The Longines Master Collection Blue and Gray dial
There is a lot to say about the Master Collection and the reasons why this is the collection that offers Longines’ most complete range of versions; from the simple women’s three-hands-timepieces to the more complicated models featuring retrograde indicators, such as the Master Collection Retrograde that is also part of my personal private collection.
Although we have this year spoken about the Longines Record, the Longines HydroConquest and the Legend Diver Black PVD, the Master Collection is the brand’s most successful collection among the public, it sports quite a strong classical and measured style that inevitably embraces a lot of user types. The collection has been further strengthened last year thanks to the arrival of two color variations mixed with different case sizes; four in one instance and two in the other instance.
Blue and Gray.
Color variations are generally not something new to hear about, unless you want to emphasize that the color blue has joined the Master Collection for the very first time and that the gray color, almost forgotten by watch brands, makes its welcome comeback.
Leaving aside any discussions about the tone of blue used by Longines (a pantone that tends to be quite opaque and with soft hues that are consistent with the "posed" style of the brand) as well as leaving aside any comments about the chosen gray tone, this occasion is the perfect one to describe how these two new colors emphasize the features that make the Longines Master Collection attractive. Moreover, in their conceptual simplicity (in this version, they are three-hands-watches with a date), this choice of colours makes these timepieces easily identifiable and recognizable among similar models proposed by the brand’s competitors.
In-between a classic and a sports watch.
The Longines Master Collection is very well-proportioned between a classic watch and a sports watch, especially in its versions with a steel bracelet. The case is thin, but the bezel is as thick as the case side. This step translates into the inclined minute ring on the outer flange that gives a feeling of sportiness and depth while breaking the propensity to an excessive classicism of the Master Collection and is the design choice that confirms the quote, often overly-used, of “a perfect balance between classic and sporty".
Between the two dials, I personally prefer the gray one; the blue version is quite well-done and the tone is sober enough, but the gray color is something new that we hadn’t seen in a long time and there are very few brands that, today, manufacture gray dials with a soleil finish (Zenith is one of them, if I am not mistaken).
My preference, however, goes to the applied indexes rather than to the Roman numbers; a choice selected for the Master Collection Blue soleil.
Endless possibilities, all versions sport an automatic movement.
The Longines Master Collection Blue is available in four versions, all made of steel with a steel bracelet, the sizes range from 25.50mm to 29mm in diameter in the women’s versions, whereas the 3 men’s versions (theoretically for men) start at 38.5mm in diameter up to the 42mm. In the middle lies a 40mm diameter version.
All timepieces sport an automatic movement crafted by ETA and this is quite an interesting feature, especially if you consider the standard diameter of women's watches that often "force” the manufacturer – mainly on rectangular shaped watches – to equip them with a quartz movement. The main difference lies in the maximum power reserve that has been brought down from the 64 hours in the men's versions down to the 40 hours in the smallest versions. Aesthetically speaking, the difference also lies in one less applied index (11 indexes rather than 12), due to the reduced size of the dial on small female diameters.
The Longines Master Collection Gray Soleil is only available with a leather strap and a deployiment clasp and it comes in two different sizes; 40mm in the men’s version and 29mm in the women’s version. As mentioned before, the main difference lies in the indexes on the dial, which are, in this case, printed Roman numerals. The retail price of the new models ranges from 1.510 euros for the smallest of the women's Longines Master Collection timepieces up to 1.790 euros for the 42mm version with a blue sunray dial and a stainless steel bracelet.
It is not a revolution in itself, and the timepiece does not feature the same appeal of a Longines Skin Diver for example, because the collection doesn't need any, it is instead the evolution of a range of timepieces that represents the real core of the Longines offering. With this collection, the brand aims at improving the value for the customer without fiddling with the retail prices. Pricing is, somehow, in line with the rest of the Master Collection's timepieces; and they represent a unique positioning if you consider the overall quality of the watch itself, first of all, the perceived quality; one of the real strengths of this brand.
(Photo credit: Horbiter®'s proprietary photo-shooting)
Gaetano C @Horbiter®