As its renowned”winged hourglass” emblem would imply, aviation has played an important role in the history of Longines. As early as 1919, the St Imier-based company was the official supplier to the International Aeronautical Federation, letting it create the highly precise and reliable navigation equipment used by intrepid flyers to place some of the earliest distance and endurance records. It’s a background Longines recognises in restricted re-editions of its heritage bits, but today the brand is starting a new collection — Spirit — motivated by, rather than purely based on, those celebrated models. For instance, at 1932 Amelia Earhart wore a Longines Chronograph when she became the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic, a journey that lasted 14 hours and 56 minutes.
Six decades later, Howard Hughes’ circumnavigation of the globe (in three days, 19 hours and 14 minutes) was timed by the company. Crew members wore Longines chronometer watches and a Longines Sidérograph — a device used to pinpoint location using the celebrities — was also onboard.
Whilst featuring the latest proprietary technologies, the antecedents of this collection are nevertheless very clear. Drawing on a number of the recognised features of a classic pilot’s watch, such as oversize crown, large”baton” style hands and daring dial fonts, the newest models — three hand/calendar models in 40mm and 42mm instances (from ￡1,650) and a 42mm chronograph watches — feature self-winding COSC-certified moves delivering 64 and 60 hours respectively.
Other contemporary elements incorporate a multilayer antireflective coating applied to either side of their vintage-style box sapphire plus a choice of matte black, grained silver and sunray blue dials, all of which feature Longines’ characteristic five stars representing their chronometer status.