Whether you’re talking about old watches, old cars, old books, or anything else vintage, you’re likely to arrive at the same conundrum: old things are delicate and the more you use them, the more you risk damaging them. In the world of watches, it’s totally feasible to wear a 60-year-old timekeeper to the office, but you’re going to need to be extra careful to avoid knocking it on a doorframe or getting it wet when you wash your hands. The Longines Master Collection, however, solves this problem by presenting updates on classic watch designs powered by the latest Swiss self-winding movements. It’s basically like getting a 1960s Ferrari 250 GTO with all modern underpinnings — the perfect combination of antique and new.
Here’s an introduction to the highlights of the Longines Master Collection that best embody this ethos.
Sometimes the simplest executions are the most timeless. Exhibit A: this time and date model available in four distinct 38.5 mm versions. All four feature a steel case enclosing a self-winding mechanical movement with a 64-hour power reserve, but the combination of vintage Arabic numerals and engraved “barleycorn” dial takes this one to the next level. A set of blued steel hands add a nice contrast and really make the other elements pop. $2,500
A polished 40mm steel case, alligator leather strap, and simple stick indexes keep things classical here, making the addition of a big power reserve indicator at six o’clock all the more of a contrast. It works, though, and makes for an unexpected but equally refined addition to the Master Collection family. $3,000
Moon phase dials are a mark of sophistication (and often come with a price to match), making this one a true under-the-radar contender for your go-to dress watch. It’s available in five variations with a choice of three dial colours and three kinds of numerals, but we’re partial to this one’s dark blue sunray dial that calls to mind the sky at twilight. $3,000
We love a bi-compax chronograph and we love the way Longines has designed this one, balancing the two subdials with a date window at six. The closer you look, the better the details become — like the contrast of the sunray dial with the engraved circles in the 30-minute and small seconds counters or the delicate curve of the silvered and polished hands. $3,550
With so many dial designs and complications on offer, there’s no easy way to choose a favourite piece from the Master Collection, but this model is a clear standout. For one thing, a self-winding Swiss-made annual calendar watch for just over $4k is incredible value. At any price, however, this watch is a textbook example of a well-balanced complex dial, presenting its day, month, chronograph, and moon phase functions clearly and legibly in separate subdials. Of particular note is the half-moon-shaped hand indicating the date around the outside of the dial. $4,100
All images courtesy of Longines.