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The Longines Silver Arrow L2.8188.8.131.52 returns! In 2021, the Swiss traditional manufacturer reissues the model from the 1950s. The watch with the avant-garde design borrows from the eponymous Mercedes Silver Arrows and the first jets with supersonic speed. Whether the Silver Arrow is still futuristic and forward-looking today?
A new addition to the Hall of Fame
With its Heritage collection, the brand with the winged hourglass has been demonstrating its awareness of its own heritage for some time. As the oldest registered watch brand in the world, Longines can look back on an eventful history with various models. The great and timeless classics have found a new home in the Heritage collection. Thus, the model line could also be called the ‘Hall of Fame’ of Longines.
Of course, the Longines Silver Arrow must not be missing here. This avant-garde classic first saw the light of day in 1956. Its name emerged from a competition in which 450 name suggestions for the silver watch were submitted. ‘Silver Arrow’ goes back to the famous Grand Prix bolides built and used by Mercedes. After the creation of Formula 1 in the 1950s, the Silver Arrows dominated the premier class of motorsport. In 1955, Mercedes driver Juan Manuel Fangio became world champion. Inspired by the beautifully designed racing cars and the first supersonic airplanes, the Silver Arrow quickly became an important and popular model for Longines – with a minimalist and avant-garde design.
65 years after the first Longines Silver Arrow left the factory, the icon returns. Now the wristwatch is equipped with a modern automatic movement, a silicon hairspring and a five-year warranty. That Longines knows how to revive old classics is well known. The Longines Legend Diver Bronze convinced me in the test with its timeless design, precise watchmaking and the use of a bronze patina. Whether the Longines Silver Arrow L2.8184.108.40.206 has also earned its place in the Heritage collection? I would like to find out – in the watch review
The first impression
One look is enough to determine that the name “Silver Arrow” fits the compact timepiece I’ve been holding in my hands for a short while like a glove. The simple watch with the clear, polished stainless steel case knows how to please at first glance and inspires me with its elegance and a lot of understatement. Silver-plated indices crossed by lines give the impression that the white dial rotates around itself. In contrast, Longines equips the Silver Arrow with a brown leather strap that would have surely looked good on any pilot in the 1950s, whether in a plane or in a car.
The quality of the materials and their workmanship is on a very high level – at least at first glance. I can’t see any differences to similarly priced watches of the brand. The Longines Silver Arrow L2.8220.127.116.11 claims to be a real premium watch.
The Longines Silver Arrow L2.818.104.22.168 on the wrist
I put on the Longines Silver Arrow L2.822.214.171.124 for the first time. On the wrist, the compact diameter of just 38.50 millimeters immediately catches the eye. It testifies to the fact that the Longines Silver Arrow L2.8126.96.36.199 comes from a decade long gone, when these case sizes were common on wrists. Nowadays, the Silver Arrow thus stands out positively next to ever larger watches and is even suitable as a ladies’ watch. At only 9.90 millimeters in height, the Longines Silver Arrow L2.8188.8.131.52 sits flat on the wrist and looks very sporty.
This wristwatch is made for people who care about elegance, good clothes and style. A Longines Silver Arrow L2.8184.108.40.206 is best worn with a jacket, shirt or blazer, in everyday work, at a business dinner or other formal occasions.
A case with premium quality
The slim case middle part is made of durable and resistant stainless steel, whose round shape curves into the lugs. Its surfaces are highly polished, which goes well with the noble overall impression of the Longines Silver Arrow L2.8220.127.116.11. The stainless steel bezel on the front and the caseback on the back are screwed to the middle part.
The six screws and truncated cone shaped case back comes up with a real highlight. Instead of the often encountered viewing window, Longines has opted for a far more original solution. A stylized jet with stars and a suggested earth surface adorns the polished back of the Longines Silver Arrow L2.818.104.22.168. The motif bears witness to the early supersonic aircraft from which the design of the original Silver Arrow was inspired.
In typical Longines fashion, it is very neatly engraved on the caseback. The same goes for the specifications. Among other things, the water resistance value has been immortalized here. Longines specifies this with 3 bar. Thus, the Longines Silver Arrow L2.822.214.171.124 is splash-proof, but should definitely not be taken on dives!
On the front, the wearer can enjoy scratch-resistant sapphire crystal that protects the dial from shocks, pressure and sharp objects. As a premium segment wristwatch, the Longines Silver Arrow L2.8126.96.36.199 has a watch glass with several anti-reflective layers, which are placed on the bottom. They guarantee the best readability under all lighting conditions.
The L888 caliber in detail
As with the Longines Legend Diver Bronze, the manufacturer with the winged hourglass relies on the L888 automatic caliber, which is made exclusively for Longines. Basically, it is based on a Swiss ETA A31.L02 base caliber. Both brands are part of the Swatch Group. One special feature that puts the L888 ahead of the competition is the power reserve. Longines gives it 72 hours, which means that the Silver Arrow could be left in the drawer for just under three days without having to be rewound afterwards. Another technical innovation is the silicon hairspring, which protects the automatic movement from magnetic fields. This prompts Longines to provide the Silver Arrow with an attractive five-year warranty.
Winding via the crown is quite uncomplicated and pleasant thanks to the fluted sides.
Dial and bracelet of the Longines Silver Arrow L2.8188.8.131.52
Timeless elegance radiates from the dial. In classic white, it gives the Longines Silver Arrow L2.8184.108.40.206 a fresh touch. Its design is kept as simple and reduced as possible to focus on the essentials: the time. Yes, even a date window has been omitted. The pointed sword hands are polished and silvered and inevitably remind me of the sleek supersonic airplanes of the 50s. Speed is also conveyed by the silver-colored applied indices, whose surfaces are fluted. This gives the viewer the impression that the dial is rotating. I haven’t seen that yet either!
A successful detail is the playful Silver Arrow lettering above 6 o’clock. Below 12 o’clock, the Longines logo, the winged hourglass can be found again.
A plain brown leather strap completes the Longines Silver Arrow L2.8220.127.116.11. With its robust upper side, it would have also looked great on any Formula 1 driver. On the underside, Longines has lined it with particularly soft leather, which has made it very comfortable for me to wear over the past few days. A nice detail: the leather engravings. The distance between the lugs is 19 millimeters.
My conclusion about the Longines Silver Arrow L2.818.104.22.168
Longines succeeds with the revival of the legendary Silver Arrow a real highlight, which enriches the Heritage collection with a timelessly beautiful wristwatch. In times of brute diving and functional watches, the compact timepiece in 38-millimeter format is a refreshing change.
Visually, the exciting Longines Silver Arrow L2.822.214.171.124 impresses with minimalist elegance that stylishly enhances any outfit without directly screaming for attention. A watch for the second glance, you could say. In terms of craftsmanship, Longines does everything right and underlines its claim to be a premium manufacturer. The high-quality materials are carefully selected and manufactured with Swiss precision. This is especially true of the movement, whose five-year warranty underpins just how good the L888 really is.
I recommend the Silver Arrow to anyone looking for a classic, timeless, and stylish watch for everyday wear, with a strong emphasis on precise craftsmanship. Longines gives a recommended retail price of 1.900,- euros. Considering the good quality, this is a fair price, in my opinion.