The Longines Equestrian Collection 2016 watches
The Swiss Canton of the Jura is the land of master watchmakers and of Freiberger horses. Around there, this breed that mingles together English thoroughbred horses with Anglo-Norman horses is better known as the “Franches-Montagnes”. According to non-official sources, this horse breed dates back either to the 14th century or to the end of the 19th century and after saying all that, you must be wondering what horses might have in common with the manufacturer from Saint-Imier.
My answer is quite simple; lots of things actually! First of all, the style of the new Longines Equestrian collection 2016 takes inspiration from the shape of the bridles this particular horse breed used to be presented in and it is a way to remind us all that every reference to the past isn’t a marketing operation in Longines’ history but it’s rather a choice. In this specific case, it is the manufacturer’s willingness to create a special bond with a world that is fully part of its history, a bit like the prestigious partnership that exists between the historic timepiece that sports a horse effigy and the Global Champions Tour, this bond is as strong as what ties together the aviation industry and the world of chronography.
There is no more suitable woman than Ashwarya Rai – a model, an actress and the historic ambassador for the brand – to wear a model of the Equestrian collection and it is quite a rare occasion to see a watch-making manufacturer that manages to express itself in woman’s watch-making with the very same taste and the very same easiness that it uses to craft man’s watches. The 2016 Longines Equestrian collection is not yet another female declension of a collection that was originally created for men and was then adapted to suit a more feminine taste - something that happens very frequently among watch brands - but it is rather an entirely new collection that, like other Longines’ series, was exclusively thought and designed for a woman’s audience.
The sobriety of the Equestrian collection isn’t a synonym for excessive simplicity because the clean and linear shape of the rectangular case chamfered at the edges has led to the creation of many versions that will satisfy every taste; those who want a sporty-looking Equestrian watch, a timepiece that is suitable for a brunch event or for an evening out. The “flinqué” dial of the Longines Equestrian is enriched by Roman numerals and Top Wesselton diamonds that are scattered all across the surface of the bezel; a style choice that is quite a common trait across all the woman’s collections crafted by the brand with the winged hourglass logo. The row of diamond borders a rectangular sapphire glass that is slightly convex at the edges and encased also; a tribute to the first woman’s wrist watches and an obvious reference to the art deco style.
On a hypothetical scale of aesthetic complications, we can say that Longines has expressed its creativity at its best in the “damier” dial version. Most likely this is also the version that seems to be least inspired by the equestrian world but, at the same time, it is also the most interesting one due to the complex geometry of its surfaces that scale down towards the centre – or vice versa –. It looks as if one of Escher’s drawings had been broken in the middle by a perfectly smooth circumference, on which Longines has applied two small light-blued feather hands. The hours hand is slightly longer than the minutes hand, the dial is completed by 12 Top Wesselton diamonds that replace the indexes.
On this occasion, Longines has opted for a perfectly smooth and mirror polished bezel mounted on a case that measures 38mm by 26mm and that ends with a mesh bracelet, that has been reshaped in the middle as a reference to Jubilee bracelets but it is larger at the ends to create an original pattern for the most sporty-looking timepiece of the entire collection.
Longines has also created a version for evening events, it is even more elegant than the other ones with an extremely beautiful black lacquered dial that is also ultra flat and that features the small seconds at 6 o’clock like on the other versions. Thirteen diamonds are asymmetrically scattered across the dial – there are two diamonds located at 12 o’clock – and the watch also sports a black leather strap with a folding clasp and tone-on-tone stitching.
The manufacturer from Saint-Imier has released many different versions and four different sizes of the Equestrian timepieces, they feature an elongated case that fits every woman’s wrist, they are sporty-looking and they are perfect to wear at an aperitif event or for an evening out. These Equestrian watches become part of collections specially designed for women with the same intensity with which the Heritage 1969 is currently entering the world of man’s watches. It seems like this year, Longines has devoted itself to women in an even stronger manner than in the past and with a special subtle taste too that, in the accessible luxury sector, no other brand is actually able to match.
(Photo credit: courtesy of Longines; Horbiter®'s proprietary photo-shooting)
Alessandra Argentino @Horbiter®