In many ways, vintage-inspired releases from Longines have changed the face of watch collectors around the world, and with this latest release, the Saint-Imier-based brand is not over yet. The historically faithful Longines Ultra-Chron diving watch is a tribute to the era of watchmaking innovation and creativity from the late 1960s as an artfully designed and technologically interesting everyday watch.
The 1960s were probably one of the most important decades in the history of Swiss watchmaking as the last era of continuous mechanical timekeeping before the first quartz watches came on the market. It has been the last decade of the relentless mechanical precision of the Swiss watch industry, which has been at the forefront of Longines for most of the last century and beyond.
It is this mechanical precision in the pursuit of perfect timekeeping that the original Longines Ultra-Chron is the first high-rhythm diving watch ever released in 1968, and it is one of the last high-rhythm watches of its era. It was Christmas Day in 1969, when the first quartz watches appeared on the counters, which means that just a year later, the arc of achieving precision watchmaking changed forever.
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In addition to the charming design of the cushion case and high-contrast dial, the beauty of the original Longines Ultra-Chron from 1968 was the automatic caliber 431 inside. This hi-beat caliber has been tested to offer excellent accuracy compared to other machines from the same period, partly thanks to strokes 10 times per second or 36,000 times per hour. At the end of the 1960s, when the 431 caliber was first introduced to the market, it was rated as accurate within 2 seconds per day, which is a remarkable success at the time.
This whole history leads us to the Longines Ultra-Chron edition from 2022, which is an exact reinterpretation of the distinctive original design from 1968 and is far from the more modern Longines diving watch. Thanks to the balanced 43mm stainless steel case, its design is very close to the original cushion-shaped and attractive blend of satin-cut and polished case surfaces.
The case is secured by a solid steel back case, which guarantees a water resistance of 300 m to the watch with a screw-down crown. Another attractive element of the case is a black ceramic frame with red minute markers, an upgrade from the original bakelite frame and nicely matching the red reflections on the dial.
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Probably the biggest visual change from the original Longines Ultra-Chron is the missing date window in the dial. The most orthodox purists might cry, but I think it’s about improving the overall look of the watch, balancing the dial and sharpening the watch to its practical purpose as a watch for divers.
The rest of the dial is overtrained, with the original Ultra-Chron logo at 6 o’clock, while the winged Longines hourglass has a place of honor at 12 o’clock. The red minute hand is extremely easy to read and matches the tone of the original, while the black surface of the dial has a matte texture.
Below the dial is the updated L836.6 caliber, a proprietary machine from Longines that runs at a high frequency of 36,000 bph. In keeping with the tradition of super-precision high-frequency machines in the Longines archive, this L836.6 caliber was independently tested by TIMELAB, based in Geneva, which awarded it “ultra chronometer” certification. This certification is the result of individual testing of each movement for 15 days, with accuracy being measured by placing the watch in a number of different positions and at different temperatures, both of which can have a major impact on accuracy.
If you have decided that the re-released Ultra-Chron must join your collection, or even get on your wrist like your first watch, you have only one final decision left: a bracelet or a leather strap? The watch is available in both variants, with a brown leather strap and a steel clasp, or with a stainless steel bracelet that closes with a folding clasp. You will be able to purchase the Longines Ultra-Chron in a special presentation box that will come with another black NATO strap made from recycled material.
As of today, Longines Ultra-Chron is available for sale through your local Longines boutique or online. The Ultra-Chron has a suggested retail price of $ 5,200 on the stainless steel bracelet, while the brown leather strap version has an RRP of $ 4,800.
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