Longines Spirit: Pilot's Watches With Retro Charm
The Longines Spirit is a modern pilot's watch offering a touch of the vintage classics from the traditional manufacturer. The Spirit series balances simplicity and elegance, and epitomizes excellent craftsmanship – all at a fair price.
Inspired by Pioneering Spirit
In 2020, Longines ventured down a path that is seldom visited by other big names in the watchmaking industry: The traditional Swiss manufacturer presented a collection developed entirely from scratch. The Spirit series comprises a range of pilot's watches inspired by classics from the company's storied history, but wholly original in their own right. Unlike the watches, however, the name of the collection is not entirely new. Longines already offered timepieces with this designation a few years ago in the Heritage collection. However, apart from the name, these have little in common with the current models.
The collection is home to 40 and 42-mm three-hand watches as well as chronographs with a case size of 42 mm. The watches are crafted from titanium or stainless steel and have a depth rating of 100 m (10 bar, 328 ft). As is usually the case for this watch genre, the dials are tidy, but offer a certain depth thanks to applied numerals. Luminous material on the numerals, hands, and indices also ensures that you can easily read the time even in poor lighting conditions.
The timepieces in the Spirit collection are powered by high-quality automatic calibers produced by ETA exclusively for Longines. The movements have chronometer certification from the Official Swiss Chronometer Testing Institute (COSC) and offer power reserves of up to 72 hours.
5 Reasons to Buy a Longines Spirit
- Modern pilot's watches inspired by Longines classics
- COSC-certified automatic calibers
- Chronographs and three-hand watches
- Water-resistant to 100 m (10 bar, 328 ft)
- Stainless steel or titanium cases
Price Overview: Longines Spirit
|Model, reference number||Price (approx.)||Diameter, dial|
|Spirit Titanium, L3.8220.127.116.11||2,500 USD||42 mm, anthracite|
|Spirit Chronograph, L3.818.104.22.168||2,400 USD||42 mm, blue sunburst|
|Spirit, L3.822.214.171.124||1,800 USD||42 mm, silver with grainy texture|
|Spirit, L3.810.4.53.6||1,700 USD||40 mm, matte black|
|Heritage Spirit Chronograph, L2.705.4||1,400 USD||41 mm, black|
|Heritage Spirit, L2.700.4||870 USD||40 mm, white|
|Heritage Spirit Quartz, L2.198.4||600 USD||31 mm, black|
Prices: Longines Spirit
You can expect to pay between at least 1,600 and 1,800 USD for a model from the Longines Spirit collection. This amount will get you a three-hand stainless steel watch with a 40-mm diameter. There is a lot of room for customization, as you can choose between numerous dial colors and whether you want to pair the case with a leather strap or stainless steel bracelet. If you're willing to spend closer to 2,100 USD, you can buy the Spirit Prestige Edition. This model has the same inner workings as the standard version, but comes with a trio of bands: NATO strap, leather strap, and stainless steel bracelet.
The 42-mm three-hand watches crafted from stainless steel also come with different dial colors and your choice of NATO strap, leather strap, or stainless steel bracelet. Plan to spend between 2,200 and 2,400 USD on one of these timepieces.
In 2021, Longines introduced titanium three-hand watches to the mix. You can get a 40-mm model on a NATO strap for around 2,200 USD, while the 42-mm version on a titanium bracelet demands around 2,600 USD.
If you're in the market for a chronograph, you'll need to have around 2,400 USD on hand.
Classic Three-Hand Spirit Models
The Spirit collection centers mostly around classic three-hand watches. Parallels with the design of pilot's watches are drawn immediately: The dial is tidy and available in matte black, silver with a grainy texture, olive green, or with a blue sunburst pattern. The hour markers are simple, applied Arabic numerals filled with a healthy amount of luminous material. Otherwise, the only other small details are the Longines logo under 12 o'clock and five stars accompanied by the inscription "Chronometer" above 6 o'clock. The stars are a reference to former days when Longines used to decorate their particularly high-end watches in this way.
The inner dial is framed by a thin, polished metal ring. Diamond-shaped hour markers sit atop this ring, which also glow in the dark. The outer edge of the dial continues the color from the center, and features a fine second scale.
The baton hands emphasize the sophisticated dial design. They are matte with silver plating and coated in luminous material. The tip of the second hand is dipped in red lacquer and also shaped like a diamond, and thus moves perfectly over the indices.
Stainless steel Spirit models have a date complication at 3 o'clock. You'll see on the 40-mm watches that the date window replaces the number 3, while it cuts the 3 in half on the 42-mm models.
Both versions are powered by the caliber L888.4, which is based on ETA's A31.L11 and boasts chronometer certification. In the first edition of the Spirit, this movement had a power reserve of 64 hours. Longines has since increased the power reserve to 72 hours.
If you would like to buy a stainless steel Spirit on a leather strap, you can expect prices for the 40-mm version to come in at around 1,600 USD, and the 42-mm model to cost around 1,800 USD. Fans of steel link bracelets will need to spend 100 to 200 USD more. The Prestige Edition comes with three bands (stainless steel bracelet, leather strap, and NATO strap); the 40-mm edition changes hands for around 2,100 USD, while the 42-mm watch demands close to 2,300 USD.
Particularly Lightweight: Titanium Spirit Models
The titanium Spirit models made their debut in summer 2021. Longines mostly kept to the original design, making only a handful of small, subtle changes. For example, the manufacturer removed the date window, which lends the dial greater symmetry. Furthermore, the hands, indices, and borders of the numerals are gold-plated and form a beautiful contrast to the anthracite-colored background.
Again, you will find the caliber L888.4 ticking away inside the case. Longines offers the watch in two familiar diameters: 40 and 42 mm. Regardless of which case size you choose, you can buy a titanium Spirit on a NATO strap for around 2,200 USD. If you want to pair the watch with a titanium link bracelet, prices will climb to roughly 2,600 USD.
There are several chronographs in the Spirit collection. The case is made of stainless steel and measures 42 mm across. The design language is the same as the three-hand watches: The hands and numerals correspond exactly to those of the sibling models, and details such as the metal ring with diamond indices, red-lacquered second hand, and the five stars can also be found on the dial. The latter, however, had to give up their place at 6 o'clock for the hour counter and are now located under the Longines logo at 12. The date window now sits between 4 and 5 o'clock, as the 30-minute counter has taken its place at 3. The display is completed by a small seconds subdial at the 9 o'clock position.
The chronometer-certified automatic caliber L688.4 powers these watches. The movement is based on the A08.L01 from ETA, features a column wheel, and offers a 66-hour power reserve. One interesting part of the movement is the additional screw-down push-piece at 10 o'clock. It is used to easily change the date.
Longines offers the Spirit Chronograph with your choice of matte black, silver with a grainy texture, or blue sunburst dial. You can also choose between watches with color-coordinated leather straps or three-piece link stainless steel bracelets. Prices for watches on leather straps hover around the 2,400 USD mark. The variants on stainless steel bracelets are usually just slightly more expensive.
Pillow-Shaped Heritage Spirit
In the early 2000s, Longines offered an array of watches in the Heritage collection under the Spirit moniker. However, these older models are much different to the models we know today. For example, they have a pillow-shaped stainless steel case, and the curved numerals and cathedral hands are reminiscent of pilot's watches from the 1920s and 30s.
The Heritage Spirit is available in a 40-mm automatic version primarily intended for men, as well as a 31-mm quartz version for women. Longines also produces a 41-mm chronograph.
You can find listings for the 40-mm Heritage Spirit in good condition on Chrono24 for around 880 USD. The quartz-powered versions are significantly more affordable at about 590 USD. The Heritage Spirit Chronograph demands around 1,400 USD.