The Longines Master Collection launched in 2005, and it’s essentially the modern counterpart to the company’s very successful Heritage Collection: a wide range of traditionally styled (but not vintage inspired, except incidentally) watches with a variety of complications. Complications in the Master Collection thus far have included automatic chronographs, power reserve displays, complete calendar chronographs with moonphase, and even a watch with a double retrograde date and second time zone display, with retrograde small seconds, day/night display, and moonphase, believe it or not. The new annual calendar is a first for Longines, and it’s also an extremely affordable foray from the company into the world of more sophisticated calendar complications.
This was quite a surprise; an annual calendar from Longines represents a new level of technical sophistication for the brand, and at $2425, it’s the most affordable annual calendar on the market by a very respectable margin. At launch, there will be several different variations available. Three will have a stamped “barleycorn” pattern dial – one is black with Roman numerals and the other two are white, with either Arabic numerals or diamond indexes. The fourth will be a model with a sunray blue dial. Hands are either blued steel, or rhodium plated.
We were immediately impressed by the simplicity and clarity of the design. The annual calendar display is straightforward: the month, and the day of the week are shown in two windows at 3:00, with no attempt made to do anything more than provide information in a clear and straightforward fashion. You could if you wanted, take exception to the rather diffident legend “Annual Calendar” at the bottom of the dial, but the watch (and its price) are such a big accomplishment for Longines, I really don’t have it in me to complain.
The movement is Longines caliber L897.2, which is based on the ETA A31.L81 (this in turn is a variation on the venerable 2892-A2). The L897.2 runs at a rather unusual frequency: 25,200 vph, or 3.5 Hz. The annual calendar complication of course sits between a standard calendar and the perpetual calendar, and will correctly display the first of the month, after last day of any month with either 30 or 31 days. Manual correction is necessary only once per year, at the end of …read more