It looks like the guy who designed this automatic Longines Column-Wheel Single Push-Piece Chronograph 180th Anniversary Edition (ref. L2.718.104.22.168) was so impressed with the original 1913 Longines model (it was the world’s first chronograph that was from the ground up designed as a wristwatch) that the final product looks more like a faithful reproduction rather than a respectful tribute.
If you would take a moment to search the Internet, you will probably find a photo or two depicting one of a few 1913 “monopusher” chronographs that still remain in museums and private collections.
Compare the original model with the new 180th Anniversary Limited Edition and you will immediately notice that the two timekeepers have much in common.
The similarities start with almost identical wire-style lugs and continue with the same font face used to paint the bold Arabic numerals, the same red color for the “12”, the same minute track and, of course, the same disposition of counters where the 30-minute chronograph totalizer stays at 3 hours, while the small seconds sub-dial is placed at 9 o’clock.
Well, the blued hands are shaped differently: while the original sported Breguet-type hands, the new one has them changed in favor of a less trademark-infringing job.
Oh, and since the new watch is powered by a new Longines Caliber L788.2 (also known as ETA A08.261 automatic blank caliber,) the new timekeeper also has a small rectangular date aperture at 6 hours!
As it is common for vintage-styled watches, the new Longines Column-Wheel Single Push-Piece Chronograph offers highly-legible, easy to read dial layout that, while definitely “historic”, looks fresh and entertaining. Frankly, this is the last thing that I could expect from Longines. Congratulations are in order.
The only thing that I don’t like here is the lack of grand feu enamel on its milky white dial. But that probably has something to do with the trinket’s cost.
According to the official press release, the new watch will be shipped in a medium-sized rose gold body only 40 millimeters in diameter, which is smaller than the case of the original.
The watch was officially revealed during Baselworld 2012 trade fair and will be issued in a limited edition of just 180 individually numbered pieces. The price is currently set at $10,750 (just a trifle higher than MSRP for a non-limited version,) which is reasonable to me. Its 18-karat rose gold case is massive, the movement is actually good and is assembled of high-grade components, and, of course, the fact that it is limited to such a small lot (compare it to brands like Breitling that like to churn out thousands of watches that only different from base ones with color of their dials and call them “limited editions”) will probably make them highly sought-after rarities in just a couple of years thus significantly increasing their resale value.
Longines Column-Wheel Single Push-Piece Chronograph 180th Anniversary (ref. L2.722.214.171.124) specification
Price: $10,750 (MSRP)
Movement: Automatic, Caliber L788.2, base ETA A08.261, column-wheel chronograph, Swiss Made
Number of jewels: 27
Movement frequency: 28,800 vph
Functions: Hours, minutes, small seconds, date, chronograph
Power reserve: 54 hours
Case: 18-karat rose gold
Size: 40.00 mm
Hour markers: Black
Hands: Blued steel
Water resistance: 30 meters
Strap: Brown alligator leather strap with a dainty buckle