals and hands is Blue Line Super-LumiNova. The rather pleasing blue glow of the lume makes for a perfectly legible dial, which coupled with the 100m of water resistance, reminds you of the tool-watch origins of this piece.

Final thoughts

All in all, Longines has managed to create a wonderful take on one of their classic models. Maintaining a lot of the vintage appeal, while giving us all the advantages of modern movements and materials. I know that If I was looking to take off to the skies, I would happily do so with the 40mm version on my wrist. The long and chunky lugs give it plenty of wrist presence, so I’d have to stick to the anthracite nylon strap. Not only does it complement the watch perfectly, but it keeps it as light and comfortable as possible. Prices range between €2,550 for the 42mm version on the strap, up to €2,950 for the 42mm version on the bracelet.