Longines is one of the oldest Swiss watch manufacturers with an unparalleled history of invention, innovation, patents and awards. The company is also responsible for some of the most beautiful watches ever made, but something of a Cinderella among the watch collecting fraternity until recently. Longines is now rightfully returning towards the elevated status it once held in the pre and post-war years when it ranked among the very best among of the Swiss watch manufacturers. It is really only within the past three years that Longines vintage watches have risen again to the admiration and popularity they deserve, with values rising of by around 15 – 20% per year, and on certain models, such as the now legendary Longines Calibre.13ZN chronograph, prices have sky-rocketed.
Here we have a wonderful example of typical Longines elegance and style in the form of a beautiful 18ct gentleman’s Pink Gold dress watch from 1956. This was a period when technically, Longines was approaching its peak, competing head to head with all of the top-tier Swiss watch manufacturers. Notable highlights on this watch are its Jumbo size at 38mm! and a beautiful dial with original hands and the subsidiary seconds dial at 6 o’clock. This watch has been fully restored by ourselves and the dial, and both the case and very high grade Calibre 30L movement, are in stunning condition!
The dial is in the classic Longines style, in that it is simple, clean, classy and understated. It is typically 1950’s in its use of a subsidiary seconds dial and Dauphine style hands. These are matched with alternate twin baton hour indices and studs in Pink gold, over an Ivory Cream dial which almost sparkle as they catch the light. Longines always seems to aim and achieve higher with its dials, which we feel are that bit closer to perfection. It does this so often and so effortlessly. Even the Longines brand looks more ‘in place’, which incidentally is the oldest registered, of any watch manufacturer. The company certainly made a fine art of this during the ’50s and ’60s. Perhaps the evolution of a certain style became part of the company’s DNA, but Longines dials seem in a class of their own. This sense of style has certainly won Longines a great many loyal customers, which only later came to appreciate the accuracy and reliability of its movements.
This is the original dial which has been restored to the highest standards by the best dial restorers in the UK.
The Watch Case
The original Longines Swiss made 18ct Pink Gold watch case is huge by the standards of its day. At 38mm this is by far the largest case size produced at the time. This is a three-piece, press-fit watch case which is in tip-top condition. Interestingly the lugs at 11 and 1 hold the watch slightly higher on the wrist, helping to angle the watch more towards one’s view.
The rounded case-back is of full thickness and has never been inscribed. It is blemish free and presses with a nice and reassuring ‘pop’, meaning it is a good tight fit. From every viewpoint, the case is immaculate with no scratches dings or other marks visible to the naked eye.
The case measures 38mm in diameter, excluding the correct Longines unsigned crown. Longines watches in 1956 did not use signed crowns although these were sometimes retro-fitted at time of service. The watch measures 45mm lug to lug and is quite thin at 8.5mm including the lens. Inside the case-back the case is correctly signed: Longines, with Swiss Geneva 18ct hallmarks and the reference numbers 6691 2 and 240.
As ever, our standard advice applies: vintage watches should be kept clean and dry at all times.
The original Longines Calibre 30L, 17 Jewel hand-wound movement here is a real gem with gold chatons, large balance wheel, Swiss lever escapement, Incabloc shock resistance and subsidiary seconds. This is all much admired in watchmaking circles, particularly the large, screw-weighted balance wheel which provides for greater accuracy and finer adjustment. Everything else being equal, the larger the balance wheel, the more accurate the watch.
If ever one wished to highlight a great example of a top quality classic hand-wound watch movement, this movement could easily be chosen. The quality of finishing and build is exceptional and better finished than anything offered by Rolex of the same period. Note, for example, each jewel is held in its own threaded gold sleeve, which is then in turn screwed into the plates. This is a much more sophisticated method than those which simply fitted their jewels into drilled holes in the bridges, such as was the practice of Rolex and Omega of the same period.
The high grade 30L hand wound movement here is one of Longines most successful, remaining in production, in-house, for over 12 years from 1955 onwards. It was used in many models including the top of the range Longines hand-wound version of its ‘Flagship’ model. The Longines 30L mechanical movement is fitted with an “incabloc” device which protects it against shocks and magnetic fields. Thanks to its large balance, the movement can be regulated with great precision.
The movement is in sparkling ‘as new’ condition, signed Longines, 17 Jewels, 30L and 10194960 dating the watch to 1956. This watch has obviously been very well cared for with only light use. As can be seen, the movement is in tip-top condition having just completed an overhaul and service by our watchmaker. This means it has been completely disassembled, cleaned, inspected under high magnification then rebuilt using only original Longines parts where required. After testing and final calibration, this watch was running to within +8 seconds per day, which is outstanding for a vintage watch of this age. The movement also has a power reserve of 43hrs.
These movements are robust, reliable and accurate making this watch perfectly suited for regular everyday use. This particular movement is in top condition and with regular servicing, every 3 years we would fully expect this watch to provide faithful service for many more decades to come! We are therefore more than pleased and confident to offer a 12 month warranty on this watch movement*
*Please note, the 12 month warranty is only applicable if the list price is paid.
The Strap and Buckle
This watch is fitted with a new Hirsch ‘Croc’ strap & Longines Pink Gold Plated buckle. Please note if a different colour or style of strap is preferred, please let us know and we will do our best to oblige, free of charge. We carry tan, conker, dark brown and black in stock and in plain padded leather, or crocodile skin or lizard skin.
The Box and Papers
Although there are no original papers with this watch, the numbers and markings on the watch are all correct, dating the watch to 1956. A detailed written receipt with a 12 month warranty* and a separate insurance valuation for the replacement value will be provided at the time of sale, along with our unique ‘Lifetime Authenticity Guarantee’ which states: “If at any time, this watch proves to be anything less than totally authentic, or not as described, Vintage Gold Watches of London will offer you a full refund at any time”.
The high quality hardwood presentation box shown in the photographs is included with this watch.
Here we have a beautiful and top class vintage watch from one of the most collectable and highly regarded vintage watch brands and this watch will make an excellent financial investment as well as be something to treasure and enjoy! It is completely practical for use as an everyday watch and as long as it is well looked after and serviced every 2-3 years, it will last another lifetime. It carries a great deal more style, individuality and panache than a new watch and to buy the same quality today would cost at least three or four times the price here.
Whichever way you may wish to view this, as each year goes by and the world market for fine vintage gold watches grows even larger, the limited supply and high demand means prices will inevitably climb even higher!
A word on our prices… We always try our hardest to acquire the very highest quality watches we can find, before then restoring them to the highest possible standards. We then offer these at the fairest prices we can, taking into account our pre and post sales care and service. This approach means we will never be the cheapest, but nor will we be the most expensive. Indeed there are some well known stores in West London which are highly successful charging between two to three times the price you see here. We therefore consider our prices to be good value and very fair, given the quality of watches we have to offer.
We are happy to accept payment via Paypal as this is the quickest method of payment. However, if you would like to pay by UK cheque or by bank transfer, we will be pleased to assist you with this and pass on a 3% saving to you.
If you have any questions please call on Landline 0207 727 7095 or Mobile 07515 949250 or if calling from overseas on Landline +44 207 727 7095 or Mobile +44 7515 949250.
Please note we welcome part exchanges.
Please take a look at our other vintage gold watches.