A first practice: the Longines Spirit Zulu Time watch
The luxury watch industry’s love affair with vintage-inspired sporty designs shows no signs of stopping in 2022, and while this years-long trend has produced a sea of straightforward vintage reissues, it also spawned a whole sub-genre of sports watches that capture the spirit of years past without directly referencing a single historical timepiece. The Longines Spirit series is one of the most successful examples of this intermediate breed of watch, combining the warmth and easy readability of a classic pilot’s watch with a versatile athletic shape and clean, timeless execution. Given the brand’s long association with aviation and the flying talent of the Spirit series, a GMT version of the Spirit was inevitable, and for 2022 the brand is delivering on that front with a new family of versions named d ‘after the very first Longines wristwatch to be displayed. two time zones. The new Longines Spirit Zulu Time line brings new rich, nuanced colors and beautiful classic execution to its version of the GMT watch, offering one of the most attractive and charismatic vintage-inspired GMTs on the market today.
Overall, the stainless steel case of the Longines Spirit Zulu Time keeps the visual language of the series intact. Measuring 42mm, the Spirit Zulu Time feels clean and athletic on the wrist, with horizontally brushed flat case sides and a continuous polished chamfer running from lug tip to lug tip. Although the overall thickness amounts to 13.9mm, the Spirit Zulu Time is significantly thinner than the numbers suggest thanks to a soft, flowing wraparound curve that echoes through the sapphire crystal, bezel and bezels. horns. However, like many modern Longines sports models, these lugs are notoriously long (49.2mm lug tip to lug tip) and can cause overhang issues on smaller wrists. . The Spirit Zulu Time stands out from the rest of the line with its bi-directional coin-edged bezel, featuring a classic engraved 24-hour scale. Longines offers this bezel with ceramic inserts in black, navy or green, with a glossy finish that adds both depth and a tangible sense of quality to the overall design. Our hands-on sample arrived with the unique green bezel, in a rich, mature hue reminiscent of Bentley’s famous dark take on British racing green. It’s a color that doesn’t draw too much attention to itself, fading almost to black in most lighting conditions, but in direct sunlight it forms an attractive, nuanced complement to accents. gold on the dial. Longines completes this case with a razor-sharp caseback engraving depicting the brand’s winged hourglass emblem above a stylized globe motif. In keeping with the sporty all-purpose and versatile nature of the Spirit line, the Spirit Zulu Time is rated for a solid water resistance of 100 meters.
Available in matte black, matte anthracite gray or deep navy blue, the dial of the Longines Spirit Zulu Time takes a low-impact approach to integrating a GMT complication into the existing Spirit design. Our hands-on sample, with its smooth matte charcoal gray dial finish and striking gold dial hardware, is a masterclass in how to age an all-new watch design without resorting to fake moon or dial surfaces. simulated “tropics”. Everything here is warm and plush, without the sharp sense of modernity that a deep black dial or glossy white text might bring. While the pointed handset and applied gold Arabic numerals are beautiful on their own, it’s the thin gold accent ring inside the raised outer seconds track that really steals the show. As well as framing the dial with a dynamic yet balanced golden sheen, this ring also gives Longines a chance to showcase its impressive attention to detail, with miniature notched cutouts to perfectly frame the tiny diamond-shaped luminous dots. printed on the outside of each applied hour numeral. It’s a simple touch, but with such a simple traditional design, tiny touches can make all the difference. The GMT hand itself fits almost seamlessly into the existing Spirit design, with a sparkling gold arrowhead that aids readability at a glance. Although date windows are a controversial topic among enthusiasts, they are an almost indispensable part of a GMT design, and the Spirit Zulu Time’s simple cut-out date display at 6 o’clock offers crucial information with minimal clutter. disturbance of the global flow of the dial. .
Longines powers the Spirit Zulu Time with the GMT Caliber L844.4 automatic movement based on ETA A31.L411. With COSC-certified chronometer accuracy and a silicon hairspring, this is an impressively modern powertrain, with the performance to match. GMT enthusiasts can also rejoice, as Caliber L844.4 is “true GMT”, with a convenient quick-set local hour hand to allow for easy time zone changes while travelling. Like many modern Longines movements, this one operates with an intermediate beat frequency of 25,200 bph, allowing the Spirit Zulu Time to achieve a weekend-proof power reserve of 72 hours.
The Longines Spirit Zulu Time is available with deployant bracelets in medium brown, caramel or navy blue leather, as well as a three-link brushed stainless steel bracelet. Our sample was fitted with the optional bracelet, and Longines adds a more refined character to this familiar design with narrow polished bevels on the center and outer links, creating a polished highlight wrapping all around the wrist. The two-button engraved clasp also adds six levels of micro-adjustment, but overall the strap has a thin, light feel to the wrist that doesn’t match the heavier, more solid character of the watch itself. Additionally, the bracelet’s prominent “male” end links extend far beyond the ends of the watch lugs, exacerbating the already long lugs on the wrist. That said, the endlinks have a pronounced slowdown that alleviates this issue somewhat.
With a nuanced blend of vintage and modern elements as well as impressive performance, the Longines Spirit Zulu Time is a timeless and stylish addition to the brand’s fan-favorite line of retro-modern pilot watches. The Longines Spirit Zulu Time is available now from authorized retailers. The MSRP of the Longines Spirit Zulu Time is $2,950 on leather and $3,050 on bracelet, at press time. For more details, please visit the Longines website.