The new Longines Column-Wheel Chronograph Record (Ref. L4.754.4.52/72.X) comes equipped with a strange-looking direct-drive second hand with a vernier scale that mimics the same device installed on a historic 1966 Longines chronograph wristwatch.
Frankly speaking, I find it difficult to grasp the idea behind this device, but, at least, the vernier scale makes the second hand more entertaining to look at.
Painted bright red, the awkward-looking hand is matched with a 30-minute counter at 9 o’clock that features a rim of the same color.
The watch is powered by the caliber Caliber L688.2 automatic chronograph movement aka ETA A08.231.
Developed by ETA S.A. exclusively for Longines, the device was first announced in March 2009 and also powers other members of their elegant Column-Wheel Chronograph series. Although I said that the mechanism is ‘exclusive’ for Longines, it must be noted that ETA has plans to use the A08.231 series for more expensive members of the Swatch Group. As of now, the mechanisms serve as basis for the current generation of Omega 3330 co-axial calibers that, among others, will power their upcoming Omega Speedmaster Racing (ref. 3126.96.36.199.06.001) automatic chronograph. Yes, they will likely feature higher-grade parts and more thorough quality control, but I think it shows the potential of the new mechanism.
Naturally, the new CWC Record features the same dial layout with the small seconds indicator at 9 o’clock and a 12-hour totalizer at 6 o’clock. The small date window is placed between 4 and 5 o’clock.
However, while the other members of the family were more of a dressy kind, this particular model just screams “sports” or, rather, “sports utility” since you will be able to wear it both with jeans and a polo shirt as well as with a formal suit.
Its black dial provides a perfect background for the rhodium-plated hour and minute hands that feature tine patches of Superluminova luminescent substance on their tips.
To make the watch even easier to read at nights, the Swiss watchmaker has also applied nine more dots of green lume in 5-minute intervals.
Well, this is a very nice watch. If Longines manages to keep the price below €3500*, it may well become a bestseller.
See also: Longines GrandeVitesse Chronograph 24h
* UPDATE ON PRICE: The Swiss watchmaker has indeed offered the Column-Wheel Chronograph Record with a price tag of just €3100. While this is not really “cheap”, the watch still offers a good value thanks to its high-grade mechanism that literally blows out of the water earlier ETA calibers that are often installed in less expensive chronographs both in terms of build quality and utility (its power reserve looks really impressive compared to meager 38 hours of older movements.) Some may find its “generic” design sort of uninspiring, but if you are searching for a sporty chronograph with a nice colorful twist to it, this could be the one to get before they are out of production.
Longines Column-Wheel Chronograph Record (Ref. L4.754.4.52/72.X) specification
Price: €3100 (MSRP, ref. L4.7188.8.131.52)
Movement: Automatic, Caliber L688.2 (base ETA A08.231,) 30 x 7.9 mm (diameter x height,) 27 jewels, 28,800 vph, Swiss Made
Movement decoration: Geneva stripes, perlage
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, date, chronograph
Power reserve: 54 hours
Case material: Stainless steel
Case size: 41.00 mm
Hands: Stainless steel, rhodium-plated
Water resistance: 30 meters
Strap: Black alligator leather strap with stainless steel buckle
Crystal: Sapphire, antireflective