The Longines Master Collection Annual Calendar
The brand's unstoppable rise towards more complicated timepieces
All the Longines of the Master Collection have a common property, a smooth, shiny and rather thick bezel and wide and curved lugs. Until now, a Longines Master had never used a caliber with an annual calendar complication (historical reference 6817 excluded, as long as I remember) and this choice partially proves that Longines, which has more familiarity with the chronograph, has begun to stretch out its range of complicated calibers.
If you know the Master Collection, you will know that it is not a collection without mechanical complications, sure enough it was a Master to create the most complicated caliber never realized by the brand in the modern age and it is the L707 with retrograde functions. It’s a good technical exercise and a proof of concept, but only for few lovers.
The debut of the annual calendar complication (that allows to manage the months of 30 and 31 days without any manual correction) has more relevance than the one related to a simple technical declination of a standard caliber; the feeling is that Longines is taking advantages of ETA’s potentiality and slowly it is going upwards, in positioning terms.
Going back to the product, the perfect adjective to define the Master Collection Annual Calendar is “reassuring”, like the 40mm (no more 1mm) of the case. The Master Collection is the base for testing new complications but it will never be appropriate for design outburst, it is a strategy that pays off when you need to make volumes, in fact it is the most sold collection of Longines.
The L897.2 caliber is the giant novelty: without expecting to arrive to a complication with a perpetual calendar that is now over the sphere of interest of the brand, an annual calendar is the most intelligent calendar’s version you could wish for. It is necessary to correct it by hand once a year in February, and it is seen by many the accessible option for those who can’t afford a perpetual calendar, which has an high price and in most cases there’s no point in having it, if not for the pleasure of having something technically amazing.
Wouldn’t be surprised if one day Longines will release a flagship product with a perpetual calendar, as long as it leads to a reasonable price, that means industrialize it with an attractive cost for the brand. Technically, the caliber with an annual calendar complication offers the same hours of power reserve as the standard caliber: 64 hours.
The dial is elegant: it is decorated Argentè frappè “grain d’orge” and it has the minute ring printed on a steep external ring. The date window, if you zoom our macro photo, has a clear double step which brings out the two details, separated, of day and date. The Annual Calendar inscription, on the dial base, which I consider unnecessary, is a remainder that this Master can’t be a simple day-date but an annual calendar.
One of the most difficult aspects to be reported is this: you can see and activate the chronograph, while a day-date, an annual calendar and a perpetual calendar look alike, but between the three there’s an abyss, technically speaking. The Arabic numerals font is great: on this occasion Longines has drawn on Art Decò, in my opinion, and it is this font to give personality to the Master Annual Calendar’s dial.
Once again, Longines made a little economic miracle: 1.920€ is the lowest market value for a mechanical annual calendar, an aspect that makes you overlook on little inconveniences like the hard leather strap and the folding buckle which stings a bit when you wear it.
(Photo credit: Horbiter®'s proprietary photo-shooting by Simona Bertogliatti)
Gaetano C @Horbiter®