In the vintage world, Longines is a chronograph company— the brand manufactured some of the best chronograph examples in the world both early and often. Longines created its first chronograph in a pocket watch application all the way back in 1878 and, just under 20 years later, served as the official timer of the 1896 Olympics in Athens. The brand created the first wristwatch chronograph in 1913 with its Caliber 13.33z and continued to narrowly focus on this segment of the market for the next 50 years.
Alongside developments in the chronograph sector of the market, Longines made some serious strides in time-only movement manufacturing as well as in water-resistant case making. The brands “tre tacche” and “sei tacche” screwback cases are highly collectible today, many times powered by the 12.68 family of movements— the time-only generation matching up with their caliber 13 chronographs.
Longines caught the collecting community’s eye early on in the recent vintage trend and continue to be a big part of enthusiasm and collections today. Early books on Longines were authored by a man pen-named John Goldberger with scholarship led by him and his Italian friends. Their work in popularizing the brand created ripple effects beyond the marquee models from vintage Longines, shining a light even at the most basic, economy level of Longines. At that level, the brand was very successful in supplying customers with a well-made and usable, everyday dress watch.
The example here is a great representative of that daily wearer offering from Longines. Powered by their proven caliber 12.68Z and housed in a simple, thin, and well-proportioned stainless-steel case, the man who simply needed a watch in the 1940s could ask for nothing more.
This Longines’s stainless-steel case is in average to good condition with a life of hard wear and polishing evident. The lugs do have a bit of definition to the edges, which is nice. The crown appears to be chromed and is likely a replacement as the watch would have had a stainless-steel one to match the case. The crystal is in good condition with no significant scratches noted. For the caseback, there are no deep scratches or marks from removing.
A slightly later but vintage aftermarket Forstner “Komfit” stainless-steel mesh bracelet is fitted. There is a whole story to dive into when it comes to these bracelets such as NASA astronauts preferring them to Omega’s flatlink on the Speedmaster and a recent relaunch of the Forstner brand and Komfit bracelet.
The Dial and Hands
The dial is an older reprint. The finishing is not what a collector would expect from Longines during this era. All negative being said the salmon finish and oddly large roman numeral hour markers are uniquely vintage. From afar, it’s not awful— let’s call it a 15 footer.
It is hard to tell if the handset is correct or appropriate for this watch as the dial has been redone, but they look alright and condition wise are good.
This example’s Caliber 12.68Z is in good running order. Service history is unknown.
|Location||New York City|
|Movement||Manual, Longines Caliber 12.68z|
|Case Material||Stainless Steel|
|Band Material||Forstner “komfit” stainless-steel|
|Clasp Type||Komfit clasp|