An Exclusive Inside Look At Longines’ New Collector’s Corner
Visitors to Longines’ new Geneva boutique can now buy fully restored historical pieces made by the brand in a dedicated in-store space. We take a look at eight of the classic watches it is currently offering for sale.
Last month, Longines opened its new Geneva boutique on Rue du Rhône, one of the Swiss city’s most popular shopping streets. Inside and outside, the dedicated space lets visitors immerse themselves in the world of Longines, with many of the Saint-Imier-based brand’s creations on show, as well as references to the company’s connections to equestrian sports and aviation.
Naturally, the brand’s latest collections are on display, but accompanying them is a fantastic new “Collector’s Corner,” which offers restored vintage Longines timepieces for purchase, the first time the company with the winged hourglass logo has undertaken such an initiative.
Each of the historic watches on offer – all dating back more than 30 years and equipped with in-house movements – has been serviced and revised by specialist watchmakers in the Longines heritage workshop. Each piece also comes with a two-year warranty and certificate of authenticity.
A Piece of Longines History
Many of the world’s best watch collections have a Longines in them, and vintage Longines timepieces, in particular, are highly valued by the collector community. The new Collector’s Corner gives you a chance, then, to put a piece of Longines – and Swiss watchmaking – history in your line-up of watches.
To kick off its Collector’s Corner, Longines is physically showcasing a dozen or so unique models at its Geneva boutique, which will gradually be built out. Some of these are also available for reservation on the new Collector’s Corner page of the Longines website, with the display of each watch complemented by original advertising artwork and retro visuals, taking us back to the era of the timepiece’s inception.
Recently, the Watchonista team managed to go hands-on with these eight vintage watches.
Longines Super Water-Resistant Diver Flyback Chronograph (1969)
This diver chronograph stands out for the eye-catching lines of its cushion-shaped steel case and the clean yet atypical indications on its dial. Powered by the manufacture calibre 538/30CH, the Super Water-Resistant Diver Flyback Chronograph has a 43mm by 41mm case with an “unbreakable” hardened mineral glass that can stand up to 20 bars of pressure, totaling 200 meters of water resistance. The chronograph’s flyback mechanism features a large minute counter and yellow vernier scale for reading tenths of a second. The price is CHF 6,975.
Longines Ultra-Chron Diver (1968)
Short for “ultra-chronometer,” the Ultra-Chron Diver from 1968 was one of the first high-frequency dive watches, as well as one of the most precise. Beating at 36,000 vibrations per hour, the in-house calibre 431 has an accuracy of one minute per month, which translates to two seconds per day. The 41mm stainless steel tonneau case is water-resistant up to 200 meters. Meanwhile, the indices, hands, and triangle on the unidirectional bezel are tritium filled for better legibility in the murky depths. The price is CHF 3,250.
Longines Flyback-Chronograph 30CH (1965)
A successor to the calibre 13ZN, which is considered the first flyback chronograph wristwatch movement produced, the 30CH was first introduced in 1947 and produced into the 1970s. It is equipped with a semi-instantaneous, 30-minute counter and also indicates fifths of a second. Moreover, this 38mm Flyback-Chronograph 30CH (ref. 7413) in stainless steel has a radially finished silvered dial that is in particularly good condition. The price is CHF 12,250.
Longines Conquest Calendar (1956)
From 1954 onwards, Longines timepieces were arranged into families, starting with the Conquest family. This perfectly restored Conquest Calendar (ref. 9004) was released in 1955 and packs the 19ASD automatic manufacture calibre with date complication, notable for its anti-magnetism and shock-protection features. The 35mm stainless steel case, set with a champlevé enameled 14-karat gold medallion inlaid on the caseback, ensures it is waterproof. The price is CHF 2,980.
Longines Univers Two-Tone Dial (1953)
Part of the Universe collection, this 35mm steel watch has an eye-catching two-tone dial with a black outer ring. Plus, the gilded alpha hour-minute hands and sweep seconds hand are powered by the calibre 12.68ZS. The price is CHF 2,950.
Longines Rose Gold Square Ladies Watch (1950)
This “fancy-shaped” wristwatch is part of the small ladies’ watches created by Longines at the end of the 1940s. The 19.4mm square case in 18-karat rose gold houses the calibre 15.18, which is architectured into an oval shape. The price is CHF 2,760.
Longines Rectangular Art Deco Watch (1937)
Longines began making rectangular watches in the 1910s, and the case shape became strongly associated with the brand, with the current-day DolceVita collection inspired by this case profile.
Made in 1937, this art deco piece is in exceptional condition given its age. The rectangular 29mm by 19mm steel case is matched by the rectangularly constructed calibre 25.173. Set against the black dial, the rectangular outer railway-style minute track is echoed by the small-seconds track at 6 o’clock. The price is CHF 3,250.
Longines Pilot’s Watch Majetek (1938)
Longines made this 40mm Pilot’s Watch Majetek for the Czechoslovakian Air Force from 1935 to 1948, using three different movements over that period. This example from 1938 is one of the rare first iterations featuring the anti-magnetic and shock-proof calibre 15.94.
Under the “unbreakable” crystal, the black dial features Arabic numerals, cathedral hands, and a triangular indicator – located on the rotating bezel for setting a predetermined time – all filled with luminescent radium to make them easily readable at night. Some Czechoslovakian Air Force pilots went on to fly for Britain’s Royal Air Force, though this piece has no military markings on the back. The price is CHF 6,150.
Of the opening of the new Geneva boutique, Longines CEO, Matthias Breschan, said: “We are proud to offer our Swiss customers, and our international customers passing through Geneva, the opportunity to discover the world of Longines and its vast range of timepieces, in a tailor-made space staffed by qualified advisers. We place great importance on making every effort to ensure that each visit is a unique and special experience.”
As mentioned, the Longines Collector’s Corner will grow over time, so don’t hesitate to check out its latest additions, either in-store or online. Also, if you don’t see or manage to get your hands on what you want, there is always the brand’s current collection of Heritage timepieces, inspired by Longines’ classic creations, from which to choose.
For more information visit the Longines website.
(Photography by Pierre Vogel)