Pioneering. It’s one of those words that gets thrown around a lot. Cars are pioneering. Clothes are pioneering. Heck, we’ve seen coffee shops described as pioneering.
But when it comes to watches, the Longines brand is a truly pioneering outfit. Some of the most daring people in history have sported a Longines watch on their wrist. These luminaries include Amelia Earhart, Elinor Smith, Charles Lindbergh, Steve McKinney, and Malcolm and Donald Campbell.
Pioneering isn’t just a buzzword for Longines. It’s a way of life and a driving principle of the brand. And their latest entry in their Spirit line captures that pioneering mindset for the modern wearer. State of the art design meets the glory days of aviation, in a watch that honours those exceptional men and women.
Longines introduced its Spirit collection in 2020. Spirit watches are inspired by the historic Longines timepieces worn by world-famous explorers. Modern details gave the Spirit line a fresh look, while still calling to mind the derring-do of those early days of exploration.
The Longines Spirit Automatic 42mm draws on the classic look of yesteryear and adds modern tech and styling, resulting in a chunky, bold watch that’s ready for any adventure.
The Spirit Automatic 42mm is a watch to be reckoned with. Let’s take a closer look.
Auguste Agassiz founded his first watchmaker’s shop in the Swiss town of St-Imier, all the way back in 1832. St-Imier is well known as the cradle of many high-class watch companies, but back in those days the work of watchmaking was far from easy. Agassiz and his team started out without running water, or electricity. But they persevered, and were soon creating innovative timepieces.
Longines was founded on a strong commitment to outstanding quality. In 1852, Auguste brought on board his nephew, Ernest Francillon. Ernest was an early supporter of industrialisation, and his views helped shape the fortunes of Longines for years to come, turning it into one of the first watch brands to mechanise production.
In 1893, Longines registered as a trademark with the United International Bureaux for the Protection of Intellectual Property. It’s the oldest registered trademark listed with the WIPO that’s still in use today!
Longines’ commitment to quality and innovation has never stopped. In 1908, it created the first ever pocket watch to show two time zones. In 1911, it produced one of the world’s first wrist chronographs.
Longines has also been at the forefront of sports timekeeping for decades. They helped create the first system of electromechanical sports timing, and some of the first high-frequency stop watches. They’ve been involved in equestrian sports, and provided luminous scoreboards for ski championships,
It was this long history of professional sports and aviation involvement that helped Longine build its line of high quality wrist watches. It took everything it knew about timekeeping and miniaturised it into portable, wearable tech that could accompany adventurers all across the globe.
It’s little wonder that Longines has always been popular with the pioneers of the world.
The word that springs to mind when we look at this classy watch is unapologetic. With its 42mm stainless steel case and 16.5mm thickness, this is a watch you won’t forget you’re wearing. Like the pioneering men and women who inspired the design, the Spirit Automatic 42mm is daring, confident, and not afraid to be seen.
The dressy matt black dial contrasts beautifully with the stainless steel case, bezel and bracelet. The polished and brushed steel has a precise, well cared for look, that shows how much attention Longines pays to every small detail.
We love the lines of this piece. From the slender railroad-style minute ring to the sharp angling on the bezel, everything about this watch looks tidy. The sword shaped sandblasted hands and the large, legible Arabic numerals with their silver edging add to the clear, uncluttered look.
As well as a classic three-hand construction, the dial features three counters. There’s a 30 minute counter at three o’clock, a 12 hour counter at six o’clock, and a running seconds dial at nine o’clock. You’ll also notice five silver stars beneath the name, a callout to Longines’ vintage 5 Star Admiral watches of the 1970s.
The numerals and hands are treated with Super-LumiNova for ultimate ease of reading in any lighting conditions, while flashes of red accent the overall look.
We can’t talk about the appearance of the Longines Spirit Automatic 42mm without mentioning the crown and pushers. The crown is a screw-down model, with sharp fluting and a diamond style that immediately calls to mind their pilots’ watches of old. On either side of the crown you’ll notice a chronograph pusher, which also has a delightfully vintage look. And on the other side of the case, perfectly balanced with the top pusher, is a push button for advancing the date. We love this little detail that makes it easy to quickly reset the date if needed. And with a screw-locking ring to prevent accidental use, you’ll only be able to change the date if you actually want to.
The Longines Spirit Automatic 42mm is a stylish, gentlemanly watch with a crisp modern look and all the character of a vintage pilots’ timepiece.
Features and Specs
The classic aviator’s look of the Longines Spirit Automatic 42mm hides a skilfully designed modern watch with powerful specs.
With a power reserve of 66 hours, this is a watch you can take with you anywhere in the world, on any adventure, and know it will keep working even if you take it off for three days. Add in the 10 bar (100 metre) depth water resistance and you’ve got a solid go-anywhere watch.
The case is a 42mm model with polished and brushed stainless steel, and a pleasing thickness of 16.50mm.
A L688.4 calibre automatic movement powers the watch, while the dome features a scratch-resistant sapphire crystal treated with several layers of anti reflective coating.
The stainless steel buckle on the bracelet features a triple safety folding clasp with a push opening mechanism that makes the watch feel delightfully secure.
The Longines Spirit Automatic 42mm is COSC-certified, so you know it’s been put through its paces with strict testing, and passed with flying colours.
Don’t let the good looks fool you! The Longines Spirit Automatic 42mm might look like a dressy vintage watch, but it’s a highly practical, wearable piece.
This is a watch for people who like a hefty, well-sized timepiece. The solid, thick frame feels well-designed and is clearly high quality. The only drawback is that it could be a little too thick and heavy for those who prefer a slightly more delicate watch. It’s got a dressy look – but the size could make fitting it under a formal suit a little challenging.
The Spirit Automatic 42mm excels when it comes to clarity. We’ve already talked about the large, clear numbers and hands, and the Super-Luminova coating. But we also love the diamond index marks beside each numeral. Each one aligns with the ten minute marks on the track, and overlaps the track. This looks cool, yes, but it also makes it super easy to read the chronograph seconds.
Add in the large minute hand that makes it nigh impossible to mistake hours for minutes, and you’ve got a watch that’s legible and a joy to read.
The Longines Spirit retails for £2,650
The Longines Spirit Automatic 42mm is a special watch. Razor sharp edges give it a precision look that calls to mind vintage aviation yet it’s suitable for formal wear. It’s got all the specs you need to take to the sky, or the sea, or simply enjoy your day to day adventures. The pioneering spirit is baked into every little detail of this watch, making it an ideal choice if you want a little of that spirit for yourself.