The term “La Dolce Vita“, which translates to “The Sweet Life”, was popularised by a 1960s Italian film that shares the same name.
Fast forward to 1997, Longines launched a collection that aims to embrace and embody the expression. Known as the DolceVita, it was a female-focused collection that brings together contemporary aesthetics and elegance – expressed entirely in their watches. It was quite a massive hit, with its pleasant looks that oozes classic and sophistication.
Longines DolceVita Automatic
The Longines DolceVita Automatic is priced at S$2,390.
For a good part of its life, the DolceVita collection was predominantly powered by quartz movement. This was because the intention of the collection was to focus more on the design aspect, which had undoubtedly been wildly successful for the brand for the last couple of decades.
In this year’s launch, there was a paradigm shift in the focus of the collection. Predominantly, Longines had introduced a few new DolceVita models that were different from the usual – they are much larger in size (to cater to the gentlemen), and they are fitted with an automatic movement. So, how does the new DolceVita stack up?
The Case, Dial, and Hands
The new DolceVita Automatic faithfully follows its brethren in the collection, with its long swooping rectangular case that features sensuous curves at the side. The curves provide a nice touch of elegance to the watch, and it also reiterates the Art-Deco theme of this piece (which we will go further into detail as we discuss about the dial).
Notably, the watch is available in two sizes – 27.7mm x 43.8mm (Reference L5.7220.127.116.11) and 28.2mm x 47.0mm (Reference L5.718.104.22.168). We have had the opportunity to try out both different case variants, and personally, we prefer the former with the smaller case. Even though the difference is seemingly minute (with just a mere few millimetres), we feel that the smaller piece fits more snugly on the wrist. Perhaps, the larger case variant will work for someone that has a larger wrist, as the author here has a relatively thinner wrist that is around 6.5 inches in circumference.
Due to the nature of the watch, it works rather well with formal wear. The author had the chance to wear it to work for a couple of weeks, and the classy watch did receive quite a fair bit of compliments from his colleagues. It is simple, but with the slightly unusual rectangular case, it positions itself within the sweet spot of being subtle and yet interesting enough to warrant some positive attention.
Moving on, we have one of the highlights of the piece – the dial.
For this particular piece, Longines had decided to incorporate the theme of Art Deco into this watch. The main component lies in the sector dial, in which it distinctively divides the dial into two sectors (or three, if you have the eye for details). The distinguishing bit is the silver “sector” that houses the minute track and hour indices, which is brush-finished. It is complemented with an white or cream-ish (depending on lighting) inner dial. The latter also pays tribute to the classic watches with the cross-hair dial, which is making a comeback with the more vintage-inspired pieces.
As for the hands, Longines had opted for the blued sword hands. It is simple, but it lends some contrast to the neutral-coloured watch. Together with the dial, the entire package is rather legible. We think it works well too, and altogether, it combines both form and functionality. It is perhaps one of the best iterations within the DolceVita collection.
The Movement: Calibre L592
Powering the watch is the Calibre L592, a self-winding movement that is based on the ETA A20.L01. The movement beats at 28,800 vibrations per hour, and it has a power reserve of around 45 hours.
Aside from its time-keeping functions, the watch also has an additional date display. This is found at the 6 o’clock position of the watch. Other than that, it is a simple three-hand watch without any excessive complications.
We have note that the watch is fitted with a solid case back, and hence we are unable to ascertain the level of finishing on the movement. We do believe that we can expect some basic finishing techniques being applied, although we reckon it should not go beyond the typical “industrial” type of finishing that is accorded to most watches of this price point.
The Longines DolceVita Automatic is priced at S$2,390. It is reasonably priced for something that is of this quality, and in fact we think it is a compelling option for someone who wants a dressier watch but prefers something that is not of the usual crowd.
In the sphere of rectangular watches, there are certainly not as many competitors – especially those within the same price range. So how does the DolceVita stand amongst them?
The first watch that we have is the Cartier Tank, or specifically the Tank Must de Cartier. This is one of the latest novelties from the jeweller, and the Tank is certainly one of the most iconic watches in the world of horology. The Tank Must de Cartier features the collection’s signature Tank case, as well as the iconic Roman numerals that have graced the collection’s watches for more than a century. This latest variant is powered by the Calibre 1847 MC, and it is priced at S$5,100 for the XL model.
Next, we have yet another icon. The Jaeger LeCoultre Reverso is one of the most revered watches from the Le Sentier watch manufacturer, with its reversible case that gave the watch its namesake. Over the years, the Reverso has been fitted with numerous complications – but nothing beats a simple and classic time-only Reverso. That, we feel, is a quintessential piece that many collectors will want to have in any watch collection. The base Reverso Classic, with a manual-winding movement, is priced at S$8,300.
Finally, we have the NOMOS Tetra. Strictly speaking, the Tetra is not exactly a rectangular piece. However, we have included it because they are competing at a relatively similar price point. Notably, one of the main selling points of the watch (as well as most NOMOS watches) is its in-house calibres; the Tetra is powered by the Alpha.2 manual-winding movement. While it is perhaps a less formal watch as compared to the DolceVita, the Tetra is also quite a conversational piece that should work very well in a casual setting. It is priced reasonably at S$2,220 for the base Reference 405.
The Longines DolceVita Automatic is a great piece. It has a beautiful Art Deco design, and the rectangular case is also quite a pleasure to behold as well. We were actually rather glad that Longines had introduced a mechanical movement for this series of watches, simply because this particular DolceVita deserves it. Putting in a Quartz movement would not have done this piece of work justice.
Frankly, there is nothing much to complain about this watch. It is extremely well-priced, and we reckon it is an absolutely great starting point for any collector who wants to build his or her watch collection. While it may still not be as iconic as both the Tank and Reverso, the DolceVita is certainly worth its salt, and we do not see why its popularity will not increase if Longines does continue to invest in this under-the-radar collection.
The Longines Dolce Vita was photographed in a suite at the Kempinski Hotel, Singapore, where Longines hosted the viewing. Fujifilm GFX 100S with GF 120 Macro and GF 50 with MCEX 18 extension tube. Profoto strobes provided lighting.