[Watch Appreciation] “You are my comrade/ That’s why I miss you/ When I cross all the sinking/ And go to war towards eternity/ You are my flag.” – Wang Xiaobo
On the battlefield, the flag is faith, the flag should never fall. When we go to war against the mediocrity and misery of life, and seek a new bright future, this is my comrade, my flag.
This is what came to mind when I saw the Longines Flagship.
“We all have a bright future.”
The Longines Flagship series was born in 1957. Many watch enthusiasts feel that it should be translated as “flagship” as it is more fitting. But I want to say, translation is always about essence rather than literal meaning. Perhaps this series is the flag of the Longines brand. New watch enthusiasts must have their own misunderstandings about Longines, so after reading this article patiently, the Flagship will also be your flag.
The 1957 version of the flag features Longines’ self-developed 30L movement, which is a manual winding movement that actually predates the Flagship series. It stood shoulder to shoulder with Rolex, Omega, and IWC at the time, being sturdy and durable, and very impressive.
The 30L movement is still highly regarded even today. In that era, it was considered the best manual winding mechanical movement. It features a gold sleeve, jewel bearings, and other high-grade movement decorations. To put it in perspective, Lange’s movement, the L951, which is considered divine in my heart, is like a magnificent landscape painting, also utilizing a gold sleeve.
During that time of Longines’ glory, in addition to the 30L movement and various three-hand movements that were used in the Flagship series, there were also movements like the 13ZN, 30CH, and 9L, which were incredibly beautiful and talked about by many. But please do not forget, this was Longines several decades ago. So someone might ask, why is Longines, with such a glorious past, relatively affordable compared to other luxury brands nowadays? This brings us to the Swatch Group. After the quartz crisis, in order to save the Swiss watchmaking industry, Mr. Nicolas G. Hayek merged ASUAG (which mainly dealt with watch maintenance and blank movements, Longines used to be part of it) and SSIH (which owned Omega and Tissot at the time) in 1983, creating the Swatch Group we have today.
Without Mr. Nicolas G. Hayek, Omega, Longines, and Tissot today might just be names among thousands in history books. Furthermore, the group repositioned Omega and Longines, which led to the current situation. However, from my observation, Omega is striving to move towards the high-end market, so is it far-fetched to say that Longines will regain its past glory?
Resembling Patek Philippe
This version of the Flagship adds a moon phase function, resembling the Patek Philippe 5396 and Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Moonphase.
The watch has a diameter of 38.5mm, fitting the current trend of smaller watch sizes. The case is made of stainless steel, with a large polished surface that highlights its presence.
The case thickness is 12.4mm, which is subjective. Some may complain about its thickness, but not everyone wants a small and thin watch. Some people prefer the lightweight of ceramic and titanium, while others prefer the heavy feel of steel and precious metals.
The silver sunburst dial, the raised hour markers, the silver skeletonized and polished hands, and the iconic logo are all worth a closer look. If you look closely at the edge of the dial, you’ll notice it gradually curves inward, giving it a fascinating visual effect.
With the addition of the moon phase function, it feels like it was specifically designed for someone like me who enjoys the ambiance of the moon. The lower part, resembling clouds, even features engraved record grooves.
When you flip the watch over, you will be pleasantly surprised to find a “golden bottom” and enamel champlevé! The sailing ship, the waving flag, and the surging waves are all meticulously engraved, vividly coming to life. A decade ago, watches with such case backs were very popular. Some old Jaeger-LeCoultre watches also had similar case backs. Now, the Longines Flagship series is making a comeback with this impressive added value. It’s not enough for a watch to just touch people’s aesthetic senses, it must also touch their hearts to stimulate the desire to purchase.
The watch is powered by the L899 automatic mechanical movement, which has a power reserve of 72 hours, sufficient for daily wear. Based on the ETA movement with the addition of a silicon balance spring, the watch is more resistant to magnetic fields, resulting in more precise timekeeping.
I can already hear some watch enthusiasts saying, “This is an ETA movement,” and so on. But I want to say that every brand has the ability to produce their own movements. However, due to brand positioning, R&D teams, and strategic considerations, watches cannot satisfy the preferences of every watch enthusiast. Just like with jewelry, for watches in the price range of around 20,000, here’s a tip: if you prioritize sentimentality, don’t be too concerned about the movement, and if you prioritize performance, don’t prioritize looks. If you want both, then don’t worry about the price.
Equipped with a stainless steel buckle and an alligator leather strap engraved with the Longines logo.
This time, three color options are available: cool-toned silver-gray, elegant deep blue, and warm-toned gold-brown. Watch enthusiasts with different styles can find their most suitable “flag”!