A truly iconic calibre – the 13ZN Longines

As mentioned in the ‘who are we?‘ post, there are many types of watch enthusiasts. A lot of them get quite excited by movements, and a subset of these are driven to find examples of iconic or important movements. One of these movements is the 13ZN, and one of these movement geeks has shared a recent acquisition with Horologium.

The Longines caliber 13ZN is one of the most sought after chronograph movements, as its development was genuinely a milestone in modern horology. With its patent first filed in 1936, the 13ZN was the first flyback chronograph, developed for flight use. If you weren’t aware, Longines has been long associated with aviation, and I have already written about the groundbreaking Weems Second Setting Watch and Longines Lindbergh.

To many minds the 13ZN remains one of the most beautiful movements ever made, largely because of its column wheel design. As well as the column wheel, the manual wind 13ZN calibre has 17 jewels, bimetallic spring detent escapement with Breguet hairspring, and BPH of 18,000.

This one dates from the late 1940s and has the original hands, dial and movement, but an aftermarket 35mm case (with great looking lugs). The dial has red and black numerals with two subsdiary dials, chapter ring with minute track, telemetre (a telemetre determines the distance of an object from the observer by measuring how long it takes sound to travel that distance) and is signed “ANTI-MAGNETIQUE”. The dial is not pristine but has the great patina of a watch of this age, and the dark blued hands are still looking bright.

With a scarce and highly sought after movement, it’s a shame that it has to be hidden, but with its classic aesthetics of 1940s choronos and blued the hands, it’s nonetheless a very attractive watch externally as well.

As this is an Olympics year, it’s worth noting that Longines provided timers used at the first modern day Olympics in 1892.

Categories: Hands-on, Longines, Pilot's watches, Vintage Longines, Watch movements, Watch Profile, watches

7 replies

  1. great pics, AP. i love blue hands on a watch… and blue screws in a movement…always stands out for me.


  2. Looks great ! Thx for a nice post .



  3. Hi ,beatiful watch! Is it for sale?


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