Reach For The Stars: Going Hands-on With The New Longines Spirit Prestige Edition ref. L3.810.4.93.9
Editor’s note: The new Longines Spirit Prestige Edition retails for 4’150 AUD. Today’s quick hands-on review has been brought with the grateful assistance of Linda & Co Designer Jewellers Broadway. For our detailed hands-on reviews, please head to our dedicated reviews section here.
An Affair To Remember
A vintage pilot’s watch had a fling with a contemporary dress watch, and just to spruce up its affairs, also had a rendezvous with a sports watch. The result: a surprisingly fresh Longines Spirit collection that manages to take the best of all these worlds and presents them in a pocket-friendly avatar.
The big, bold, lume filled and highly legible numerals and the diamond-shaped indexes cohort with the oversized crown playing for team vintage; a somewhat large 40mm case for a modern dress watch is chosen as the stadium, and the sunray burst of enthusiastic dark blue is selected for the pitch, where typical pencil-shaped hands and a red-tipped second’s hand are called to bat.
To ensure that these don’t topple under pressure, the mixture of 100m of water-resistance, a screw-in crown, domed sapphire crystal with multi-layered anti-reflective coating on both sides and COSC-certified movement with an anti-magnetic silicon hairspring is injected into the concoction, ensuring watch enthusiasts and collectors have a wonderful and trustworthy daily wearable watch by their side as they explore their own escapades.
To ensure that none of the players lose steam, the Longines Spirit collection comes with a 72-hour power-reserve.
And the presence of five appliqué stars on the dial certify the brand’s legacy of high quality timepieces that have adorned the wrist of pioneers such as Amelia Earhart, Paul-Emile Victor, Elinor Smith and Howard Hughes. For 3’200 AUD or 4’650 AUD, there is a whole lotta punch to floor any rival.
Meet The Parents
Last year Longines introduced a new series within their Sports collection, the Longines Spirit. This line-up features a total of 24 references, 18 in the three-hander and date version and 6 in the chronograph version. The three-hander version is further split into either the entry-level Spirit range or the slightly higher-end Spirit Prestige Editions (one of which we are going hands-on with here today).
All of these watches come in an option of either a blue sunray dial, a matte black dial, or a handsome textured silver dial.
The latter are essentially more premium wrapped offerings, that offer the same timepieces but in a different box with a different steel bracelet and two other strap options. The basic Spirit edition of the watch ref. L3.810.4.93.6 we are reviewing today retails for 3’200 AUD.
This year, keeping in line with green-themed watches from Watches & Wonders 2021, they have allegedly also released a green dial variation in 4 options, with the reference L3.810.4.03.2 with a matte green dial and a complementary taupe-brown strap being my favourite. I can not find this listed on their website yet, so maybe it’s just a rumour, but search the depths of the internet and you will find it.
Essentially, the new Longines Spirit Prestige Edition ref. L3.810.4.93.9 is a COSC-certified 40mm x 12.20mm — 49.4mm lug-to-lug and 145g on the bracelet — stainless steel watch with a screw-in crown and 100m water-resistance. Inside the watch beats the calibre L888.4 that provides an impressive 72-hour power reserve.
In A Heartbeat
In 2017 the brand popped its all COSC-certified lineup cherry by offering the Longines Record collection. Inside that collection beats the same heart as the new Longines Spirit collection, the ETA2892-A2 derived ETA A31.L11 that is further presented in an exclusive movement called the caliber L888.4.
Come to think of it, the new Spirit Prestige Edition ref. L3.810.4.93.9 seems derived from the similar Record ref. L2.8220.127.116.11. Aesthetically, of course, the former is more geared towards aviation and field watches while the latter is purely a dress watch.
The calibre L888.4 is an automatic, COSC-certified, 25.60mm diameter movement featuring 21 jewels, a silicon balance spring, beating at the odd-ish frequency of 3.5 Hz (25’200 vph), and provides the functions of central hours, minutes, seconds and a date complication. It is a Longines exclusive and used rather only within the Record & Spirit collections. It improves upon the base ETA calibre 2892-A2 by substantially increasing the power reserve from 42-hours to the present range and should have an accuracy of -4 to +6 seconds per day.
The Stand Up Guys
The media pictures do not do this release justice. The sunburst of the dial and the overall execution, finishes and materials can be appreciated far more in person.
The feature that I loved the most was the execution of certain subtle details:
- The diamond shaped hour marker lume pips of the chapter ring are in the form of cutouts that nicely integrate the raised outer flange with minute track with the lower dial
- These on one hand complement the pointy design of the stars, the latter being an ode to the original Longines Admirals from end 1950s
- On the other hand, they provide a more three-dimensional play and depth to the dial, acting as a bridge between the chapter rings and the main dial
- And third, these diamond-shaped pips are the same dimension as the diamond-shaped pip on the second’s hand, providing a great sense of coherency
- Talking about the second’s hand, not only do I appreciate the subtle burst of red colour, but also attention to detail that can be admired when the hand passes over any of these hour marker lume pips; both are perfectly aligned
- The red burst of colour also reminds me of the similar Hi-Beat offering from Grand Seiko, the SBGR321. Two different watches, but the red on a stark blue background is akin to catching a glimpse of the sun flirting with the dawn
- The mix of pushed and brushed surfaces on the case adds nuance especially around the lugs and the bezel sides
- The oversized crown that tapers inwards and the presence of a closed case-back that harps to a more tool, practical and aviation-themed aesthetic
Wish You Were Here
- The pricing could be challenged. Compared to many IWC and Breitling offerings, it’s pretty reasonably priced. But on the flip side, of course, if you throw Hamilton or Christopher Ward into the mix, that’s another story
- I like watches with dates and the 3’o clock position is balanced, but the execution ain’t top-notch; it needs to have an appliqué frame around it to work in sync with the appliqué numerals. Or at least a printed window like in 2017’s Longines Record collection. That said, I do admire the faux-patina on the numerals. That’s another attention to detail that I admire
- The lugs are a bit on the longer side, especially for someone like me with slimmer wrists of about 16cm. But for someone with large wrists, who doesn’t like the cut-out ‘3’ of the larger 42mm diameter version, this watch with its ~50mm lug-to-lug spacing will be a great option and given the lugs curve a fair bit, they don’t stick out on the wrist
- The 21mm lug interhorn spacing is a bummer, given aftermarket alternatives can be an issue. This is also more painful as the Longines Record ref. L2.818.104.22.168 features a very similar case and includes a 20mm lug interhorn spacing. Thankfully with the new Longines Spirit Prestige Edition, one gets to have two additional straps: the watch comes on a stainless steel bracelet with a double safety folding clasp and push-piece opening mechanism, a second blue leather strap and a third brown leather NATO strap
- An interesting observation is, that upon introduction, the collection was marketed as featuring 64 hours of running time per full wind, but the website has now updated that to 72-hour power reserve. That’s not a critique obviously, just a comment on the fact that the brand should be more coherent in presenting the information
That’s All Folks!
On the whole, for either 3’200 AUD (if you don’t want the extra straps) or 4’150 AUD, one gets a retro-inspired, pilot’s watch aesthetics bearing handsome, ultra-legible, recognisable, and elegant sports-dress watch that lords over its competition thanks to its beautiful sunray blue dial with applied Arabic numerals and silvered sandblasted hands, both in-filled with dollops of Swiss Super-LumiNova®.
And the inclusion of a scratch-resistant sapphire crystal treated with several layers of anti-reflective coating on both sides, COSC-certification, 72-hour power-reserve and 100m water-resistance is simply a deal-maker, making the new Longines Spirit Prestige Edition a great daily wearable timepiece.
The simplistic dial is the star, and adding 5-stars (like a movie review) to this star of a dial is the five stars on the dial (see what I did there).
To find out more about the new Longines Spirit Prestige Edition ref. L3.810.4.93.9 and other Longines watches, please head to their website here or visit their authorised retailer Linda & Co Broadway at Shop 321 Level 3/1 Bay St, Ultimo NSW 2007 (02 9212 3633). All images unless otherwise specified are ©Watch Ya Gonna Do About It. On another note, if you like green watches, make sure to check out our reviews of Watches & Wonders 2021 releases here.