In celebration of the 60th anniversary of the first-ever Flagship collection, Longines is adding a new piece to its collection – the Flagship Heritage. Well, we say new… the watch is inspired by the 60-year-old Flagship model kept in the Swiss watchmaker’s headquarters and shares many of the same qualities as that iconic piece. Available in limited edition and coming in at a very attractive price point, the piece is already generating a huge buzz. Found out why with these ten quick facts.
1. The Brand
Longines (or to give it it’s full name, Compagnie des Montres Longines Francillon S.A) is a luxury watchmaker based in Saint-Imier, Switzerland. The company was founded in 1832 by Auguste Agassiz, and has since gone on to become one of the most coveted brands in the watch-making world. Over the years, everyone from Humphrey Bogart to Harry Connick Jr., Audrey Hepburn, Aishwarya Rai, and Kate Winslet have been seen proudly wearing a Longines – Albert Einstein liked the brand so much, he bought two of their watches, one of which is now on display at the Bern Historical Museum in Switzerland.
2. The History
The history of the Longines Flagship Heritage can be traced to the 1950s, the decade of Elvis Presley, Marilyn Monroe, and, less well known but no less true, some of the most iconic watches of all time. In 1957, Longines sold its first-ever Flagship. The piece’s refined elegance, masterful technology, and exquisite aesthetics quickly won the hearts of watch lovers the world over, establishing the brand, and the collection, as a heavyweight contender. 60 years later, Longines has revisited that same collection to create the Longines Flagship Heritage, a watch that stays true to the ideals of the original while keeping firmly in step with the needs of a modern market.
3. The Celebrity
What’s a launch these days without a celebrity or two? For the Flagship Heritage, Longines has chosen Kate Winslet to be their face – although unlike some celebrity endorsements where the celeb in question is clearly just picking up a paycheck, Kate has a personal connection to the piece. After visiting the Longines headquarters, Kate, who’s served as ‘Ambassador of Elegance’ for the brand since 2010, fell in love with the original Flagship piece kept on display. So, when Longines chose to re-launch the collection, who better to serve as its face?
4. The Dial
As Fratello notes, one of the most outstanding features of the Flagship Heritage is unquestionably its exquisite dial. Its cream-colored face is offset with gilt hour markers and dauphine hands, both of which are wonderfully reminiscent of the iconic timepieces of the 50s and 60s. The typography movement continues the Mad Men theme to excellent effect.
5. The Old and the New
For a watch that appears as part of a heritage collection and claims to take its inspiration from a 1957 timepiece, you’d expect a certain vintage appeal to the Flagship Heritage, not to mention a marked similarity to the 60-year-old watch that bears its name. And that’s exactly what you get – albeit with a few subtle changes. The gilded hour markers, the creamy colored dial, the Longines logo, even the font used to spell out the model name on the dial, all bear remarkable similarities to the 1950s flagship model. Where we see a change is in the size. Compared to most of the watches that have been flooding the market in recent years, the 38.5 diameter of the Flagship Heritage is positively tiny. Compared to the original, it’s a beast.
6. The Strap
Ultimately, a watch can be as pretty as it likes, have as much history as it wants, and be as affordable as a bag of chips, but if it’s not comfortable to wear, it’s destined to spend its life sidelined by those that are. Fortunately, the Flagship Heritage has no such worries. With a modest watch face of 38.5mm and a superbly supple, comfortably padded alligator strap, it fits like a dream.
7. The Flagship Emblem
Like the original Flagship from all those years ago, the Flagship Heritage bears its name proudly. Flip the watch over, and you’ll see the same Flagship emblem on the back as you would have seen on the very first flagship ever released.
8. The Price
Considering its high-end appeal and heritage, you’d be forgiven for thinking the Longines Flagship Heritage would cost you a small fortune. But prepare to be pleasantly surprised. While the watch is by no means cheap, it’s also not exorbitantly expensive… although you might still need to put a few hundred dollars of your paycheck aside for a few months before you can get your hands on one. With a suggested retail price of 1’510 CHF, expect to be around 1500 USD the poorer if you add one to your shopping cart.
9. The Specs
If you really want to understand why the Longines Flagship Heritage is generating such a big buzz in the watch world, you need to understand the detail and attention that’s gone into its making. And how better to do that than by casting your eyes over the small print of the spec. Courtesy of the Longines website, here it is: CASE Shape: Round Material: Stainless steel Glass: Scratch-resistant sapphire crystal, with several layers of anti-reflective coating on the underside Case Back: Screw-down case back Dimension: 38.50 mm Water Resistance: Water-resistant to 3 bar DIAL AND HANDS Colour: Silver Hour markers: Applied indexes Hands: Gilt hands MOVEMENT AND FUNCTIONS Movement Type: Automatic MOVEMENT AND FUNCTIONS Caliber: L615 Movement Description: Self winding mechanical movement beating at 28'800 vibrations per hour and providing 42 hours of power reserve Functions: Hours, minutes, small second at 6 o'clock and date BRACELET Bracelet/Strap: Strap Material: Alligator strap Face: Alligator leather Back: Calf leather Colour: Brown Buckle: With buckle Size: M
10. The Availability
If you want to get your hand on a Flagship Heritage, you’ll need to be quick. As The Gentleman’s Journal notes, the piece is a limited edition, with availability limited to 60 watches in the gold version and 1957 watches in the steel.
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Written by Garrett Parker
Read more posts by Garrett Parker