In recent times Longines has been on a bit of a roll when it comes to rather cool yet affordable vintage-inspired watches. That’s not a real surprise considering the extensive history of the brand. After all, it dates back to 1832 so there’s plenty of historically relevant pieces to choose from. And even though the DolceVita has perhaps not been the most popular range in the Longines portfolio, adding a sector dial in the mix seriously ups the cool factor.
So far this year we have seen a whole selection of attractive, retro-inspired watches by the winged-hourglass brand. There’s several new Longines Legend Diver’s available and of course new models in the Spirit collection. Another example is the very handsome Longines Heritage Classic in several color combinations. And of course, we have the Heritage Silver Arrow and the surprisingly funky Avigation BigEye in titanium with a dégradé blue dial.
The DolceVita was introduced in the mid-nineties, as an ode to a glamorous, Italian way of living. It even translates to the good life or sweet life. It takes its design cues from a Longines model from the 1920s, an era where the Art Deco style was booming. The watch that perhaps envokes the strongest feeling of the Art Deco movement is without a doubt the Cartier Tank series.
In turn, this Longines gives off the same vibe, especially due to the original flinqué style dial we previously come to know. A flinqué dial has skewed printed numerals spread evenly on a rectangular dial that has a guilloché-like pattern but one that is machine-applied. The new sector dial, introduced earlier this year, aims to change the Art Deco appeal of the previous models, and elevate it into something much more stand-out.
Let’s start with the case, which comes in two different sizes across the range. You have a choice of either a 27.7mm wide by 43.8mm tall case, or one that measures 28.2mm by 47mm. Both watches have the same proportions and details, it is just down to offering versatility to people when considering this watch.
The rectangular stainless steel case has a sleek, polished profile with a little step in the caseband, giving it some extra flair. On the right-hand side, there’s a restrained, polished crown with a single band on the side for grip, and “Longines” spelled on the top, paired with the hourglass logo. While the face of the watch and case has a curvature from top to bottom, the closed case-back is flat and decorated with the model’s designation and yet again the vintage-styled Longines winged hourglass logo. Considering the fact this is a case without a real bezel, the profile is smooth to the touch and seamlessly flows down into the lugs.
The real novelty of this DolceVita collection is of course the Sector style dial. This typical style divides the markings into sub-sections, something that adds a pleasant degree balance to any dial while keeping it legible at the same time. It is often regarded as a purely vintage touch, but nevertheless, one that proves popular even today. A common design element on most sector dials is the railroad-style minute track on the outer edge of the dial.
The new Longines DolceVita has a two-tone sector dial, with the center section having a matte silver finish. This also bears a crosshair in black, another vintage design element seen in sector dialed watches. The outer section of the dial, which has black hour markers and a black railroad minute track, has a vertically brushed finishing. All hour markers apart from the ones at 3, 6, 9 and 12 o’clock link the railroad minute track to the center crosshair section of the dial. Again, classical touches in this particular style of dials. The hour, minute and seconds hand are all blued steel, and it also has a date window positioned at 6 o’clock.
Regardless of the size of the Longines DolceVita you go for the watch has the mechanical L592 caliber. This automatic movement comes from ETA and is used on a regular basis by Longines. It runs at a frequency of 28,800vph (or 4Hz) and has a power reserve of 45 hours. And before you state that it should benefit greatly from the 80 hours the new ETA C07.111 offers (used by Tissot as the Powermatic 80) this simply will not fit in the case of the DolceVita. Hence the choice for the 19,40mm diameter of the L592 instead of the 25,6mm of the ETA C07.111
In all fairness, the Longines DolceVita is quite an appealing rectangular watch, of which there are not many on the market as of now. Of course, there’s the obvious alternative from the fabled French Maison, but this offers a similar style at a reduced price tag. And especially the adaptation to the new sector dial makes it all the more appealing, at least to us.
The Longines DolceVita comes in four different combinations, ranging from a black, blue or light brown leather strap with a regular pin-buckle to a stainless steel multi-link bracelet with a folding clasp. Price for all references is set at a very reasonable EUR 1,530. That means all sizes and strap/bracelet options are priced similarly, which is rare but very welcome.
More information on Longines.com
This post first appeared on Monochrome Watches - An online magazine dedicated to fine watches.