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Longines Master Collection Annual Calendar Watch Hands-On

Longines Master Collection Annual Calendar Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Longines had quite an impressive Baselworld 2018 with new releases like the Heritage Skin Diver and a new black PVD version of its ever-popular Legend Diver watch. Alongside these new watches, Longines also unveiled its first ever annual calendar watch in the form of the new Longines Master Collection Annual Calendar watch. The Master Collection houses some of Longines’ most classic and complicated watches, so it should be no surprise that the Master Collection Annual Calendar is somewhat understated in its aesthetics. It comes in a 40mm wide stainless steel case with short and curved lugs. The entire case is polished for a dressier look. The crown at 3 o’clock has no crown protectors, so it is easy to reach and operate. Water resistance is only 30m, which isn’t ideal but is appropriate for a watch of its type.

Longines Master Collection Annual Calendar Watch Hands-On Hands-On

All images by Ariel Adams

The Master Collection Annual Calendar comes in four variants. You can get it with a black stamped ‘barleycorn’ dial with Roman numerals or a blue dial with a sunray finish with 12 stick hour indices. There are also two silver options, both with stamped ‘barleycorn’ finishes but one with large Arabic numerals and the other has diamond hour indices. The model that we got to handle is the silver dial version with Arabic numerals and it comes with a brown alligator leather strap with a triple-folding clasp.

Longines Master Collection Annual Calendar Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Because of the large Arabic hour numerals in black, this version is arguably the most striking. The use of large black Arabic hour numerals also means that the watch is very easy to read. This is aided by the elegant blued steel hour, minute, and seconds hands, which provide a brilliant contrast to the silver dial with ‘barleycorn’ decoration. The watch also has a wide chapter ring around the dial featuring a minute track that has every fifth minute marked, the Longines logo at 12 o’clock, and a simple line of text that reads ‘Annual Calendar’ at 6 o’clock.

Longines Master Collection Annual Calendar Watch Hands-On Hands-On

At 3 o’clock, you have two apertures for the month and date. Unlike some other annual calendar watches, there’s no day indication. For those not familiar with the annual calendar, it is a complication invented by Patek Philippe in 1996 and it enables the watch to differentiate between months with 30 and 31 days and automatically compensate for it. This means watch owners need not adjust the watches for months with 30 days. However, it still requires user intervention when transitioning from February to March, hence the name annual calendar – it requires the user to adjust the calendar just once every year.

Longines Master Collection Annual Calendar Watch Hands-On Hands-On

The annual calendar indications on this watch are very understated, and I would not be surprised if most onlookers mistaken it for a simple day and date complication. My only gripe is that in placing the annual calendar indications at 3 o’clock, the ‘3’ for the hour marker is slightly cut at the edges. The black dial version with Roman numerals suffers from this too. Because of this, I find myself gravitating towards the model with a blue sunray finish dial and stick indices because a cutoff stick hour index at 3 o’clock doesn’t bother me as much.

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Longines Master Collection Annual Calendar Watch Hands-On Hands-On

The movement within is the new Longines Caliber L897.2, which, if I’m not mistaken, is a heavily modified version of the ETA 2892 with an added annual calendar complication module. This movement beats at 25,200 bph and has a power reserve of 64 hours. The movement is visible through the watch’s sapphire display caseback and it is quite nicely decorated for its price with a partially skeletonized rotor, Côtes de Genève, blued screws, and extensive perlage on the bridges.

Longines Master Collection Annual Calendar Watch Hands-On Hands-On

The Master Collection Annual Calendar is a great example of an understated complicated watch. On the surface, it looks just like any other dressy watch with a day-date complication, but look closer still and you’ll find that that the two apertures where one would normally expect to find the day-date indications are actually for something a lot more complicated – an annual calendar. Certainly, then, the Longines Master Collection Annual Calendar is a very practical dress-style watch and is attractively priced for a watch with an annual calendar complication. The only question is whether or not you like the way it looks. Pricing for the Longines Master Collection Annual Calendar starts at €1,940. longines.com

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  • I was going to guess the price to be 24,500 CHF. No wait, that’s the annual calendar Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe 🙁

    Sure a being diver with a rotating bezel and more W/R and a gold winding rotor cost more, but this Longines (which is also from the Swatch Group) points out that an annual calendar complication does not have to cost $10K plus over the 3 hand model it is derived from.

    And yes Kenny, this movement does seem to originally come from an ETA 2892 (main plate and screws seem to be the same), but even beyond the annual calendar, there are plenty of differences based on the back side view of the watch (regulator and rotor for instance). Cheers.

    • David Bredan

      Ha! For under €2k, this really shows how brands have recently mastered perpetual and annual calendars – and how these complications have been overly praised (and priced) as they were milked extensively by most all big ones up until before recently… In fact, they still sell these as the be all and end all of calendar complications… When a €2k Longines delivers the same tech with an ETA base.

      • JosephWelke

        But what cost hand finishing?! Heat-treated blues screws?! Surely the Swiss craftsperson in their atelier hunched over their generations-old workbench warrants a living wage?

        • Of course – and I’m sure that Blancpain puts the extra 10K euros in the pockets of their hard working employees ;->

    • Mikita

      Interesting times indeed. You can get a flyback chrono below $4k or even a perpetual calendar below $6k – from FC. And now this Longines proves again that big houses have been charging 300% extra per their complicated watches for a long time.

  • Marius

    I rather like the look of the watch. Not keen on the complication though.

  • SuperStrapper

    In this day and age 30m is inappropriate for any watch. I dont see why 50m shouldn’t ve considered entry level for any watch.
    I hope the watch looks a little more lively in person, because it’s fairly boring in pictures. Giving us a look at the other iterations would have been nice, even if they weren’t available for a hands-on review: https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/123b0879dfae41acc413b9967c4d4aa67c0be208ab08bf5786db9646ba46bc1a.jpg

    • Polerouter

      Do you often dive between 30 and 50m with a dress watch? Sorry to repeat myself but I really don’t understand why this comment comes back again and again. Maybe it is due to cheap asian watches which are rated to 30m but can’t actually reach those depths?

      Concerning those stamped dials, they always look kind of bad in close-up photos but actually far nicer in person. As do the writings on uneven surfaces. Still prefer the blue one, though.

      • David Bredan

        You’ll find a detailed response to that here: http://ablogtowatch.com/ask-watch-experts/explaining-watch-water-resistance-ratings-mean/ In short, 30 meters doesn’t equate to a depth of 30 meters – with a 30m rated watch you are advised to not do more than wash your hands with it. With 50m you’re supposed to get away with wearing it in a shower or not have to freak out if someone pushes you into a pool (saying this example because you’re still not advised to swim with a 50m rated watch). There is a difference between 30m and 50m when it comes to the peace of mind they provide – this is why it matters to some customers.

        • Polerouter

          This is wrong, at least concerning serious swiss brands. Most big brands detail how their watches are tested, and guess what? Watches rated to 30m are tested in 4bar(=30m) water.

          • David Bredan

            It is a tricky point, that’s for sure. I would very much like to see every four figure priced (and up) watch have 100m resistance rating. It’s not about aged gaskets either — if a watch has water damage the brand could still argue it’s because the crown was left loose, excessive water pressure was applied, etc.
            This is a dress watch so in today’s selection of Swiss watches one could argue it gets a pass, and it does get other things right…
            However, ISO this or that won’t make a watch more resistant than actually getting it right — when it’s being tip-toed around it’s a bad sign.

        • Polerouter

          Ok, so I understand that this is a tricky point, because Longines themselves decided to perpetuate the old myth on their website. This is understandable, as they probably don’t want to deal with customers coming back with old watches with aged gaskets which were drowned because of that. However, they also indicate that their watches strictly follow ISO22810, and big companies don’t mess with ISO norms. And This norm is clear: your 30m-rated watch can withstand 3bar of water overpressure, which means that, provided it is sufficiently new, you can dive to 30m.

          Everything else, starting with this dynamic pressure nonsense, doesn’t mean a thing.

          • However the 30 meters of water resistance is only a static pressure. Actual swimming (arm movement) underwater induces additional pressure. On the other hand, typically watches should have 10% more resistance than the stated value (which may account for the motion induced pressures – or not?). Cheers.

          • Filip Vanura

            The additional pressure caused by movement is negligible compared to the static pressure (even 30 meters of water above is quite a lot).

          • That would be my guess also. However, I’ve never seen any actual data on how much pressure is increased by swimming (or dropping into the water for that matter). Cheers.

          • Filip Vanura

            The increase will be equal to the one half the density times the velocity squared, or

            ?P = (1000 x V2)/2

            where
            ?P = increase in pressure in pascals
            1000 = density of fresh water, in kg/m3, use 1030 kg/m3 if seawater,
            v = velocity in m/s

            In order to raise the pressure by 1 atm (101325 pascals) the watch must be traveling at 14.25 m/s. That’s about 51 km/h or 32 mph. (taken from http://forums.watchuseek.com/f2/sigh-myth-busting-again-610734.html#/topics/610734 without further checks)

          • Thanks – and now the question is how fast can one move their arm underwater?

          • http://forums.watchuseek.com/f281/water-resistance-myth-vs-reality-239664.html#/topics/239664

            Scroll down to the bottom of the very long first post. Moving one’s arms in the water has almost no discernible effect on the hydrostatic pressure of the water on an object at depth. A 30m rated watch either can withstand being dunked into a sink, or the watch isn’t really water resistant at all.

          • I was thinking (concerned with) the effect of jumping off a dive boat rather than sticking my arm into a sink, but whatever. i think there is some additional pressure with arm movement underwater also, however I doubt I can move my arm at the 32 mph that Filip Vanura mentioned. Cheers.

        • Re-reading the linked post on water resistance, I take exception to the implication that a helium release value improves the water resistance. If fact any opening in a watch case reduces it. The He release valve only allows helium to escape safely after being in a dive chamber (where the watch is subjected to air, not water, which is where the helium gets past the gaskets and needs to later get out – or so they say – for the most part this is a worthless feature as most recreational divers have never seen the inside of a chamber). Cheers.

        • egznyc

          Right. The current system is not at all intuitive, unfortunately. I’d even go so far as to say it’s misleading.

          • Polerouter

            This is not the current system, this is the previous one, ISO2281. That is why it changed in 2010 (actually, serious brands changed far earlier). The current system, ISO22810, is not misleading: 30m means you can dive to 30m. The only misleading thing is this outdated ABTW article.

          • egznyc

            We learn new things every day – thanks! I do wonder, though, whether most folks have heeded this new guidance and taken their expensive dress watches with “just” 30m WR down to the depths … I would not like to test this out, even with my relatively affordable watches.
            https://www.iso.org/news/2010/11/Ref1367.html

      • SuperStrapper

        It has nothing to do with diving. 30m is not a depth rating, it’s a splash rating. It is phoning in watch construction. 50m of actual water resistance is the bare minimum for actual submersion, and obtaining it is an incredibly low bar to jump over.

    • Mikita

      Good enough to wash your hands, and, most probably, this watch won’t be put into other relation with water.

      • SuperStrapper

        Not on purpose, I absolutely agree. Incidental plunges would be the concern. And if water damage is not covered by the brand and water got into the movement because your hand was submerged 4″ for a moment, I assume an actual wr rating suddenly becomes important on a watch like this.

    • The blue one is nice. (even though I don’t care for the links on the bracelet much).

    • Paul Goebel

      Interesting watch and a good fit for Longines. The other variations are more interesting as some of them don’t suffer from the cut-off 3 hour marker. However, the guilloched dials would look better if they had flattened the areas where the brand name/symbol and movement descriptions were printed.

  • Raymond Wilkie

    I do wish they wouldn’t print on a worked surface , it NEVER looks good.

    • SuperStrapper

      Normally I’m in agreement there, but this dial printing is pretty crispy. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/913ecc724f5e351c7bb8cac1db88c26fee0d1ab99f887ceff37162ac29453ad1.jpg

      • Raymond Wilkie

        Get a loupe on that swiss made.

        • SuperStrapper

          So my extreme crop on a macro doesn’t show it, but if I add a loupe I’ll see it. Yeah, real shitty work.

          • Raymond Wilkie

            Language Timothy!

      • egznyc

        That’s true here, but I wish they hadn’t written out “annual calendar” on the dial. Totally unnecessary and showy.

        • SuperStrapper

          I don’t disagree, but I also understand that they would want to show it off.

          A caseback engraving would have been preferred.

  • “The watch also has a wide chapter ring around the dial featuring a minute track that has every fifth minute marked,”

    I would call that a “rehaut.” Whatever; they could have put a steeper angle on it and then pushed the printed hour markers out a bit, to avoid truncating the printing at three. It bothers me as well.

    Otherwise, nice watch for the money.

    • SuperStrapper

      It certainly is a flange. I would only consider it a chapter ring if it were on the dial.

      inb4 someone disagrees for the sake of disagreeing

  • Mr. Snrub

    Can’t get over how 3 is going Pacman on the date window

    Nice textured dials though

  • Another victim of the Date Window Afterthought Syndrome. If your’re going to release an annual calendar, you design the watch around the complication. Not shove the movement behind a dial that screams “Oh yeah, here’s the date. Almost forgot.”

    There’s no excuse for that cut-off 3. None.

  • Juan-Antonio Garcia

    Nice looking watch, but not a $2k watch. The devil is in the details.

  • Ross Diljohn

    It’s nice for what it is. The 3 is off but not strikingly so in my opinion. The power reserve is good unlike some I have seen. The price may even be fair considering it’s an annual calendar but I maintain that any dress watch can be made 100M water resistant without much if any aesthetic change and it brings a peace of mind you need for a watch like this.

  • Sevenmack

    I prefer a date indicator on a watch and won’t mind a day indicator if done properly. Longines didn’t do either properly, and thus, ruined what is otherwise a beautiful dial. Not worth the money to me.

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