Longines Spirit Hands-On Review
The Spirit collection, one of the highlight additions last year to the Longines stable, got its name from the motto “the pioneer spirit lives on”. What they are referring to is the spirit of legendary aviators and pioneers of the sky, like Amelia Earhart, Paul-Emile Victor, Elinor Smith and Howard Hughes, who were all wearing and trusting a Longines on their journeys. The Spirit collection, which includes a three-hand and date (40 mm or 42 mm) and a chronograph and date model (42 mm), was designed to honour their legacy. Thanks to Longines Canada, I spent a week with the 40 mm Spirit Prestige Edition. The Prestige Edition stands for the three bands that come with the watch, a three-link bracelet, a leather strap and a NATO-style leather strap, but let me talk about them in more detail later in the review.
With the lockdown, I did not have a chance to visit a decent watch boutique in a very long time, and I only saw the new Longines Spirit in pictures and videos on the internet. When I opened the parcel from Longines, my jaw dropped. It was love at first sight! This relatively small pilot watch, 40 mm, which is the perfect size for my wrist, has so much going on, it is unbelievable! Everything is crisp, smart contrasting effects between colours and textures perfectly convey the high-end spirit of this watch.
I’m usually not a big fan of bracelets, if I have the choice and the style of the watch permits it, I will always go for a strap, even better for a NATO band. With the Spirit, the first thing I did was to adjust the bracelet. I had to… It looks great on the strap too, although I find that the lugs are long and there is a big gap between the case and the strap, I think this watch was primarily designed to be worn with the three-link bracelet it comes with. It’s probably the best bracelet I ever had the chance to wear. It is so comfortable, hugging the wrist without any effort, it gives a soft and luxurious sensation.
The stainless steel case has a circular brushed finishing with certain details polished to highlight the beautiful architecture of the watch. The polished surfaces on the side of the bezel, the tapered edges of the case running from lug to lug and the polished edges separating the links of the bracelet are setting the stage for what the dial has to bring.
When it comes to the Spirit collection, Longines is offering three dial colours and textures, rough silver, sunray blue or matt black. The chapter ring features a fine print of minute and second indexes, with minute numerals at five-minute intervals and… Wow! The edge of the chapter ring is polished, being only interrupted by diamond-shaped lumed indexes. The visual effect is breathtaking! As the light hits the dial everything comes alive: the sparkling edge of the chapter ring, the polished contours of the lume-filled numerals and hands, or the winged hourglass logo at 12 and the five stars at 6 o’clock. Now add to all this the polished details of the case and the bracelet and you realize how every decoration on this watch has a purpose. From the design point of view, it is really impressive to see a classic pilot watch design being tweaked in such a smart way, making it fresh and original.
As expected for a watch in this price range, the date wheel is black, only the red tip of the second hand brings a bit of colour.
The solid back held in place by six screws has a very restrained decoration, but this voluntary simplicity reinforces the tool watch nature of the Spirit. If you take a closer look at the bracelet in this picture, you will notice the pushbuttons which you can use to quickly replace the bracelet with a strap. It is very easy to use and it will avoid the risk of scratching the case every time you want to change the band.
Under the hood, you will find the automatic calibre L888.4, manufactured by ETA exclusively for Longines. It comes with a whopping 72-hours of power reserve, and silicon hairspring which improves the accuracy and increases the longevity of the movement, making it more resistant to shock, temperature changes and magnetism. It is COSC certified, meaning that it is accurate to -4/+6 seconds a day. Winding it is quite an experience, everything is so smooth, you would almost think there is nothing inside for the crown to wind.
Here in Canada, the official retail price of the Longines Spirit starts at $2,900 on a leather strap or a bracelet. If you prefer having the whole kit, the Prestige package is priced at $3,750, while the chronograph is $3,900. For a watch in this quality range, the Longines Spirit is offering a fantastic value! The Spirit could easily become your everyday go-to watch, from board rooms to weekends, you will never get bored by it.
For more on the Spirit collection, go to www.longines.com