As you might imagine from a brand with a 188-year-old story, it isn’t every year that Longines releases an entirely new collection. Yet, in 2020, that was exactly what we got with the Longines Spirit collection (we reviewed here), which celebrated the important part that the Saint-Imier based brand played in the history of aviation. This year the collection has grown, with the all-new Longines Spirit in titanium, offering everything you might want in a pilot’s watch, and more.
At the core of the Longines Spirit collection ethos is an enthusiasm for adventure. It was this enthusiasm that saw the likes of Amelia Earhart, Charles Lindbergh and Phillip Van Horn Weems make the potentially lethal leap from terra firma into the air, seeking new destinations and pioneering new routes across the globe. And for their adventures through the skies, the same trio of aviation pioneers worked with Longines to provide critical instruments and tools to ensure their flights had the greatest chance of success.
It’s this history that Longines references in the Spirit collection, dating back nearly one hundred years. It was a time when the wristwatch of a pilot needed to be easy to read at the smallest of glances, robust enough to withstand even the most jarring of cockpits and most importantly, accurate in any conditions. Building on this, the Spirit collection blends the key elements of historic pilot’s watches, with the updated demands of the contemporary day-to-day.
The Longines Spirit in titanium maintains all of these elements from the existing Spirit collection but fuses them with a utilitarian new case material. Available in either 40mm of 42mm sizes, the Longines Spirit references in titanium have a darker, more under the radar lustre to their cases. Not only does the new material bring a function forward subtlety to the Spirit collection, but thanks to the density of titanium being nearly half that of stainless steel, the new watches are also remarkably lightweight on the wrist.
A change of case material isn’t the only update to the Spirit collection, with the new references also arriving without date windows and applied gilt hour markers that add a touch of warmth to the dial. The lack of a date window, while sacrificing some everyday practicality, improves the dial significantly thanks to the balance it brings. Some love a date window, but when it looks this good without, I’m an advocate for simple symmetry.
Powering the Longines Spirit in titanium is the automatic L888.4, a COSC-certified movement with a silicon hairspring and a very respectable 72 hours of power reserve. The COSC certification of the L888.4 means it is guaranteed to be accurate to between -4 to +6 seconds a day, so you’re never late to another appointment.
The watch arrives with a screw-down case back that guarantees it 100m of water resistance, as well as a strap changing system that doesn’t require tools, making it a properly versatile timepiece. It’s also available on either a steel bracelet or a dark textile NATO-style strap for a more casual look.
All considered it’s an excellent addition to the Longines catalogue, showing impressive depth to the relatively young Spirit collection. Executed in a lightweight metal that doesn’t attract as much attention as its steel siblings, the new titanium references have a purity of purpose that is undeniably attractive, with a warmer, more balanced dial.
The Longines Spirit in 40mm of titanium is $4,000 on the textile strap and $4,475 on a bracelet. The 42mm references are $4,150 on the textile strap and $4,650 on the matching titanium bracelet. All Spirit models arrive with the brand’s 5-year warranty for additional peace of mind.