Introducing the Longines Pulsometer Chronograph. Inspired by a medical timepiece from the early 1920s, the Longines Pulsometer Chronograph measures the number of heartbeats, in addition to the time. The creation of a pulsometer came during a period when physicians greatly relied on inaccurate devices to time the pulse. The pulsometer overcame these inaccuracies. Indeed, this function provides a simple, reliable and rapid heart rate reading. But of course, in today’s world, pulsometers are worn more for its form than its function.
This new release by Longines in Baselworld 2015 has built for itself a hyped following and we are not surprised why this is so. Let’s cut to the chase. The watch looks spectacular, for its price point, and as some would say, even at its price point. Priced at SGD $6360, it is arguably affordable and is a ‘bang for the buck’. There are several reasons why we say so.
Firstly, let us examine the aesthetic appearance of the watch. In judging appearance, we would want to look at how individual features work well on its own and in harmony with other features. In particular, the size of the pulsometer is a good choice. At 40mm, it is neither too large, or too small. Sufficiently refined for the modern man. Apart from that, we enjoy the dial. We have heard some comments about the dial, some thought that it looked like an enamel dial, while others were just amazed at the numeral painting and the quality of finish on the dial. The black arabic font is painted onto a lacquered white dial, with a contrasting red pulsometer scale and blued steel hands. Individually, each of these features are finely processed and when put together, they harmonise pleasantly. Notably, the Longines font and the blued steel open tipped ‘Breguet’ type hands add icing to the cake; and we have to say that this is one delectable looking dessert for watch lovers.
Apart from the external appearance, watch lovers should always concern themselves with the movement running the timepiece. In this Longines Pulsometer, an ETA movement is used. But before we jump on the familiar bandwagon of cursing at stock movements, bear in mind that this monopusher chronograph movement is actually custom built by ETA for Longines. It is a column wheel monopusher chronograph movement, known as the Calibre L788.2 (ETA A08.L11). It beats at 28,800 vibrations per hour and packs 54 hours of power reserve. The chronograph has a 30 minute at 3 and a seconds hand timer at 9. The finishing on the movement is the typical ETA standards, which means sufficient for the job but not much of a painting.
While we have gone rabid over this Pulsometer, let us also consider some qualms that we have heard. There are several, but the loudest of these qualms are concerning the date. “Chronographs should not have dates.” Of course, there is no allusion to biblical text here, although nervous purists who exalt fanatic love for chronographs tend to emphasize this commandment. We have seen dates on chronographs in all sorts of positions, size and form. Some are placed at 3, some at 4:30 and others, like the great Datograph, has it right smack centre. In all brutal honesty, there is no gold standard, but such preferences would boil down to individual taste. In the case of the Longines Pulsometer, we remain conflicted. Some of us finds that the dial is too busy even though it is well made. Furthermore, the presence of the date just adds more numbers to the 1000 digits on the dial. I exaggerate.
In conclusion, the Longines Pulsometer Chronograph is a splendid monopusher at an incredible price point. While some of us find the overall effect more than pleasant, we also do find that the dial maybe a little too cluttered for some. Comparatively, the older Basel released monopushers without the pulsometer scale maybe better preferred for those of us looking for even more simplicity. But nonetheless, this Longines Pulsometer Chronograph is arguably the best made Pulsometer in this price range in the market. Even when it’s the only one.
Nice piece Chester. The dial and harmony of the piece is a winner for me. Only two gripes – the small date (should go) and the automatic movement. For a chronograph, I would prefer a manual winding piece to show off the movement and the column wheel. In this case, the rotor covers half the movement.
But as you correctly mentioned, this is one of the best looking monopusher chronograph in the market at this price point. And the lacquer dial made it even more attractive!
My guess is that at this price range and affordability the brand is likely torn between form and function. It tries to keep the watch pretty but at the same time have to tend to customers looking for a beater. That should explain an automatic and date display. But judging only based on form, I’d agree with your views on the date and a manual movement. Especially the date. It really does make the busy dial even more cluttered with numbers.