Editor’s note: The Longines Heritage Classic Chronograph ‘Tuxedo’ retails for 4’550 AUD. Today’s quick hands-on review has been brought with the grateful assistance of Linda & Co Designer Jewellers. For our detailed hands-on reviews, please head to our dedicated reviews section here.
A “one watch collection” is technically an oxymoron. But scour the forums and talk to genuine watch enthusiasts, and the term makes sense. Lots of us are always in search of that one watch, that can transcend genres and can make us forget about buying more watches, and call it a day (though let’s admit it, the latter ain’t happening).
The usual suspects end up sounding like a smorgasbord of stereotypical iconic watches like the Rolex Submariner or Date-just vintage Linen dial, Tudor BB58 Gilt, Cartier Tank, AP Royal Oak, GS Skyflake, Omega Aqua Terra or Speedmaster amongst others.
Taking a different route, today we go hands-on with last year’s surprise hit, the Longines Heritage Classic Chronograph ‘Tuxedo’ ref. L2.8126.96.36.199. In the world of countless watches, this one stands apart as a major player for anyone wanting to fill that “one watch collection” void.
Reason 1: It’s Got The Right Curves
Measuring 40 x 13.60mm, it is inspired by a vintage Longines watch and features a beautifully understated yet elegant silver dial with black accents that form the canvas for printed Art Deco Arabic numerals, silvered polished leaf-shaped hour and minute hands, and eclectically blued chronograph hands.
The bi-compax layout is classic with modern touches, and the dial’s symmetry and proportions are spot on (with thanks to the rather custom-designed movement).
The curves of the inner silvered dial with a finely grained texture beautifully contrast with the deep, matte black ring, which is again further off-set by a silvered internal bezel with a tachymeter scale. The way the curves of the silvered and sunken sub-counters ‘eat into’ the circular curve of the black hour marker track makes for a visually pleasing timepiece.
The size of the Arabic numerals is also just right for the case size, and the timepiece will be legible even for those whose eyesight has had a rendezvous with the harshness of age.
If you look very carefully, the subdials have an azurage treatment — though it is hardly visible at a glance which is a bummer — and are framed by a metallic ring that complements the silvered hands and helps in providing a deal of three-dimensional play to the dial.
Owing to the domed boxed sapphire crystal, the periphery of the dial is visually warped when looking straight on, and that brings in a sense of depth to the dial along with a curve on the side, making the Longines Heritage Classic Chronograph ‘Tuxedo’ an interesting watch to look at.
Moving on to the case design, the case overall features a number of dimensions, introducing a welcome design architecture to the case.
- The diameter is 40mm
- The diameter including pushers and crown is 44.2mm
- Lug-to-lug is a manageable 49.2mm
- Given the watch features a stepped case, the measurement of the outermost band is 40mm, followed by 37.6mm of the middle band, and finally, the actual dial itself measures only 36mm
- The overall thickness is 13.6mm but again, thanks to the stepped profile, the measurements are: the lowest case-back layer is 2mm, the polished case-band on top is 6.7mm which is joined at the same level with a brushed band that is 2.6mm. The next layer is 1.1mm and finally, the domed sapphire crystal is 1.2mm.
As one would expect from a renowned Swiss luxury watch brand, these finer details and introduction of various textures and surfaces add a level of detail not really exhibited by brands at this price point, and manages to elevate the appeal of the Longines Heritage Classic Chronograph ‘Tuxedo’.
Reason 2: Film Noir On Your Wrist
Film noir has got be one of my favourite genres of moviemaking. It is generally characterised by memorable black and white aesthetics, stylish filmography, and tense yet gripping story-telling. Anyone who has watched these movies will agree that the Longines Heritage Classic Chronograph ‘Tuxedo’ is almost a watch incarnation of this style.
And even if it is not an American gangster’s watch in a film noir movie, it’s something I can picture Humphrey Bogart’s character Rick in the 1942 classic Casablanca wearing while Ingrid Bergman’s character famously asks Rick’s friend and house pianist Sam to play the movie’s haunting track ‘As Time Goes By’.
Coincidently, Humphrey Bogart does wear a Longines in the movie, though it was a different collection, the Evidenza.
And as the 1944 film noir classic Laura’s famous dialogue goes, “I can afford a blemish on my character, but not on my clothes”, the Longines may have a blemish or two — and more on that in a bit — but aesthetically, it’s a vision of black and white perfection bringing glamour to your wrist.
In regards to the blemishes, the only grief I have here is the somewhat low 30m water resistance. But for those who don’t call water bodies their second home, it should not be an issue.
Another aspect a lot of watch enthusiasts, including present company, are not a fan of is the 19mm lug interhorn spacing. Frankly, to have a more universal appeal, just like the Longines Heritage Classic Chronograph 1946 that boasts of the same movement, case diameter and same RRP of 4’550 AUD, they should have gone for the universal 20mm interhorn spacing on the Tuxedo Chronograph.
Talking about straps, the watch would look much better on an alligator or a lizard strap that would bring in a more formal look, though its current plain-ish calf leather strap brings in a subtle discreet vibe. To be honest, if the watch also came with a complimentary jubilee-style bracelet and an alternate formal strap, the overall package would have been very irresistible and blown the competition away.
At the end of the day, what matters is is your personal taste; to me, the Longines Tuxedo has enough film noir oomph to be a must in every collection (or be THE watch as its own collection).
Reason 3: It’s Ready For Daily Wear
The case front is covered with a scratch-resistant sapphire crystal, with several layers of anti-reflective coating on the underside, both aspects ensuring that the timepiece looks pristine for a long time and unwanted glares are removed for better readability.
The Longines Heritage Classic Chronograph ‘Tuxedo’ is powered by the calibre L895 which is derived from ETA A31.L21, which in turn is an upgrade from the ETA 2892.
It is a trustworthy movement that equips (and upgrades) the timepiece with a silicon hair-spring that helps against the dark side of the magnetic forces and a very decent 54-hour power reserve. The increased power reserve technically for someone with just this one watch makes no difference but it’s good to have should you take off your watch for a day or two as it won’t wind down.
The calibre L895 beats with the Swiss watch industry-standard 4Hz frequency ensuring that the annoying ticking of a quartz watch is not felt, and the relatively smoother sweep of 8 beats per second of the second’s hand is left to entice you.
The Longines Heritage Classic Chronograph ‘Tuxedo’ is a dress watch with added sports watch aesthetic thanks to the chronograph complication, and for those who are partial to this complication but until now found it hard to justify its wear on formal occasions, the Tuxedo Longines provides with an excellent option.
It is ideal for those who are not obsessed with diving and want a simplistic, timeless watch that combines elegance with daily wear practicality (and for that added peace of mind, Longines throws in the 5-year warranty).
Reason 4: Pocket-friendly Heritage & Glamour
Like the new Breitling Premier collection from Watches & Wonders 2021 that took roots in the 1940s just when the world was grappling with WW2 and then revelling in celebrations post that carnage, the Longines Heritage Classic Chronograph ‘Tuxedo’ takes inspiration from Longines historic watches from the 1940s.
To be precise, the Longines Heritage Classic Chronograph ‘Tuxedo’ is based on a 1943 Longines Chronograph and pretty much mimics that watch. There are of course some modern updates such as larger case size, new movement, they have flipped or mirrored the two counters, and have added the ‘Swiss Made’ text at 6’o clock.
But while the new Breitling Premier B09 Chronograph 40 retails for a much higher 10’990 AUD, you find the Longines offering at a much more palatable 4’550 AUD. Granted they both have their differences, but at the end of the day, they are both similar dimension dress-chronographs inspired by the Jazz Age.
In essence, the Longines Heritage Classic Chronograph ‘Tuxedo’ walks the thin line of vintage watches that manage to successfully blend into contemporary timepieces very well.
Of course, there will be numerous timepiece that will cost less than it, including my personal Undone Tom & Jerry LE bi-compax watch below. But for 4’550 AUD, one gets a true heritage-inspired watch from the extensive vintage catalogue of Longines rather than a new brand ‘borrowing’ elements, a somewhat in-house or tailored to the watch layout mechanical movement, a sapphire crystal, 54-hours power reserve, and a very handsome, versatile and legible dial.
For those who are wanting to dip their toes into this complex but exciting world of mechanical watches, and want a watch that features both dress and sports elements, and wish to own a slice of the Swiss watch industry, the Longines Tuxedo is a very smashing option.
Reason 5: How Nicely It Sits On The Wrist
Coming in at 83g, the watch is not too heavy to feel its weight on a daily basis, nor too lightweight that it doesn’t feel substantial enough on the wrist.
On my nearly 16cm wrist, thanks to less than 50mm lug-to-lug its diameter didn’t look out of place, and given that the actual dial is only 36mm, the watch sits well on smaller wrists.
It did not overhang or protrude non-welcomingly and the multiple levelled case explained earlier helps the watch wear quite low on the wrist, not looking like an overbearing sports watch. The 13.6mm thickness should fit under most cuffs as well.
Like the recent Longines Spirit Prestige Edition ref. L3.810.4.93.9 we reviewed last week, the lugs curve a fair bit, working along ergonomically with the curve of your wrist, thereby sitting quite nicely.
That’s All Folks!
The incorporation of the curves and 3D effect, whether be it in the case or on the dial is perhaps the best quality of this release. Add to that vintage vibes that transcend time and you have a winner. The inclusion of blue on a silver-white dial brings glitz, and the fact that half of the case band is polished (including the lugs) and contrasts superbly with the brushed layer is simply worth commending.
Anyone in the market for one prized watch that does it all besides meeting underwater bodies is in luck; the Longines Heritage Classic Chronograph ‘Tuxedo is definitely a top contender for the “One Watch Collection”.
To find out more about the Longines Heritage Classic Chronograph ‘Tuxedo’ ref. L2.8188.8.131.52 and other Longines watches, please head to their website here or visit their authorised retailer Linda & Co at various locations such as Broadway (02 9212 3633), Rhodes Waterside (02 9736 1175), and Macquarie Centre (02 9889 0692). 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.