Since introducing the Spirit collection in 2020, Longines has expanded the series to include a fairly diverse assortment of models. Earlier this year in March, Longines announced the Spirit Flyback, which takes the core blueprint of the Spirit platform and pairs it with a flyback chronograph functionality. Longines created the world’s first two-pusher flyback chronograph in 1925, and it has since become one of the brand’s long-standing signature complications, with its appearance in the Spirit line representing a significant step forward for the collection. Now as a follow-up release for 2023, the brand has created a new version of the flyback chronograph that appeared earlier this year, and the latest rendition of the Longines Spirit Flyback takes the popular design of the inaugural model and renders it in grade 5 titanium.
At a quick glance, this new version of the Longines Spirit Flyback is essentially the same watch that we previously covered back in March, although it is now crafted entirely from brushed and polished grade 5 titanium. As before, the case measures 42mm in diameter by a properly portly 17mm thick, although as we mentioned in our initial hands-on review, a clever design and considered proportions ultimately allow the Spirit Flyback to wear quite a bit thinner once it is actually on the wrist. The top of the case is furnished by a domed sapphire crystal surrounded by a bidirectional rotating bezel with a black ceramic inset, while the reverse side of the watch receives a screw-on caseback that has a flat sapphire display window. Like the original stainless steel models, a signed crown flanked by a set of pump-style pushers protrude from the right-hand side of the case, and the crown screws down to help ensure the model’s 100 meters of water resistance.
The design of the dial is identical to what can be found on the stainless steel models, with applied Arabic numeral markers and a two-register layout, although the new titanium Longines Spirit Flyback features a slightly different colorway compared to its siblings. Rather than being fitted with a matching black dial, the new titanium version of the Longines Spirit Flyback pairs its black ceramic bezel with a dark anthracite gray dial that has a subtle sunray finish. Like the black dial version of the stainless steel model, the new titanium Spirit Flyback also features bronze-colored accents on its dial and hands, although it embraces a slightly more sporty aesthetic with bright red highlights for the “Flyback” text on its dial and for the tip of its centrally-mounted chronograph seconds hand.
Powering the new titanium Longines Spirit Flyback is the same Caliber L791.4 automatic flyback chronograph movement that can be found inside its stainless steel counterparts, which is produced specifically for Longines by its Swatch Group sibling company ETA. Running at a frequency of 28,800vph (4 Hz) with a power reserve of approximately 68 hours, the Longines Cal. L791.4 features a silicon balance spring for superior chronometry and resistance to magnetism, along with a column wheel to control its chronograph functions. Additionally, just as the text on the lower half of the dial indicates, the Longines Spirit Flyback is a COSC-certified chronometer, and the Cal. L791.4 movement inside it is therefore guaranteed to keep time within the stringent standards of -4/+6 seconds per day.
At the time of launch, the new titanium version of the Longines Spirit Flyback is only available in a single colorway, although buyers do have the option of either a NATO-style strap or a matching grade 5 titanium bracelet. From a design standpoint, the bracelet is identical to what can be found on the stainless steel models, and it features a three-link design with brushed surfaces and small polished highlights bordering the center links. Similarly, the clasp features a double-folding design with a push-button release, and the end links connect to the lugs with an integrated quick-release system. Meanwhile, the black and gray NATO strap features a matching titanium buckle, and it has been exclusively produced for this new titanium version of the Spirit Flyback chronograph.
Titanium almost always comes at a premium compared to otherwise identical watches made from stainless steel, and the new titanium Longines Spirit is accompanied by an official retail price of $4,850 USD when purchased on a strap (ref. L3.818.104.22.168) or $5,200 USD for the version on a matching titanium bracelet (ref. L3.822.214.171.124). All things considered, a premium of several hundred dollars for titanium seems fairly reasonable, and since the premium is tied to the material itself, the difference in price isn’t the same for the strap and bracelet versions of the model. When buying a stainless steel Longines Spirit Flyback, opting for the bracelet is only an extra $100; however, that premium increases to $350 should you want the bracelet for the new grade 5 titanium version. Even still, this price point seems fairly competitive for a titanium flyback chronograph from a big-name luxury brand, and I imagine that we will continue to see titanium play a greater role in Longines’ modern catalog. For more information on the Longines Spirit Flyback, please visit the brand’s website.