Master Collection: Longines' Masterpieces
The Master Collection contains the finest timepieces made by Swiss watch manufacturer Longines. Highlights in this series feature four retrograde displays, or combine a chronograph with a calendar and moon phase display.
Longines' Watchmaking Masterpieces
Longines introduced the Master Collection in 2005. The series is exclusively comprised of automatic and manual mechanical watches. As the oldest watchmaking brand in the industry, Longines uses this collection to pay tribute to their long list of successes and achievements.
The Master Collection contains the most exquisite timepieces in the Longines catalog, and even includes chronographs with calendar and moon phase complications. You will also find models with four retrograde displays for the date, day, moon phase, small seconds, and/or GMT function. Retrograde refers to the fact that the hand jumps back to the starting position at the end of every cycle. The Master Collection is also home to simple three-hand watches with an annual calendar or date display, and diamond-studded women's watches.
Reasons to Buy a Longines Master Collection
- Sporty and elegant designs for every occasion
- Top models have retrograde displays or a chronograph function
- Bi- and tricompax chronographs
- Several moon phase watches
- Outstanding value for money
Price Overview: Longines Master Collection
|Reference number||Price (approx.)||Material, features|
|L2.6126.96.36.199||6,600 USD||Rose gold, calendar, chronograph, moon phase|
|L2.7188.8.131.52||5,400 USD||Rose gold, retrograde displays for the date, day, GMT function, and small seconds|
|L2.6184.108.40.206||4,200 USD||Rose gold, date|
|L2.7220.127.116.11||2,800 USD||Stainless steel, four retrograde displays, moon phase|
|L2.718.104.22.168||2,100 USD||Stainless steel, column-wheel chronograph, date, 54-hour power reserve|
|L2.622.214.171.124||2,100 USD||Stainless steel, bicompax chronograph, date|
|L2.9126.96.36.199||1,900 USD||Stainless steel, moon phase, date|
|L2.7188.8.131.52||1,300 USD||Stainless steel, date|
How much does a Longines Master Collection cost?
You can buy timepieces from the Master Collection on Chrono24 for less than 1,000 USD. These are usually three-hand women's watches made of stainless steel with a date display. Prices for similar watches intended for larger wrists start at around 1,400 USD. Listings on Chrono24 for three-hand watches with a moon phase or power reserve display start at around 1,700 USD.
The most expensive models are gold watches with high-tech complications like triple calendars, a chronograph function, and retrograde displays, which run between 4,900 and 7,000 USD. If you're undecided on the material, you can buy a stainless steel Longines with the same complications for between 1,900 and 2,700 USD.
All prices mentioned above refer to models in mint condition. You can generally save a couple of hundred dollars by purchasing a pre-owned watch in good condition instead.
Top Models With a Calendar and Chronograph
Chronographs featuring a calendar and moon phase display are among the most impressive models in the Master Collection. Each model displays the date via a central hand featuring a crescent-moon-shaped tip. This hand points to the date around the dial's edge. You can read the current day and month within the chronograph's 30-minute counter below 12 o'clock. The 12-hour counter and moon phase indicator occupy a subdial at 6 o'clock. At 9 o'clock, you'll find a combined small seconds and 24-hour display. The caliber L678, which is based on ETA's Valjoux 7751, powers this timepiece's many functions and offers a power reserve of 48 hours.
These wristwatches are available in stainless steel or 18-karat rose gold. The latter is paired with a brown alligator leather strap with a fold-over safety clasp. Its silver dial features a subtle barleycorn pattern and Arabic numerals, while blue leaf hands underscore the chronograph's refined, classic feel. You can purchase this gold watch for about 5,300 USD pre-owned. Mint-condition models demand about 6,600 USD.
The stainless steel editions are markedly more affordable. They are available on an alligator leather strap or stainless steel bracelet. You can also choose from a silver dial with Arabic numerals, a black dial with Roman numerals, or a blue dial with applied indices. The blue dial versions also have a sunburst pattern, lending these timepieces a slightly sportier feel than their more classic counterparts. One example is the ref. L2.7184.108.40.206, which is mounted on a matching blue alligator leather strap. Perhaps the sportiest version of this watch comes on a stainless steel bracelet. This model sells for roughly 2,800 USD, while pairing this model with a leather strap will cost you about 100 USD less. Timepieces with silver or black dials cost between 2,400 and 2,600 USD, depending on the version. You can buy pre-owned watches in good condition for between 1,600 and 2,200 USD.
- Calendar: date, day, month
- Moon phase display
- 24-hour display
Watch With Four Retrograde Displays
Retrograde displays are rather rare on wristwatches, and something quite special. These displays have hands that jump back to the starting position upon reaching the end of their scale.
Longines has several models in the Master Collection with four retrograde displays, such as the ref. L2.7220.127.116.11 and L2.718.104.22.168. Both watches have retrograde displays for the date, day, small seconds, and 24-hour GMT complications in addition to the standard time display. The day of the week is found at 12 o'clock, while the small seconds dial sits directly opposite at 6 o'clock. The 24-hour and date displays occupy the left and right edges of the dial, respectively. The ref. L2.722.214.171.124 also has a moon phase indicator above the small seconds at 6 o'clock. Moreover, this timepiece has a day/night display at 12 o'clock.
Setting and correcting the various displays takes place via push-pieces on the side of the case. Watches with moon phase complications have four push-pieces, while other models only require three.
If you prefer the version with a moon phase, you can choose between stainless steel watches with a silver or black dial paired with a three-piece link stainless steel bracelet or alligator leather strap. You can buy this extravagant Longines watch in mint condition for between 2,800 and 3,200 USD, depending on its configuration. Pre-owned watches generally cost 700 to 800 USD less.
The Master Collection Retrograde sans moon phase display boasts a silver-plated dial and is available in stainless steel or rose gold. Expect to pay roughly 3,000 USD for a stainless steel example in mint condition. The gold version demands significantly more at 5,400 USD, but you can usually save a few hundred dollars by opting for a pre-owned watch in good condition instead.
Three-Hand Watches With Moon Phase Displays
The moon phase display is one of the most popular watch complications, making it a perfect fit for the Master Collection. Longines produces numerous three-hand watches with a moon phase. The biggest differences between the models are their dials, which come in your choice of black, silver, blue, or mother-of-pearl. You can also choose from Arabic numerals, Roman numerals, or applied line or diamond indices. Each watch has a 60-minute scale around the outer edge of its dial, as well as a dual pointer date and moon phase display just above 6 o'clock.
Longines produces these moon phase watches in 34, 40, and 42-mm cases, making them a great choice for all wrist sizes. Each watch is held securely on the wrist by a leather strap or stainless steel link bracelet.
The caliber L899 ticks away inside all Longines Master Collection moon phase watches. This automatic movement is based on the ETA A31.L91 and has a 64-hour power reserve. Longines achieves this improved power reserve by lowering the balance frequency from 28,800 to 25,200 vph.
Longines Master Collection moonphase watches change hands for between 1,900 and 2,300 USD in mint condition. However, you can find pre-owned watches on Chrono24 for around 1,600 USD.
Chronographs With Two or Three Subdials
The Longines Master Collection contains several chronographs with bi- or tripcompax layouts. Watches with three subdials have a 42 or 44-mm stainless steel case and a silver, blue, or black dial. Arabic or Roman numerals mark the hours on the black and white dials, while the blue dial sports applied line indices. There's also a 30-minute counter at 3, a 12-hour counter at 6, and a small seconds at 9 o'clock. A date display at 4:30 completes the dial.
As for the movement, these watches are outfitted with the automatic chronograph caliber L688, which ETA produces exclusively for Longines. The caliber is based on the ETA A08.231 and features a column-wheel mechanism. Watch enthusiasts consider this to be of a higher quality than the cam-operated system used in the hugely popular Valjoux 7750 and other conventional calibers. The L688 has a power reserve of 54 hours and a balance frequency of 28,800 vph.
Depending on whether you choose the 42 or 44-mm case, which dial color you prefer, and if you want to mount the timepiece on a leather strap or stainless steel bracelet, you'll need to have between 2,200 and 2,400 USD on hand for a mint-condition chronograph in the Master Collection with three subdials. Pre-owned watches run between 1,400 and 1,600 USD.
Chronographs With Two Subdials
At 40 mm in diameter, models with two subdials are a great choice for slimmer wrists. These watches are available with the same dial colors and hour markers as the 44-mm editions with three subdials. However, the bicompax versions have a much tidier design than their counterparts. The 30-minute counter is located at 9 o'clock and the small seconds is at 3 o'clock. The date display is found at 6 o'clock.
Older versions of the 40-mm chronographs are powered by the caliber L651. The movement is based on the 2894 from ETA and boasts automatic winding and a power reserve of 42 hours. Longines has been equipping watches with the new L889 since mid-2020, which has a longer power reserve of 59 hours.
Prices for bicompax chronographs in the Master Collection depend on the exact version and condition of the timepiece, and usually come in between 1,600 and 2,200 USD.
- Two or three subdials
- Caliber L688 with a column wheel, 54-hour power reserve, and three subdials
- Caliber L651 or L889 with two subdials and 42 or 59-hour power reserve
How much do three-hand watches cost?
If you prefer simple three-hand watches with a date display, you'll find plenty of interesting options in the Longines Master Collection measuring between 25.5 and 42 mm. Most models are made of stainless steel, but there are select timepieces crafted from gold or in a two-tone design. Like much of the Master Collection family, you can choose between a silver, black, or blue dial. When it comes to the hour markers, Longines uses Roman or Arabic numerals, narrow indices, or even diamonds. The diamond-studded editions make fantastic women's watches.
The Longines caliber L888, a modified ETA A31.L01, ticks away inside the larger three-hand watches. This movement has a balance frequency of 25,200 vph and a 64-hour power reserve. You'll find the caliber L592 ticking away inside the more compact watches. This movement offers a power reserve of 42 hours.
You can buy a stainless steel model in mint condition on a leather strap or stainless steel bracelet for as little as 1,600 USD. Pre-owned watches often cost a few hundred dollars less. Two-tone watches change hands for between 2,000 and 3,000 USD. If you'd prefer an 18-karat rose gold case, you can expect an investment of 3,100 to 4,200 USD.
Master Collection Models With an Annual Calendar
Longines introduced a three-hand watch with an annual calendar to the Master Collection in 2018. This technology can even distinguish between months with 30 and 31 days, meaning you only have to change the date manually on the 1st of March.
The design of the Master Collection Annual is the same as that of the other watches in the collection: classic dials in black, silver, or blue, sporting applied line indices, diamonds, and Roman or Arabic numerals. The most striking detail on the 40-mm stainless steel watches is the day-date display at 3 o'clock. Expect prices to come in between 1,700 and 1,800 USD.