My Pick for Baselworld 2016: Longines Heritage 1918

Founded in 1832 by Auguste Agassiz, Longines is one of the oldest brands in watchmaking history. The brand’s first calibre for a wristwatch was developed in 1913, the 13.33z. Featuring a single push-piece which engages a 30-min chronograph accurate to 1/5 of a second, this chronograph movement is one of the first to be used in a wristwatch.

vintage-longines-monopusher-caliber13.33Z

Aug. Ericsson, a reputable Swedish watchmaker uses the Longines calibre 13.33z in his ‘bracelet-chronograph’ wristwatch in the early 20th century

For this year’s Baselworld, Longines took heavy reference from their history in the 1910s with the introduction of the Longines Heritage 1918. This elegant timepiece mimics the aesthetics of the vintage-inspired ‘bracelet-chronographs’ design, which looks kind of like a small pocketwatch tilted 90 degrees to the right with wired lugs.

One look at the dial brings you back in time; the white-lacquered dial with its maxi honey-coloured Arabic numerals and blue-steeled vintage aviator-styled hands are the first features you will notice, and it’s hard to miss that beautifully polished onion crown. A sub-dial indicating the seconds is placed perfectly above the 6 o’clock marker but I find the date window to be slightly distracting which, in my opinion, contradicts the whole vintage styling of the watch. That, however, is not a deal-breaker.

heritage_the-longines-heritage-1918-9_rgb

Longines Heritage 1918 housing the calibre L615. Beautiful, ain’t it?

Unlike its vintage predecessors, the Heritage 1918 is powered by the calibre L615—a modified ETA 2895-2 automatic movement. Pretty much a standard workhouse movement beating at 28,800bph with 42-hour power reserve. Interestingly, this elegant vintage-inspired timepiece aims for the wrists of both men and women, coming in two sizes at 38.5mm and 41mm on a matching honey-coloured alligator skin with tang buckle.

In summary, the Longines Heritage 1918 is targeted at discerning watch enthusiasts who are familiar with Longines’ long history in watchmaking and those who are looking for a watch with an authentic early 20th century vibe. It is not a casual ‘see-it-buy-it’ watch that appeals to the general watch seekers. The vintage design of this watch may appear gaudy to some but I feel that it is appropriately executed (come on, it’s a #throwback watch!).

Retail price for the Longines Heritage 1918 is US$1,750.

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