Longines 13ZN Chronograph, Articulated Lugs, 14ct 1940

£9,000

100% Genuine & All Original

Fully Inspected, Serviced & Guaranteed

A Well Cared and Lightly Used For Example

Rare hooded Lugs 34 mm Yellow Gold Case

Earlier Restored Silver Dial In Top Condition

Good size 34mm, 14ct Gold Case, Excluding the Crown

Legendary Longines Calibre 13ZN Flyback Chronograph Movement

New Brown Lizard Leather Strap and Original Solid 14ct Gold Buckle

All in Absolutely Top Grade & Simply Stunning Condition

VGWL Lifetime Authenticity Guarantee

VGWL 12 Months’ Written Warranty*

Free Worldwide FedEx Delivery

Free UK Special Delivery

VGW Reference: L851
Price

£9,000

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Longines

Longines is one of the very oldest Swiss watch manufacturers with an unparalleled history of invention, innovation, patents and awards. It is also responsible for some of the most exquisite watches, and watch movements, ever produced. The very highest accolades are reserved for its achievements in the development, and indeed the invention, of the wristwatch chronograph. Just a brief glance inside a chronograph, from any era, is enough to convince one how great an achievement this was. Released as early as 1913, Longines’ Calibre 13.33Z was a huge technological breakthrough. Early aviators and sports events, such as ski championships and motor racing Grand Prix, all relied heavily on the most technologically advanced and sophisticated chronographs available at the time, almost all supplied by Longines. Further, in 1919, Longines was appointed the official supplier for the International Aeronautical Federation (IAF) which led the company to be involved in many aeronautical expeditions during the early 20th century. The most famous of them was Charles Lindbergh’s solo, non-stop flight from New York to Paris in his aircraft, “Spirit of St. Louis,” in May 1927.

It is also worth mentioning here that due to the technical challenges and sheer costs involved in development and manufacture, very few watch companies, even today, make their own chronograph movements. The largest producers of these movements for high-end watches throughout most of the 20th century were the relatively unknown brands of Valjoux and Lemania. For example, before 2000, Rolex used Valjoux 72 and Zenith El Primero movements in both its Daytona and Chronographs.

Why This Watch Is Important

One of the truly great “in-house” chronograph movements began its development in the 1920s. First released in 1936, it was so beautifully designed and so elegant and well engineered it remained in production with changes and upgrades until the early 1970s. This was the now legendary Longines Calibre 13ZN Flyback Chronograph, which is the movement you see here. It was and still is considered better than the best from Patek Phillippe at the time. Longines had earlier determined it would build on its early lead in the chronograph market by only focusing on this one aspect of ‘complicated’ watches, namely the chronograph movement. The 13ZN remained the most technologically advanced chronograph movement available for many years after its launch. It was the first wristwatch chronograph movement to be equipped with a ‘Flyback’ mechanism. It was no coincidence that this function was of great use in the field of aviation. This function allows the chronograph to be reset while it is actually running. This allowed a pilot to continuously monitor the time he or she had followed a course, then while changing course, stop, reset, and restart the chronograph with a single click of the lower button, rather than the three clicks on two buttons this would take on a normal chronograph. While this may sound simple, virtually no other manufacturer attempted to produce a flyback mechanism in a chronograph until 20 years later with the advent of the Type XX chronographs produced for the French military.

The Movement 

The Longines 13ZN has been heralded by collectors and enthusiasts for decades and it is safe to say it has gained easy entry into the pantheon of definitive timepieces. This is simply the most advanced and sophisticated chronograph movement available of its time. Its design, sophistication, dependability and accuracy each contributed towards it remaining in production for almost 40 years. Its ‘Flyback’ function, enabling a chronograph to be stopped, reset, and started with one push of the button, is something so technically challenging, it is only found on the most expensive chronographs, even today. The exceptional nature of the 13ZN sometimes surprises those who are more familiar with contemporary offerings from Longines. The company was, in fact, a top tier manufacture during the 1940s and ’50s, creating the highest quality in-house movements and complications which rivalled comparable offerings from Patek Philippe of this period.

Operation – The chronograph function operates in much the same way as most others, in that the large central seconds hand is started and stopped by pressing the top pusher. Once stopped by the top pusher, the seconds hand is then reset to zero by pressing the bottom pusher. The huge difference with a flyback chronograph movement such as here is that once the seconds hand is running, it can also be stopped, reset and started again with one single click of the bottom pusher! This is very useful for example when timing laps. The right-hand dial registers up to 30 elapsed minutes while the chronograph is running. The left-hand dial registers running seconds, independently of the chronograph. So as long as the watch is running, this dial is registering seconds.

As can be seen in the accompanying photographs, the condition of the movement is, in keeping with the rest of this watch, in spectacularly good condition. It has just been overhauled and serviced by our vintage chronograph specialist watchmaker and it now has a silky smooth operation, with all the functions operating exactly as they should. The seconds hand flys back exactly to zero, exactly as it should. The normal watch movement is keeping excellent time to within +7 seconds in 24 hours. This is outstanding for any watch of this age and we are more than confident in offering this watch with our 12 months’ warranty on the movement*.

*Please note – our 12 months’ warranty is only applicable provided the list price is paid.

Please note – as with all wristwatch chronographs, these movements have two distinct functions, i.e. telling the time, and accurately recording short time intervals. However, these are not intended to be run continuously together for long periods of time. This will, in effect, cause the watch to keep less accurate time and will also prematurely wear the chronograph movement. We therefore recommend against leaving the chronograph function running on any chronograph wristwatch.

The movement serial number is 6057810 indicating this movement was manufactured in 1940.

The Dial

Early twin register chronographs, particularly when the registers are large as on this watch, are often referred to as ‘big eye’ chronographs for obvious reasons. Here this wonderful dial has a most attractive colour combination. A vertical grain silver centre, with black registers, red Telemetre scale, and blue Tachymeter scale each add to the overall beauty of this dial. The dial is furnished with applied triangular hour indices and numerals. The original restored Dauphine hands are present all dominated by a large blued steel sweep seconds hand.

A tachymeter is used to compute a speed based on travel time or measure distance based on speed. A telemeter scale is used to measure the distance between an event and an observer based on the speed of sound. Typically in the field of battle referencing gun flash and the arrival of its sound.

This is the original dial which has been previously restored to a very high standard.

The Watch Case

The heavy 14ct yellow gold case is of obvious high quality. It is of a robust three piece design and at 34mm excluding the correct Longines crown, this is is a good-sized watch for the period. However the watch case carries elongated hooded lugs, which extend the overall length of the watch case to 40mm, making the watch seems much larger on the wrist. The lugs also add an extra level of sophistication and exclusivity to the watch as this is quite a rare feature to find, particularly on a chronograph. The case is of very high quality, having been made by Longines in Switzerland.

The case-back is of full thickness and has never been inscribed. The inside of the case-back all is correct and as expected, signed with the Longines brand and Swiss Geneva 14ct hallmarks. The case-back also carries the reference case number 605781.

This watch case has been carefully inspected for fatigue marks and there are none. It has recently completed a full restoration by our team and is in perfect condition. Even under close examination, there are no scratches, dings or signs of wear visible to the naked eye, leading us to suspect that its previous owner reserved it for special occasion use only.

As ever, our standard advice applies: Vintage watches should be kept clean and dry at all times.

The Strap and Buckle

The strap fitted is a new brown Lizard strap with a Longines yellow gold plated buckle. 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 1940. A detailed written receipt with 12 months’ 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 beautiful, original vintage Longines presentation case shown in the photographs is included in this sale.

In Conclusion

We have here a unique and charming example of the legendary vintage Longines Calibre 13ZN chronograph from ‘the worlds most honoured’ vintage watch brand. Prices of the finer examples such as this have doubled in the past four years as the clamour for the few remaining best examples outside of large collections are snapped up.

This watch will undoubtedly make an excellent financial investment as well as be something to treasure and enjoy! It is also completely practical for use as an everyday wristwatch should you so wish and if it continues to be well cared for and serviced every 4 years, it will last another lifetime at least. This watch carries a great deal more style, individuality and panache than a new watch and to buy the same quality today would be very difficult.

However you may wish to view this watch, as each year goes by and the world market grows ever larger, the limited supply and high demand for the finest vintage gold watches means prices will inevitably climb ever 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.

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: 0207 727 7095. Or if calling from overseas: +44 207 727 7095.

Please note, we also welcome part exchanges.

Please take a look at our other vintage gold watches.

Thank you.