Now in his 50th year at Longines, with 31 at the helm, President Walter von Kanel wasn't shy when it came to discussing the Master Collection's ability make the brand money and thus put a smile on his face. In discussion at the global launch of the new Master Moonphase, Mr von Kanel made special mention of the universal appeal of the Master Collection case, proving that elegance is not just an attitude Longines operate by, but an attitude their customer's clearly shop by.
Be it the elegant aesthetic or agreeable 38.5-40mm case sizes (for the market), Longines reigns supreme in China but Mr von Kanel knows it's also a perfect mix of acceptable pricing and rich history that has attributed to the brand's success. Ultimately, it's the consumer's perception of value that has skyrocketed its appeal in China and around the globe, and in the case of the Master Collection, that value is undeniable, delivering timeless designs, exclusive movements, superb quality, and perhaps, most importantly, a brand name, at unbeatable prices.
To accompany my trip to said global launch, the Longines team kindly sent me the watch in question, in my preferred 40mm size and its sunburst dial captivated me instantly, as did its $3,050 price tag.
South Korean actor and Longines Ambassador of Elegance Jung Woo-Sung introduced the new additions to the Longines Master Collection featuring a moon phase indicator at 6 o'clock, encircled by a Breguet numeral date ring and powered by a new movement developed exclusively for the brand, the L899 calibre with 64-hour power reserve.
The new Longines Master Moonphase is available in two sizes, 40mm and 42mm, on either a bracelet or black, brown or blue leather strap with deployment clasp. Customers can choose from one of three handsome variations: a silver "barleycorn" dial with painted Breguet numerals, a black "barleycorn" dial with painted Roman numerals or a sunburst blue dial with applied indices. The 40mm version is also offered with diamond indexes for a refined result.
Prior to the launch, we got hands-on with two models, the silver dial with Breguet numerals and the sunburst blue, both on leather and both in 42mm cases. It wasn't until I got to wear the 40mm did I realise how delightful the Master Moonphase was in the smaller size. Admittedly, I didn't wear the 42mm for longer than a few hours, which didn't leave for any time for the leather strap to form around my wrist, however, I feel the 40mm embodies the brand's values and the product's purpose in a more harmonious way.
Interestingly, Mr von Kanel made reference to the customer's preference for a bracelet when choosing larger sized models (across the brand's collections), and it wasn't until Taipei did I get to see it on the Master Moonphase. The combination of the larger steel case and the solid steel bracelet make for a more versatile execution - it doesn't look as dressy as the 40mm on leather, which may be more appealing to those looking for an everyday wearer.
Dial wise, I think the three designs provide buyers with ample choice, attracted to either Longine's traditional aesthetic via the Breguet or Roman numerals or something more minimalist and contemporary in the form of the sunburst blue with applied indices. The blue dial benefits from more negative space, allowing the moon phase and date functions, which get a little lost on the busier silver and black dials (and more so in the 42mm versions), to be read more easily.
There's no denying the Master Moonphase suits the 40mm case better than it does the 42mm, but perhaps I'm biased because I wear a 40mm every day. I also think the style of watch lends itself more to the leather strap than the bracelet, even though I think the build quality and finishing of the bracelet is superb at the price.
Regardless of whichever Master Moonphase design, size or strap tickles your fancy, this new addition to the Master Collection is a veritable triumph, continuing Longine's everlasting quest for elegance and doing so at a price point, less storied brand's simply couldn't compete with.
The new Master Moonphase starts at $3,050 or $3,550 with diamonds. View the collection at longines.com.au.
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