Drawing a stylistic balance between vintage and modern influences is no easy achievement. While there are challenges associated with both exactly recreating a vintage design and with creating something entirely new, finding a happy medium between the two offers its own unique difficulties. Since its introduction in 2020 the Longines Spirit collection has found a handsome midpoint between the two, creating a timeless pilot-inspired look that clearly pays tribute to the brand’s past without aiming to recreate any specific model. For its second year of production, the brand adds a fresher and more focused look to the Spirit line, reimagining the sporty casual concept in Grade 5 titanium. The new Longines Spirit in titanium is a purer and more focused iteration of the concept, blending thoroughly modern materials with a vintage-inflected gilt color palette and an impressively balanced look.
Available in both 40mm and 42mm diameters, the Grade 5 titanium case of the new Longines Spirit recontextualizes the clean lines of the original in a more purposeful and aggressive light. The sharp angles of the long tapering lugs are given greater dimension in images by the darker titanium surface, while the polished case side chamfers and polished chamfered bezel shine through more dramatically. The overall form remains simple and classically sporty, with a narrow bezel, oversized flared crown, and planar surfacing dominated by heavily grained brushing. Like many modern Longines designs however, the new Spirit in titanium features long lugs (49mm lug to lug for the 40mm diameter case, for example) that may prove divisive among enthusiasts. Longines finishes the design with a cleanly engraved solid caseback featuring the brand’s signature winged hourglass motif against a globe pattern background. In keeping with the sporty overall spirit, Longines rates the watch at a solid 100 meters of water resistance.
Although creamy fauxtina lume has become visual shorthand for vintage-inspired dial finishing over the last several years, the combination of a matte black dial surface with gilt elements offers a more refined and traditional alternative for brands looking to add a subtler sense of age. The new Longines Spirit in titanium deftly showcases this second look in images, beginning with its lightly grained charcoal gray main dial surface. This slightly off-black tone gives the dial a gently faded feel, while the 1N yellow gold used for the straight sword hands and rounded applied Arabic numerals introduces a sense of aged warmth to the layout. Gilt accents for the dial text and the raised outer minutes ring add to this feeling of warmth, while the light azurage texture of the outer ring gives the design a greater sense of depth and complexity in images. Longines wisely allows the small details of the design to take center stage here, with elements like the diamond shaped lume plots cutting into the outer ring or the visual weight distribution between the 12 o’clock winged hourglass logo and the five applied stars at 6 o’clock imbuing this relatively simple concept with multiple layers of nuance. With this in mind, the brand’s decision to use a no-date layout is crucial to the overall package. It’s easy to imagine a date window dramatically disrupting the carefully constructed balance of elements here, in exchange for only a minor gain in utility.
Longines powers the new titanium-cased Spirit with the exclusive ETA-based L888.4 automatic movement. Offering a high-tech silicon balance spring and COSC chronometer certified for accuracy, the L888.4 boasts impressive performance including a hefty 72 hour power reserve at a 25,200 bph beat rate. The new Longines Spirit in titanium is available with either a three-link oyster style bracelet in Grade 5 titanium or a single pass woven nylon strap in anthracite gray. While the bracelet adds a sense of flash and luxurious heft to the design in initial images, the strap gives the Spirit a more purposeful and casual look that should allow it to adapt to a variety of different styles.
With its warmer gilt dial design and more aggressive case finishing, the new Longines Spirit in titanium gives the series its most balanced, distinctive, and fully realized look to date. The new Longines Spirit in titanium will be available through authorized dealers by the end of September 2021 at a starting MSRP of $2,650. For more details, please visit the brand’s website.