In the year in which the luxury Swiss brand celebrates 180 years of watchmaking tradition, Longines has decided to pay homage to its history with the new nostalgic Saint-Imier Collection that bears the name of the birthplace of the company and its current location after all these years. The new series that will be presented at Baselworld 2012 show is completely constructed with mechanical self-winding movements. Among the models in the series, the most exciting is the model with four retrograde functions. Besides, Longines will be revealing a few variations of the chronograph with a column wheel movement.
The entire collection of the manufacturer from the Swiss Jura mountains draws the inspiration from a model that was produced in 1945. The nostalgic appearance is enhanced with modern touches, such as SuperLuminova treatment on the hands, and it tries to offer the best characteristics from traditional and contemporary periods. Each of the models includes water resistance to 30 m and anti-reflective sapphire protection of the dials. As previously said, all the models have automatic mechanical movements which can be seen through the transparent case backs constructed from sapphire.
The Choice of Materials, Sizes and Colors
The most basic types of watches from the collection include the indications of hours, minutes, seconds, as well as date display that sits at the three o’clock position. There are 18 different variations with the same watchmaking traits which can be distinguished by the various case and bracelet materials, dial colors, case diameters and decorations. The round cases are constructed in four different sizes – 26 mm, 30 mm, 38.5 mm and 41 mm, to cover the broader range of preferences and tastes. As well for the case sizes, there are options for different materials. It will be possible to pick among stainless steel, steel and rose gold, and rose gold models. The dials are going to be available in black, silver and white mother-of-pearl tone with diamond hour markers. Besides, the potential buyers of these models can choose among an alligator leather strap (brown or black), a stainless steel bracelet, or the one that combines steel and rose gold. Each of them is fastened with a safety clasp that matches the dial.
Two smaller models (with the diameters of 26 mm and 30 mm) are manufactured with automatic Calibre L595 movement, made from the base ETA 2000/1 movement. It has 20 jewels and runs on 28,800 vibrations per hour. The self-winding mechanism includes a power reserve of 40 hours. Two bigger options with hour, minute, second and date functions are powered by Calibre L619 mechanisms (base movement ETA 2892/A2) with 21 jewels. This movement runs on the same frequency as the previous one and has two more hours of power reserve (42).
Column Wheel Chronograph
Watch enthusiasts that cherish technical characteristics more than visual decorations will certainly be more excited about the new chronographs from the Saint-Imier series. These timepieces are equipped with L688.2 movements (base movements ETA A08.231) that were designed and constructed exclusively for Longines by ETA. These chrono mechanisms are supplied with column wheels which act as a protection of the movement during the activation of the chrono function. The column wheel component is one of the earliest solutions to this hazard. It is the traditional way to protect the mechanism, but also the one that demands complicated production. Nowadays, most of the manufacturers are inclined to use different methods to overcome the problem, such as the inclusion of an oscillation pinion. Chronos with column wheels are more exclusive and rare, and therefore more expensive. Calibre L688.2 self-winding mechanical movement has 27 jewels, runs on 28,800 vph and features a power reserve of 54 hours.
There are also various options for the chronographs from the Saint-Imier Collection, regarding the case sizes, materials, dial colors and straps. Like with the first novelty, this one is also available in steel, steel and rose gold, or rose gold. Two used case diameters are 39 mm and 41 mm, while the color of the dial can be black or silver.
Four Retrograde Functions Plus Day/Night and Moon Phase Indications
At the end, we will present the flagship model of the entire collection that was envisioned as an example of the brands watchmaking expertise. It has the largest case diameter of all other timepieces from the series (it is round and 44 mm wide) and its dial with Arabic numerals flaunts no less than four retrograde displays (these include the day of the week, date, second time zone and a small seconds indication). Apart from these complications, it is also supplied with a day and night display, as well as with the moon phase indication.
Just like the chronographs, the flagship model houses a special movement that ETA designed and produced for Longines. The mechanism in question is Calibre L707 (base movement ETA A07.L31) mechanical automatic movement with 25 jewels. It features the frequency of 4 HZ and a power reserve of two days. As for all the other models in the series, Longines has enabled its future customers to choose different types of dials and bracelets (the only option for material is stainless steel). The silver dial is made with black numerals, while the black one includes numerals in white color. Besides, it is possible to choose between an alligator leather strap (brown or black) with a folding safety clasp and a steel bracelet that fastens with a triple folding safety clasp.