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Longines Master Collection Moon Phase Chronograph L2.673.4.78.3 Watch Review

Longines Master Collection Moon Phase Chronograph L2.673.4.78.3 Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

A complicated looking, classically-designed timepiece is a welcome addition to any watch collection and something like this Longines Master Collection Moon Phase Chronograph reference L2.673.4.78.3 is a solid and affordable way to include such an item into your collection. It contains the Swiss Made ETA Valjoux 7751 which is modified to become the Longines caliber L687. My first ever “complicated” watch included a Valjoux 7751 and I think it is a very effective way to enjoy a good volume of complications without crossing into the price spectrum of haute horology products.

Longines is no stranger to the 7751 movement family – having featured these movements in various Master Collection timepieces for years now. The success of combining the Master Collection timepiece aesthetic with the features in the 7751 movement is proven. This particular model comes in with an elegantly decorated movement and a very sensible 40mm wide case, which is about as small as you can get given the size of the movement itself.

Longines Master Collection Moon Phase Chronograph L2.673.4.78.3 Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

Longines Master Collection Moon Phase Chronograph L2.673.4.78.3 Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

The 4Hz, two day power reserve 7751 automatic movement is modified visually by decoration as well as technically with the inclusion of a column-wheel transmission system for the chronograph in some models. Column wheels are nice to look at and considered to be more “collector worthy” depending on who you speak to. At the least, Longines is able to offer more than just your standard Valjoux 7751 by having the L687 caliber movement which adds a bit more technical fascination. With that said, depending on the particular Longines Master Collection model you get (meaning when it was produced) you might be getting a different movement. The more recently produced L2.673.4.78.3 seems to contain the L687 movement but slightly older models like my review unit contain the caliber L.678.2 movement which, I believe, is more or less the same thing but without the column wheel and a bit more power reserve (up to about 54 hours from about 44 hours).

Longines Master Collection Moon Phase Chronograph L2.673.4.78.3 Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

The core 7751 movement was designed to add functionality to the iconic Valjoux 7750 automatic 12 hour chronograph. What it adds is a complete calendar (displaying the month, date, and day of the week), as well as a moon phase indicator and synchronized 24 hour hand which effectively serves as an AM/PM indicator. I’ve written about watches that use the 7751 movement for over a decade now, and I will remind readers that one of the downsides of the 7751 is that it presents particular design challenges for watchmakers seeking to create visually balanced dials. So much of the “weight” of the information on the dial is on the left-side. That means the right side of the dial is relatively sparse and typically reserved for a watch brand logo. Longines designs this Master Collection dial about as well as can be expected around the 7751’s quirky dial layout.

Longines Master Collection Moon Phase Chronograph L2.673.4.78.3 Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

I like the dial design with its traditional printed Arabic hour numerals and a barley corn pattern-aesthetic stamped into the dial. This is designed to mimic the look of guilloche-engraved dials, but to get authentic machine engraving on a dial you need to step up to a Breguet timepiece which is a sibling to Longines within the Swatch Group. Longines uses blued-steel hands properly and without many reflective surfaces on the dial, it makes for a highly legible watch. Also, there is a subtly-domed AR-coated sapphire crystal over the dial which does not suffer from glare issues, thankfully. In addition to attention to legibility, build quality is also a focus and the watch serves as a real tool-style instrument which is something very apparent in most of the Longines Master Collection products.

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Longines Master Collection Moon Phase Chronograph L2.673.4.78.3 Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

At 40mm wide this is the smallest Master Collection watch I’ve worn that contains a 7751-based movement inside of it. Longines also produces the reference L27734783 which is a 42mm wide version of the Master Collection also outfitted with the L687 movement for those who want a slightly larger case. The challenge with a 40mm wide case is that it must look proportional given the relatively high nearly 14mm thick case, which is made necessary by the movement. This is less of an issue with a wider 42mm wide or larger case. What Longines does in order to visually reduce mass is to highly round both the polished steel bezel as well as the caseback. To the eyes, this technique results in a case that appears less thick than it actually is.

Longines Master Collection Moon Phase Chronograph L2.673.4.78.3 Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews Longines Master Collection Moon Phase Chronograph L2.673.4.78.3 Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

With 30 meters of water resistance this isn’t a sports watch, but it is designed with enough durability to serve as a daily-wear timepiece. On the brown alligator strap this Master Collection L26734783 has a slick, old-world style appeal to it. Longines also offers the same watch in a matching steel metal bracelet in the reference L26734786 that lends it a slightly more contemporary feel. I further appreciate that Longines does not charge a premium for the metal bracelet. Whether or not you order the Master Collection moon phase chronograph on the strap or bracelet, the price is the same. That said, Longines does charge $225 more for the 42mm wide versus the 40mm wide version.

Longines Master Collection Moon Phase Chronograph L2.673.4.78.3 Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

There is nothing particularly revolutionary about this watch, nor does it attempt to be. Longines at its best offers a traditional, handsome timepiece in a modernly constructed and worry-free package. Longines benefits from its rich history and deep industrial resources by being part of the Swatch Group, delivering real value and product quality to global watch lovers. For that reason Longines is one of the Swatch Group’s best performing brands, and in some parts of the world it is their absolute best performing brand. As a seasoned watch collector, I see Longines as having specific value to new or more casual watch collectors with most of their products such as the Master Collection. Once in a while Longines does however release something that even veteran watch collectors simply must have. Easy to wear and enjoy, the Longines Master Collection reference L2.673.4.78.3 watch has a retail price of $3,325 USD. See more at the Longines website here.

Necessary Data
>Brand: Longines
>Model: Master Collection reference L2.673.4.78.3
>Price: $3,325 USD.
>Size: 40mm-wide, approx. 14mm-thick, and approx. 46mm lug-to-lug distance.
>When reviewer would personally wear it: As a complicated dial-style classic/traditional watch for regular to formal wear.
>Friend we’d recommend it to first: More casual watch collector or enthusiasts fascinated by highly complicated timepieces but unwilling or unable to purchase a very expensive calendar/chronograph watch.
>Best characteristic of watch: Excellent overall design refinement and product quality for the price, which is typical of many Longines watches. Good use of design language to make thicker case appear more svelte. Legible dial with attractive decorative elements.
>Worst characteristic of watch: With the model being around for a few years it is a bit confusing that what is largely the same watch has two different movements floating around depending on the version. Design of the crown and chronograph pushers is effective but still a bit uninspiring and lacks visual interest.

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  • James Honour

    Am I alone in thinking Longines attempts to deliver a premium feel product at a good value price, but achieves neither?

    • Independent_George

      The street price is going to be lower than $3K, and Swatch does Longines right with movement build and quality, so I feel Longines does offer excellent value.

      As for the premium feel, I agree. The machined barleycorn dial, the highly polished cases and safe, decades-old designs don’t do the trick for me. But I think for the non-collector/enthusiast, for someone who wants an entry-level, Swiss luxury watch from a heritage brand with build quality and reliability, backed by a large watch conglomerate that can offer solid after-sales servicing, you really can’t go wrong with Longines.

      • spice

        Agree with most, just wish Longines would do similar with lumed hands & indices or points. In my experience Longines produce “solid” watches.

    • cluedog12

      This one’s not exactly an aesthetically pleasing piece, due to the just ok stamped finish and unbalanced dial. It does look better in person though, where the texture pops.

      When the aesthetics are stronger, the result goes from uninspiring to quite good. See the Heritage Pulsometer Chronograph, for example. The lacquer dial is very nicely executed, the date window is not too intrusive and the red text on the dial certainly pops. It definitely feels like a premium product.

  • Mikita

    Hmm, it looks surprisingly slim for 775X based watch. Some other brands may take a lesson from Longines how to use this movement without making wrist barrels.

  • James Honour

    Is it me, or does Longines attempt to offer a premium watch proposition at a value price fail on both counts?

  • SuperStrapper

    Longines has had this watch in the cataloge for decades it seems like.

    • cluedog12

      Well they can’t put it in their Heritage Collection because it’s just…ok.

  • SwissMatic

    Very nice. I’d like to see the price of this once it hits the grey market. I like the styling and I’d like a moon phase and a chronograph.

  • Leonarr

    Looks like a solid offer, and surely can be had for under 2000 dollars at some point. I haven’t seen that many 7751 powered watches that look this good (or at least haven’t been priced any lower), and the column-wheel is an excellent addition that adds value!

    Really makes me re-evaluate my antipathy against Longines as a brand, maybe they’re on to something these days.

  • This is one of the watches I feel I “SHOULD” like but that just doesn’t work for me. Despite its busy dial and complications it feels too plain and lacking in character.

    One thing I will say is that in terms of value, it’s a hell of a great proposition in the busy-dress category!

    • Independent_George

      This.

  • Raymond Wilkie

    I love the brand but this does nothing for me for all the usual reasons.

  • Guy Horesh

    a freind of me have the watch in gold with dark blue aligator strap, it looks very respecteble and i catch.
    unfortunatly the metal version with brown strap just dont cut in the same way.

  • cluedog12

    It’s easy to appreciate this watch, if for no other reason than the fact that its success allows Longines offer enthusiasts the Weems, the Hour Angle, the Legend Diver, the Big Eye Chronograph and the Monopusher Chronographs.

  • NaJo

    I loved the new master moonphase. This one is mumbojumbo! Pass

  • Mikita

    You are probably right – have to see it in person to make a conclusion on whether it sits tall on the wrist or not. Anyway, hard to mask 7750 roots 🙂

  • Mikita

    Funny, but same happened to me around 10-12 years ago. I’ve seen a huge billboard in the center of Minsk with Longines, and as I remember, it was also from Master collection. Since I had to cross the center of the city like almost every day, I’ve been looking at it every time. Damn, it looked gorgeous in that promotion. So, eventually, it made me interested in watches (again) and I started from lower end like Candino, Seiko 5, Orient, etc. and later got my first Longines, Bell & Ross, etc. But it was Longines Master which got me interested in watches again.

    • egznyc

      Wow – I can really relate to your experience! I’ll always have a soft spot for this brand, even though I may never, in fact, bother to purchase.

      Similarly, I remember my fascination around a decade ago when I stumbled into a store selling Hamiltons. Hell, it might’ve been the same store that was selling Longines watches, but I’m not sure now with the passage of so much time. Unlike with Longines, I actually bought a Hamilton about five years later – though it was a dressy piece and one that didn’t yet exist pre-2010 when I visited that store. It was their military and pilot watches that first caught my eye.

      And like you, I remember regularly seeing in NYC – a little more recently – a couple of billboards advertising Omega watches (I think an Aqua Terra and a Seamaster 300), which reinforced my interest in these watches (though their prices were out of my range).

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