October 3, 2017
by Kenny Yeo
Chronometric performance is a subject we often don’t talk about when it comes to new watches. For the most part, we are only focused on the aesthetics and we tell ourselves that if we really want to know the precise time, we should stick to quartz watches or our phones (or smartwatches). That may be true, but I certainly won’t want to be wearing a watch, no matter how beautiful it is, if it’s unreliable with accuracy. As a result, I have a soft spot for watches that are chronometer-certified and one of the big new releases from Longines this year at Baselworld is the introduction of their first all COSC-certified collection called the Longines Record.
It is no secret by now that the Swiss watch industry is in a bit of a pickle. After an extended period of tremendous growth, exports have fallen considerably over the past two or so years. Watch brands are reacting to this in two main ways: a) give watch lovers and collectors what they want and b) offer more value for their money. Watch enthusiasts today love vintage-inspired watches, and as a result, Longines has given us recent hits like the Heritage 60th Anniversary watch and the Pulsometer chronograph. These two watches are prime examples of listening to buyers and giving them what they want.
On the other hand, the new Longines Record collection is an example of offering more bang for the buck. As most readers might know, getting certification from COSC (Contrôle Officiel Suisse des Chronomètres) costs money and that adds to the overall price of the watch. However, the good thing about a COSC certification is that it is a guarantee that the watch will run accurately. In case you have forgotten, to receive COSC certification, the movement within must meet an average daily rate of between -4 to +6 seconds a day. It must also meet criteria in other measurements such as mean variation in rate, greatest variation in rate, and rate variation due to temperature changes. Long story short, COSC certification ensures that you have a watch that won’t make you run late for your appointments.
The Longines Record collection is available in four sizes and in a variety of different dials. The four sizes available are 40mm, 38.5mm, 30mm, and 26mm, so there is something for everyone. The cases are all made out of stainless steel, have mostly polished surfaces, and have a very classic, elegant design. It is undoubtedly a very dressy piece. The cases are all water resistant to 30m and have sapphire display casebacks for owners to admire the movement.
The larger 40mm and 38.5mm models are powered by the Caliber L888.4 (ETA A31.L11), while the smaller 30mm and 26mm models are powered by the Longines Caliber L592.4 (ETA A20.L11). These movements are all manufactured by ETA (but exclusive to Longines) and sent to COSC for chronometer certification. It runs at 25,200vph and it has a power reserve of 64 hours – nearly three days. They are also decently finished with a generous application of perlage and a rotor that has Côtes de Genève and the skeletonized “wings” logo of Longines.
We didn’t manage to get our hands on all of the watches in the Record collection, but we did manage to try out a couple of them in 40mm, 38.5mm, and 30mm size. You can get the 40mm and 38.5mm Record watches with either a steel bracelet or an alligator strap. There are six dial options to choose from and they are as follows:
We got to see the white matte one as well as the silver one with a mixture of Arabic and triangular bar indices, and they are pretty sweet. The silver dial variant has an exquisite sunray finish and the sword-shaped hands, which are rhodium plated, are well-sized and highly legible. The decision to go with a mixture of both Arabic numerals and triangular bar indices is a good one as it prevents the dial from looking too sterile. Longines has also cleverly decided to give the dial minimal text, with only the Longines brand and logo at 12 o’clock and a simple “Automatic Chronometer” at 6 o’clock. My only complaint is that the date wheel should be in silver to match the dial.
The version with the matte white dial and Roman numeral hour indices is nice too. It looks much more elaborate than the silver dial version, likely due to the large Roman numerals. This version of the Longines Record also has sword-shaped hands, but instead of being rhodium-plated, they are blued steel. As a result, they provide a bright contrast against the pure white dial. The blued steel hands are really the highlight of the watch as they change hue depending on how light falls on them. They can appear as bright blue one moment and almost black the next. Another thing to note is that on this version, the color of the date window matches that of the dial almost perfectly, which, to my eyes at least, looks more harmonious. The steel bracelet has a mix of satin and mirror polishing and is comfortable on the wrist.
We got the chance to handle the smaller 30mm Longines Record too. The 30mm and 26mm variants were designed for women and have 8 different dial variants to choose from. On top of the six that I mentioned above, the 30mm and 28mm models also have an additional white mother-of-pearl dial with diamond indices. The 30mm and 28mm also have case variants that come set with diamonds.
The 30mm Record watch we handled was the variant with a sunray silver dial with baton indices. Obviously, it wears a lot smaller, but it also came off as a little disproportional as I found the case to be a little too thick relative to the width of the case. Even so, the decision by Longines to offer a 30mm (and 26mm) mechanical chronometer-certified watch for ladies is worth applauding.
Overall, I found the 38mm version of the Longines Record with the silver dial with Arabic and triangular bar indices to be the most pleasant. The size of the case, its thickness, and the dial look just right to me. It is neither too petite nor too big, and the dial has just the right amount of stuff such that it neither looks too dull or too cluttered.
Having said that, the rest of the Record collection watches are really enjoyable too. But more importantly, it is encouraging to see Longines offer thoughtfully designed watches with chronometric performance in mind. Even more impressive perhaps is that they have smaller variants that were designed with women in mind. The non-diamond Longines Record collection ranges from $1,875-$2,025 (diamond models start from $2,375 and go to $4,375) from and they are definitely worth checking out if you love or are looking for a dressier kind of watch. longines.com