We have seen Longines recently taking inspiration from their archives and the timepieces they produced in the past such as the Longines Pulsometer and the Heritage COSD. This is a good way of breathing new life and adding modern touches to the design of a vintage timepiece to “modernise” it. We take a closer look at the new Longines Railroad which is based on a watch produced by Longines in the 1960s for railwaymen.
Having an accurate timepiece was vitally important to railwaymen in the early 20th century, as a malfunctioning pocketwatch could result in a major accident. As the pocket watch evolved into wristwatches, the same principals applied in terms of needing the watch to be accurate and durable. In today’s society with digital timing used for major transportation such as airports and train stations it may not seem like a big deal, but in the early days of transportation by train it was a necessity to have reliable timepieces.
Even though the original was produced in the 1960s, its overall look remains evergreen. The new Longines Raiload looks virtual identical to its 1960’s older brother except for a few little tweaks that are subtely done.
The original 1960s Railroad model which provides the inspiration for the new model.
The Case, Dial and Hands
The case is a very wearable 40mm in diameter made from stainless steel. The lugs have the same angular shape as the vintage model and the round case looks virtually identical. The vintage model had a polished case and bezel with brushed lugs. The modern iteration follows its older brother with the brushed lugs, while the rest of the case and the bezel have a polished finished. The watch proportions and aesthetic finishes along with its black alligator strap with white stitching, make it perfect to pair with a suit. The word Longines is in the same position and unlike the vintage model, the new Railroad has an applied silver winged hourglass logo. The domed sapphire crystal with anti reflective coating ensures maximum legibility.
The dial layout remains faithful to the original with off white 24 hour dial with painted black Arabic numerals, 0-11 for the outer circle and 12-23 in the inner portion. The minute track with thicker markers for the 5 minute intervals is indistinguishable from the original. The same style of black lacquered Dauphiné hands have been used for the hour and minutes and a straight hand for the seconds. The only differences are do with the number that appears next to the R.R (Railroad). The original 1960’s model was powered by a manually wound calibre 280, hence the number seen on the original dial. The new Railroad is powered by a self winding calibre L.888 which is stated on the dial as 888 and the word Automatic below it. It would have been nice to see the word “Automatic” left off, as it would have made the new watch look nearly exactly like its older brother on a first glance. We applaud Longines for not putting a date in the new version. It may have been tempting but it looks very good without one and doesn’t need it.
Powering the watch is the self winding Calibre L888.2 (ETA A31.L01), which beats at 25,200 alternations per hour and has a power reserve of 64 hours. It would have been cool to see a hand wound calibre placed in the new timepiece to make it a real throwback to its older brother but the use of a self winding movement makes it easier to just pop on the watch and not have to worry about having to wind it.
As the new model tries to remain as faithful to the original design, it too has a solid caseback which means no viewing of the movement. To compensate for this Longines have engraved a picture of a steam train as a tribute to the decorations of old pocket watches from the railways.
The new Longines Railroad is a solidy constructed watch and is a great tribute to the original model of the 1960’s. At S$2,700 it represents good value for a time only watch with nice aesthetics and a nod to the past of Longines and its links to the railways. As mentioned earlier it would pair nicely with office attire but we can see this timepiece used with more casual clothing on the weekend or even for a semi formal occasion. Last of all it is nice to see that a date window was deemed not necessary to give the watch its true retro vibe. Nicely done Longines.
Techncial Specifcations of the Longines Railroad
Reference number L2.803.4.23.0/3
Automatic winding mechanical movement
Calibre L888.2 (ETA A31.L01)
11½ lines, 21 jewels, 25,200 alternations per hour
64-hour power reserve
Hours, minutes and seconds
Round, diameter 40 mm, steel
Engraving on the back inspired by the original decorations found on pocket watches designed for railway companies in the 1920s.
Sapphire crystal with multilayered anti-reflective coating
Up to 3 bar (30 meters)
Off-white polished, 24 black painted Arabic numerals
Shiny lacquer black
Black alligator with buckle