Longines has more than 100 years of expertise in the development of timepieces indicating different time zones. The brand watchmakers introduced the first Longines pocket watch indicating two time zones in 1908. The first timepiece of a long series, mainly aimed at the aeronautics sector, highlighting the pioneering role that Longines plays in this field.
The new Longines Spirit Zulu Time writes a new chapter in the brand’s history of multipurpose timepieces for pilots and adventurers.
Review: Longines Spirit Zulu Time
Thr retail price for the Longines Spirit Zulu Time Ref. L3.818.104.22.168 is SGD 4,420 inclusive of GST.
The new Longines Spirit Zulu Time houses an exclusive new in-house calibre with a silicon balance-spring which and a three time zone capability. The hour hand can be adjusted independently of the GMT indicator which provides the 2nd timezone. The additional time zone is read using the bidirectional rotating bezel, also graduated over 24 hours.
The Case and Dial
This setup is also known as Zulu time, which the watch takes its name from. Sized at 42.00 mm with a thickness of 13.90 mm, the stainless steel cased watch comes in both strap and bracelet variants. It is available in a variety of dial and bezel color combinations, namely anthracite dial and green bezel, black matte dial and bezel and a blue on blue dial and bezel variant.
The bezel features an engraved 24-hour scale with lacquered numbers and a Super-LumiNova triangle marking midnight. The dial uses applied numeral indicators with a periphery seconds track. A date aperture opens at the 6 o’clock position just beneath the 5 star logo and chronometer sign.
The watch also comes with a screw in crown and is water resistant to 10 bar. While most watches are heading towards the 40mm mark, the 42mm sized Zulu Time wears proportionately. It is more sporty than the time only Spirit, that is available in the smaller sizes, 37mm and 40mm.
While the case and watch design is rather straightforward with little surprises, the case finishing and overall quality of manufacturing is definitely up to par. The case features sharp angles with contrasting polished and matte surfaces and is also fit with a raised dome sapphire glass. The bezel clicks sharply and is easy to operate.
The watch comes with a closed caseback and an extendable folding clasp on the leather strap models. The new clasp is unique to Longines currently and is a rather useful gadget for quick extensions on a leather strap – something that was only seen on bracelets.
The Movement: Caliber L844.4
The Zulu Time uses the caliber L844.4 automatic GMT movement. It is derived from the ETA caliber A31.L01 and beats at 25,200 Vph with 72 hours power reserve. The movement is fitted with a silicon balance spring for additional anti-magnetism and is COSC certified. This implies an accuracy rating within -4+6s/day.
As the case back is closed, we did not have the opportunity to examine the movement, but would assume, given the price point that the movement will not sport any more than an engineering finish, devoid of high end finishing. We are satisfied that it will be a workhorse capable of producing good timekeeping in a reliable and trusworthy way for years.
The GMT function is likely the most useful complication on mechanical timepieces, right after the date. While some may say the perpetual calendar is useful too, the effort to keep it running all the time or adjusting the date everytime to keep it updated is too much of a hassle. Chronographs on the other hand are not useful either for day to day tasks. The GMT however, is has many modern corporate slave applications, especially for those who travel or work with teams in different timezones. It is also the best multi timezone configuration that does not throw errors like the world timer, which becomes erroneous under daylight saving cycles and are also particularly hard to read.
Longine’s Zulu Time is a very good execution of a GMT timepiece which is easy to read, useful and accurate. Price wise, it is relatively affordable at US$2950 on leather and $3050 on bracelet. While the watch does look better on the leather strap, a $100 premium for a bracelet seems like a no-brainer. Of the 3 dial color variants, we are torn between the full blue and the anthracite dial with green bezel. That said, both versions are good looking, accurate and ideal as a daily travel watch.