Although it seems, in recent years, that the popularity of diving into the archives for new releases has markedly increased, Longines has been paying attention to their heritage for awhile.
This year has brought some very pared back models, including a special anniversary Flagship anniversary model. This new model was announced before Baselworld 2017, but consider it now formally launched. It is important to bear in mind that Longines did release another Heritage Flagship model in 2014, about which you can read here.
The year of 1957 saw Longines launch its Flagship line of dress watches characterised by classic, clean, elegant simplicity. The ‘Flagship’ name was and is, a reference to the ship after which it is named.
These new anniversary models come in numbered limited editions of 60 pieces in rose gold, 60 in yellow gold, and 1,957 in steel. All case metal variants share a brushed silver two zone dial, but the (lumed) dauphine hands, indices, and Arabic numerals are yellow gold for the yellow gold cased version and rose gold for both the rose gold and stainless steel models.
Unlike back in the 1950s, the Anniversary Flagship is not a manual-wind but contains the automatic Calibre L609 (ETA 2892 base) with forty-two hours of power reserve.
The case has been naturally increased, to a nicely sized 38.5mm that is on the lower side of modern dress watch standards but of a size that hits a sweet spot for many people. It comes on a brown alligator strap.
The Longines Flagship’s name relates to the Fleet Admiral’s flag on his ship, and this anniversary model reflects the historical models with the presence of a stamped relief of a caravel sailing ship. This is, however, a dress watch, so water resistance is only 30m.
Heritage re-issues tend to be watches that elicit a lot of opinions from watch enthusiasts in general, but especially those who own the originals. Small changes are important and the addition of features such as a date window where one wasn’t previously present for modern commercial demands always leads to animated discussion.
For me, this new Flagship Heritage 60th Anniversary model is a particularly fine example of a heritage-inspired piece.
One of the most interesting things about this new model is that Longines are telling the story of its creation as being linked to brand ambassador Kate Winslet. If you go to their website you will see it, but they say that during a trip to the Manufacture, she found herself rather taken by a vintage Flagship model that she saw. This lead to a limited edition of five pieces sold to benefit her Golden Hat Foundation (of which Longines is a supporter) and now, these 60th anniversary models.