Few brands have a richer or more diverse back catalog of watches than Longines, and over the past several years, the marque has explored some of its most interesting historical references through the Heritage collection. These have ranged from revived skin divers to war-era field watches and funky ‘70s racing chronographs, and for summer 2020, Longines has taken the Heritage line to the jazzy and stylish era of the late ‘40s. The new Longines Heritage Classic – Tuxedo series offers a dressy, black-and-white look at the dawn of midcentury design, available in both three-hand and chronograph variants.
While taking slightly different approaches, both variants of the Longines Heritage Classic – Tuxedo start with classically simple stainless steel case designs. The three-hand model takes a somewhat dressier route, with a compact 38.5mm case diameter accentuated by long narrow lugs, rounded and polished case sides, and a brilliantly polished smooth bezel. The chronograph, on the other hand, keeps the ‘40s style of the overall design while moving in a sportier direction. Slightly upsized at 40mm, the classical touches here include a brushed stepped bezel and elegant oval chronograph pushers. While both are reimagined in a more contemporary size, the overall case designs of the Longines Heritage Classic – Tuxedo series are remarkably faithful to the original ‘40s references that inspired them.
This attention to detail carries over into the dials of the Longines Heritage Classic – Tuxedo models. Even the dial text is kept as original as possible, with retro Longines type at 12 o’clock. The three-hand model strikes a handsome balance between clean minimalism and bold graphic design, with a piano-black ring surrounding a silver opaline center. The Arabic numerals feel rounded and relaxed here, and while the lume fill for these numerals and the pointed baton hands are rendered in khaki fauxtina, the color is light enough to blend well with the monochrome design and add a touch of neutral color. The 6 o’clock seconds subdial is framed nicely as a visual centerpiece here, resting on a slightly recessed layer with full snailing and a polished ring to draw the eye inward.
If the three-hander’s dial balances an open, airy feel with bold monochrome graphic work, the dial of the Longines Heritage Classic – Tuxedo chronograph might best be described as pleasingly busy. There’s no denying that the chronograph presents quite a few visual elements here, but it’s a testament to both the original ‘40s model and this reinterpretation that none of it feels cramped or disproportionate. The namesake tuxedo-black ring makes an appearance here as well, but for the chronograph, this element sits inboard of a wide railroad tachymeter scale in deep blue. Like many chronograph designs, the Heritage Classic – Tuxedo color codes its chronograph scales and hands for easy reading, and beyond creating quick legibility in a busy visual environment, this blued steel treatment provides an attractive addition to the black and silver color scheme. However, one small counterpoint to this is the addition of the blued running seconds hand at 3 o’clock. It could be argued that using a polished hand for this non-chronograph element would unbalance the dial, but it does detract slightly from instant chronograph readability. To keep from further cluttering the dial and to maintain the classy midcentury feel of its forebear, Longines opts for polished rhodium leaves for the main hour and minutes hands.
Both versions of the Longines Heritage Classic – Tuxedo are powered by automatic ETA movements. The ETA A31.501 in the three-hand model offers an advanced silicon balance spring, helping to provide a 64-hour power reserve and a slightly unorthodox 25,200 bph beat rate. The chronograph version, on the other hand, receives the ETA A31.L21. This 37-jewel movement has so far been used exclusively in Longines Heritage models and boasts a 54-hour power reserve alongside a silicon balance spring and a smooth 28,800 bph sweep.
To maintain the late ‘40s aesthetic of these designs, Longines pairs the Heritage Classic – Tuxedo series with a semi-matte minimalist black leather strap. This clean and classic option suits the look of both models well, however, both models would be prime candidates for a Milanese mesh strap as a louder option.
With the Heritage Classic – Tuxedo series, Longines continues to explore its own history through a pair of solid new entries. Both models are available now through authorized dealers, with the Longines Heritage Classic – Tuxedo three-hander priced at $2,000, while the Longines Heritage Classic – Tuxedo chronograph carries an MSRP of $3,000. For more information, please visit Longines’ website.