As any longtime reader of the “Vintage Eye” series knows, Longines is a major leader when it comes to vintage-inspired and vintage-reissue watches. With its neo-vintage Heritage collection, which includes attention-grabbing models like the Heritage Classic Chronograph 1946, Heritage Military Watch, and Heritage 1945, among many others, the Swiss brand has been at the forefront of capitalizing upon the nostalgic tastes of consumers.
This week we’ll be taking a look at the latest additions to the Longines Heritage collection: two new 1940s-inspired pieces called the Heritage Classic Tuxedo Chronograph and Heritage Classic Tuxedo Time-only. Both of these new models take their inspiration from the postwar period and the sector-dial designs that were popular at the time (vintage examples pictured above and below); incidentally, this is the same period from which our subject of last week, the Montblanc Heritage GMT, drew much of its influences. The new Tuxedo sub-series of watches are the second and third sector-dial watches released by Longines in the past year, following up the Heritage Classic “Sector” released in the fall of 2019.
In the new Heritage Classic Tuxedo Chronograph, we find an attractive vintage reissue with modest proportions and, of course, the fascinating two-toned dial from which it takes its name. The chronograph uses what is likely a highly wearable polished steel case — sized at 40 mm, with curved lugs on its top and bottom, slightly rounded rectangular lugs, a signed crown on its side, and an uncommon stepped bezel securing the domed sapphire crystal and providing the case with a slightly thicker appearance. Underneath the crystal, the vintage-style sector dial is accented throughout with blacks, whites, silvers, and blues. On the outer edge is the first step of the sectoring, with a white tachymetric scale accented in blue, dramatically transitioning to the first inner sector, now in black. This middle piece of the dial features a printed minute ring produced in a chronograph style, with vintage-style printed Arabic numerals for the hour indices, while two metal subdials for a 30-minute counter and running seconds break up the sector and conjoin it with the innermost area. On the final, central segment, colored off-white, we see the final details on the dial, such as the vintage Longines logo towards its top, leaf hands for the hour and minute, and a blue steel hand for the chronograph seconds.
Inside the Heritage Classic Tuxedo Chronograph is the Calibre L895 (based on the ETA A31.L21), which features 37 jewels, beats at 28,800 vph, and hosts a 54-hour power reserve.
The simpler but still very uncommon Heritage Classic Tuxedo Time-only most likely would strike fans of the brand as quite similar to the previous “Sector” timepiece launched by Longines last year. This model’s polished case opts for a slightly more modest size, 38.5 mm, and features slimmer lugs and a thicker, more modern signed crown on its side. Surrounding the watch’s face is a more traditional, smoothly rounded bezel rather than the stepped style seen on the chronograph, though the crystal protecting the dial is still a vintage-inspired domed sapphire. On the dial, we find a somewhat simpler configuration than that of the chronograph, with only two sections. On the black outer sector is a simple white-accented minute ring, with printed faux-patina Arabic numerals for the hour markers. Inside it is the inner sector which hosts a seconds subdial towards the 6 o’clock position, a vintage-style Longines logo in parallel toward 12 o’clock, and straight sword-style hands for the hour and minute.
The Time-only Tuxedo watch is powered by the Longines Caliber L893 (ETA A31.501), which features 27 jewels, 25,200 vibrations per hour, and maintains a relatively lengthy 64 hour power reserve.
Focusing in on the vintage traits of the two models, it’s clear Longines has made a clear significant effort in re-producing each model as faithfully as tenable. Specifically looking at the chronograph, the model is virtually identical in aesthetic sans a few differences in the font for the tachymeter (blue on the modern version), the opposite position of the subdial hands, and thicker and more rounded construction of the chronograph pushers. We don’t have specific specs available for the vintage model, though it stands to reason the modern edition is a few millimeters larger in diameter and thickness than the historical one. This would be due to more modern sizing preferences and the necessary result of using an automatic movement rather than a thinner, vintage manual-wound mechanism that would have been standard in the 1940s. The modern edition clearly benefits from modern finishing practices as well, with each of its elements “popping” a bit more than those seen on the vintage ancestor, allowing the historical design to flourish within a contemporary format.
The Time-only Tuxedo also offers a virtually identical reissue of a vintage edition. From the sector dial, vintage printed numerals, and uniquely styled hands, Longines went full force in developing a faithful re-creation of the historic watch. The few differences of note include the modern watch’s use of heavy amounts of faux patina in an effort to recall the aging process of the historic watch; the original likely was much more white than yellow when it was new. It’s also somewhat unclear from the available imagery of the vintage model, but it may have had an additional ring on its outer edge that isn’t seen in the modern watch. Lastly, while we don’t have specs for this vintage model either, the original was likely under 34 mm in diameter and seems to have used a brushed steel case, while the contemporary one uses a much more contemporary sizing at 38.5 mm and opts for a polished finish. The vintage watch, of course, was designed as a field watch while the modern one is positioned as a more formal piece.
It is the rare vintage-inspired model released by Longines that doesn’t receive substantial praise from critics and enthusiasts, and these two Tuxedo watches are no different. Having only been unveiled less than a week ago, the watches are already being hailed as some of the best vintage reissues of 2020, with the creative director of Esquire, Nick Sullivan, going so far to dub them as lead contenders for “watch of the year.” At their core, the Tuxedo models take advantage of a time-tested strategy pioneered by Longines over the last decade: take an uncommon vintage watch, reproduce it slightly larger and with better finishing, and introduce it to the market. It’s simple, elegant, and above all, attention-grabbing.
Both watches are available for pre-order both through Longines and authorized dealers, with the Heritage Classic Tuxedo Chronograph retailing for $3,000 and the Heritage Classic Tuxedo Time-only marked at $2,000, and shipping expected to begin later this summer. To learn more about these Tuxedo watches and inquire for purchase, you can visit Longines’ website, here.
“Watches, Stories, and Gear” is a roundup of some of our favorite watch content on Worn & Wound, great stories from around the web, and cool gear that we’ve got our eye on.
This installment of “Watches, Stories, and Gear” is brought to you by the Windup Watch Shop.
Worn & Wound The PX Watches of Vietnam
This week we’re bringing back a story from April of 2018, in which Oren Hartov takes a look at some of the key watches of the Vietnam era. These watches fall into the category of “PX” materials, or “post exchange.” They weren’t actually issued by the military, but were commonly available to purchase at military installations. There’s a different type of collectors market for these (they lack the caseback markings of issued timepieces), but there’s a ton of variety in PX watches, and they have an obvious charm and tons of history.
Fifteen years ago, Germany’s A. Lange & Söhne released its first Lange 1 Time Zone, one of many variations on the classic Lange 1, which led the Saxon manufacture’s inaugural collection in 1994. The watch, containing the in-house Caliber L901, was Lange’s first with a dual time-zone indication. For the model’s newest incarnation this year, the company equips it with a new in-house movement and improved functionality with the added daylight savings time indication.
The watch retains its generous case dimensions of 41.9 mm in diameter and 10.9 mm thick, as well as all the key elements of its asymmetrically designed dial: the main time display on the large subdial at 9 o’clock, a second time zone displayed on two hands in 12-hour format on the smaller subdial at 5 o’clock; Lange’s hallmark “outsize” date in a framed double window at 2 o’clock; a power-reserve indicator spanning the arc between the previous two features, and surrounding it all, the switchable city ring that allows for easy setting of the second time zone.
New on this updated version are the day-night indicators for both home time and local time, now represented by ring-shaped indicators in the center of the subdials rather than the rotating arrow hands on the original model. Composed of blue-printed semicircles (one for 6 AM to 6 PM, the other for 6 PM to 6 AM), these disks rotate once on their axes every 24 hours while the hour hands make the same rotation twice in that span. Another useful addition is the golden arrow pointer at 5 o’clock with a tiny aperture that indicates whether or not the reference city for the home time uses daylight savings time or year-round standard time (the aperture will be filled in red if the former applies, in white if the latter).
The new daylight-savings feature is incorporated into the underside of the switchable, rotating city ring, the major feature retained from previous iterations of the Lange 1 Time Zone. To set it, one simply presses the lateral pusher in the side of the case at 8 o’clock to advance the ring — inscribed with the names of 24 world cities, each representing one of the 24 major time zones — in an easterly direction. At the same time, the hour hand on the second-time-zone subdial at 4 o’clock will move forward by one hour with each press of the pusher. The watch also maintains the synchronization mechanism that enables the wearer to “swap” between the time zone indicated on the subdial and the one depicted on the main dial.
The new manufacture movement, Caliber L141.1 — the 65th to be produced by A. Lange & Sohne since its revival in 1994, in case anyone’s counting — is on display behind the sapphire exhibition caseback, and improves upon the impressive 72-hour power reserve of its predecessors by storing it in a single spring barrel rather than twin barrels. The manual-winding caliber still boasts a freely oscillating in-house-crafted balance spring, calibrated for a 21,600-vph frequency. Its aesthetics, as per Lange tradition, are as meticulously derived as its technical details — the decorated three-quarter mainplate made of untreated German silver, blued screws, screwed gold chatons, and hand-engraved wheels and cocks being among the highlights.
The Lange 1 Time Zone for 2020 comes to the market in three distinct executions: in a rose gold case with an argenté dial ($52,900); in a white gold case with a black dial ($52,900); and a yellow gold case with a champagne-colored dial ($56,100, a special boutique edition, limited to 100 pieces). All the dials are solid silver; all the straps are hand-stitched alligator leather in varying shades of brown and prong buckles made of the same materials as the cases.
Click here and here to discover more 2020 releases from A. Lange & Söhne.
A. Lange & Söhne, Ferdinand-A-Lange-Platz 1, D-1768 Glashütte, Germany
Hours, minutes, small seconds, large date, second time zone, day-night indicator, power-reserve indicator
Today we’re excited to launch Windup Watch Shop Rewards. Through this new program, any purchase you make on the Shop will earn you points that can be redeemed for discounts on future purchases. We’re really excited to launch this new initiative, and we hope you’re just as excited to take part. Here’s how it works.
Anyone with an account on the Windup Watch Shop is automatically enrolled in our rewards program and all of your purchases will automatically earn you points to be used at a later date for a discount. Starting today, for every $1 you spend at the Windup Watch Shop you’ll earn 5 points.
For every 500 points you earn, you can get $5 off a future purchase. So, if you spend $100 in the shop, you’ll have enough points to receive $5 off your next purchase. Of course, you can also stack points for larger discounts. So, if you have 2,000 points saved up, you can save $20 on your next purchase.
There are also ways to earn points without making a purchase. For starters, you’ll earn 250 points just for signing up for the rewards program. Don’t worry, everyone currently with an active account has been given 250 points already. You’ll also receive 50 points for following us on Facebook or Instagram, and you’ll get 500 points as a gift on your birthday.
Lastly, you can receive a quick $20 coupon by referring a friend to the Windup Watch Shop. Your friend will receive $20 off their first purchase just for being referred by you, and you’ll receive a $20 coupon once their purchase is complete.
Full details on the rewards program can be found here. If you’d like to signup today and receive your first 250 points, you can do that right here.
If you’ve got any questions, we’re here to help. Just head over to the Windup Watch Shop and click the support button in the lower right corner of your screen. You can also shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jaeger-LeCoultre, like most every luxury watch brand, has faced unprecedented challenges in 2020, but the Le Sentier-based manufacture has managed to capture accolades for the new models released under its “Sound Makers” theme, launched on the Watches & Wonders digital platform in April. As she enters her third year at the helm, Jaeger-LeCoultre CEO Catherine Rénier spoke to us about the 2020 collection and a variety of other industry topics.
MB: Part of this year’s “Sound Makers” theme is the revamping of the Master Control collection. Can you go into the reasons for this update and take us through some of the elements that are significant about the new pieces?
CR: There are two major features in the revamping, one in the design of the watches, the other in the technical advancements on our Caliber 899. The redesign started last year, with the case of the Grand Complication, and continues now with a similar spirit being added to the Master Control case. We felt that it was a well-deserved revisiting of that case since its introduction of 1992, and it keeps it in the same family as the more contemporary Grand Complication case we revealed last year. At the same time, Caliber 899 is a reference caliber for us, and we are introducing a new level of performance for it this year, like the 70-hour power reserve and the more stable design. Last year we improved on the quality of our extended warranty to eight years, so you can imagine that this doesn’t come without a lot of research on the caliber’s reliability and performance.
WT: One of the new collection’s showcase pieces, the Master Control Chronograph Calendar, features a combination never before seen in a Jaeger-LeCoultre watch. Did you and your team go in knowing that the watch was going to be a historic first?
CR: We knew it was a first, but I think what mattered most to us was in terms of its complications. We see the Master Control as a watch of action, a watch of useful complications — from the Geographic, to the Chronograph, and obviously to the Memovox, and a chronograph with calendar seemed the natural way to go in adding a useful function that didn’t exist in the collection before. We topped off the new family with the Memovox Timer, which also tells a fantastic story of celebration, performance, and of course, sound.
WT: The Master Control takes its name from named for the “1,000 Hours Control” testing that Jaeger-LeCoultre conducts on its watches, which was unprecedented when it started.Watch industry standards for accuracy and precision are always evolving, and several brands have introduced some type of in-house certifications that are supposedly even stricter than COSC. How does JLC’s “1,000 Hours” compare to some of these and are there ever discussion about making it even more stringent?
CR: Our testing does evolve as well. The important point is that as a fully integrated manufacture, we know we can have our eyes on the movement from the time it first starts to tick all the way up to when it is inside a watch leaving the manufacture. Everything is done in-house from the assembly to the finishing, and the 1,000 hours really takes place throughout that process. For us, these are very internal tests that we enrich along the way, and they ensure the client that their watch has been kept under close eyes and control. We don’t issue a certificate for anything, but it’s our own process that applies to all our watches, and it started with Master Control.
WT: Conceptually and aesthetically, what are the differences between the Master Control and the Master Ultra Thin collection, which was reintroduced a few years ago?
CR: Of course, the Master Ultra Thin are all in much thinner cases, but they also have a much more classical look as well as classical complications. This is where you’re going to find a moon-phase, a tourbillon, and other signatures of classical watchmaking functions as interpreted by Jaeger LeCoultre.
WT: Getting back to the “Masters of Sound” theme, Jaeger-LeCoultre always seems to be a little ahead of the pack in coming up with new and more innovative ways to make chiming watches. For a watch collector looking to buy their first minute repeater, can you describe what’s special about the ones made by Jaeger-LeCoultre?
CR: First of all, we offer lots of choices in chiming watches, from the Gyrotourbillon Westminster Perpetual to the Master Grande Tradition Grande Complication that we released this year. For these we create sounds of richness and clarity, with the quality always resulting from heavy research. We have an expert in sound at the manufacture who is constantly conducting research to improve both the richness and precision of our repeaters. Our chiming watches are also waterproof and, after 187 years of research, they feature a lot of patents. We were among the first to do a crystal gong, which we patented and which we are always continuing to improve in the areas of clarity, volume, and richness of sound. Our Trebuchet hammer, which works like a catapult to deliver stronger force to the gong, is another patented invention. Overall we produce about 200 chiming calibers. This aspiration to perfect sound quality applies to the chimes of our minute repeater, but also to the useful sounds of our Memovox alarm watches.
WT: Jaeger-LeCoultre introduced only one new model in its most classical collection, the Reverso, so far this year. How are you keeping the Reverso collection, which started in 1931, relevant in the modern day?
CR: The Reverso is, of course, the icon of the maison, the one for which Jaeger LeCoultre is known by worldwide, and for which we want to be known worldwide. It is our signature, timeless since 1931, and we have always been updating it — adding complications like we recently did with the Reverso Tribute Gyrotourbillon that we launched a few years ago. We’ve also used the Reverso as a canvas of expression because its back is a fantastic way to express individuality, with an enameled micro-painting, an engraved message, or another artistic interpretation. We work with colors and finishes on the dial and on the case. We’ve also launched new straps. We approach the world of Reverso in many ways; however, the case itself, with its art deco-inspired rectangular case and gadroons, has remained very much the same since 1931. The Reverso is the sacrosanct family of Jaeger Lecoultre, and still part of a well-rounded overall collection — along with the Master, made up of very classic, round watches with complications; the Master Control, with its more useful, action-oriented functions; the Polaris, which is our sport expression for men; and the Rendez-Vous, which is our round watch for ladies. The maison is also enriched by signatures of innovation, like the Memovox, the 101 movement for our high-jewelry watches, the high watchmaking in our Duomètre and Hybris satellite pieces, all of which enrich our collection.
WT: Jaeger-LeCoultre does seem to have a very well rounded collection now, as you’ve illustrated. Is there anything in your view that’s still missing, or any area of watchmaking that you still feel the brand needs to explore?
CR: Of course. No question. And you will see a lot more to come in the next few years. I can guarantee that the expression in terms of innovation is very rich for the next several years, even though we will mostly focus on our existing core collections. Within each of these collections, there is still a lot to say and a lot we can do to keep fans and collectors very happy.