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The Longines Spirit Chronograph L3.8220.127.116.11 is a tribute to the famous pioneers who relied on precise and high-quality timepieces from Longines on flights and adventure trips. I want to know how good the certified chronometer with the aviator look really is….
Pioneers of history
Longines’ Spirit collection has been on the market since 2020. The new watches are intended to refocus the portfolio of the traditional brand with the winged hourglass on pilot’s watches. After all, in the past decades there have been quite a few men and women who made history both in aviation and on other expeditions – and relied on Swiss watches from Longines in the process. Time and again, the term “pioneering spirit” coined by Longines comes up. It stands for the character of these heroes who are still in the history books today. So it’s time to pay tribute to them with fine timepieces.
The Longines Spirit with reference number L3.818.104.22.168, my test watch today, bears the striking features of a chronograph. Compared to other models in the Spirit collection, it is larger and also equipped with three typical subdials. The ‘Chronometer’ seal, awarded by the Swiss Control Board for Chronometers (COSC), it can proudly wear, as well as the other models in the collection. It is still regarded worldwide as one of the highest awards in terms of precision. This requires modern technology. But by what features of the watch is the certified chronometer evident?
The first impression
As of March 2021, the Longines Spirit Chronograph L3.822.214.171.124 is the second watch from the Saint-Imier-based manufacturer that I’ve had the pleasure of testing. As part of the Heritage collection, the Longines Legend Diver Bronze also takes its cue from icons of the past. I recognize another similarity when both watches are placed on the table in front of me. They are the same size. With a diameter of 42 millimeters, the Longines Spirit Chronograph L3.8126.96.36.199 is in the mid-range, offering a size that should appeal to all wrist circumferences.
The stainless steel of the case gleams matte, the dial shines in the typical dignified Longines blue, and the numerals are readable even from a distance. Five confident stars adorn the dial, announcing that we are dealing with a watch that wants to be a highlight. Red accents on the hands give the Longines Spirit Chronograph L3.8188.8.131.52 the character of a true measuring instrument, which is, after all, what the watch was used for by the pioneers. The final touch is provided by a leather strap, also blue, whose surface feels robust. Overall, the Longines Spirit in chronograph design makes a typically functional impression for a pilot’s watch.
The Longines Spirit Chronograph L3.8184.108.40.206 on the wrist
I put the watch on and check how the Longines Spirit Chronograph L3.8220.127.116.11 does on the wrist. The answer: very well! With its diameter of 42 millimeters, the case is quite tall at 16.30 millimeters. However, it looks a bit flatter at the edge, since the curved watch glass also counts towards the height in terms of calculations. The timepiece is very comfortable to wear. The Longines Spirit also cuts a fine figure in any position. Longines once again manages to strike the golden mean between elegance and functionality. As a result, the Longines Spirit Chronograph L3.818.104.22.168 brings the necessary self-confidence to the wrist without laying thick on it. The combination possibilities with different outfits are almost inexhaustible. The chronometer adapts to any occasion.
Structures of the case
The stainless steel that Longines uses for the very solid case has satin-finished surfaces that give the Longines Spirit Chronograph L3.822.214.171.124 its matte look. Only the applied bezel and pushers are polished, adding some variety to the appearance. For its watch crystal, Longines uses scratch-resistant and durable sapphire, in keeping with its standards. What other material would be suitable for this watch as well. I like the curvature well, which gives the Longines Spirit that certain retro feel. The processing of the sapphire crystal is outstanding. Longines has given it multiple(!) anti-reflective coatings on both sides. This not only looks visibly more high-end, it also serves a purpose. Reflections due to light incidence (into the pilot’s cockpit) therefore practically do not occur. This makes the watch readable in any situation and thus reliable.
The crown is quite large, so even a pilot could easily operate and adjust it with gloves. At the same time, it remains quite flat and therefore does not interfere with the back of the hand. Take a look at the top side! The brand lettering with the winged hourglass has been beautifully engraved here with great attention to detail. The sides are fluted.
Since the crown and case back are screwed, Longines can guarantee its Spirit Chronograph L3.8126.96.36.199 a water resistance up to a pressure of 10 bar. While this does not make the chronometer a diver’s watch, water splashes are not a problem. The back has an engraved globe and also the winged hourglass. All engravings are neatly finished.
The automatic caliber L688.4
Longines relies on an automatic caliber called L688.4, which is exclusively manufactured for the brand. At 28800 vibrations per hour, it offers a power reserve of a powerful 66 hours. What I find particularly interesting is the built-in silicon hairspring, which is anti-magnetic. The more components of a movement are antimagnetic, the less danger there is that it can be knocked out of time by external influences. Accordingly, the L688.4 automatic movement is accurate. To top it off, Longines grants the movement a warranty of a full five years! Usually, two are common in the industry.
All functions of the Longines Spirit Chronograph L3.8188.8.131.52 explained
Let’s take a closer look at the functions of the movement. The crown is used to wind the automatic movement in position one. In position two, the time is set. The date, on the other hand, can be changed via the fluted pusher at 10 o’clock. Very prestigious is the fact that the Longines Spirit Chronograph L3.8184.108.40.206 is a column-wheel chronograph. The column or switching wheel built into the case ensures that starting, stopping and zeroing can be controlled independently of the movement. The three operations are operated as usual via the polished pushers at 2 and 4 o’clock. As a solid chronograph, the Longines Spirit has three sub-dials at 3, 6 and 9 o’clock. Its functions are quickly explained: 60-second hand, 12-hour counter and 30-minute time.
The dial comes in blue color and with sunray decor, the look of which I like very much. On it are applied Arabic numerals and silvered sandblasted hands. Their good readability is further improved at night. Thanks to the use of Swiss Super-LumiNova, it shines particularly brightly and evenly. On the rehaut of the Longines Spirit Chronograph L3.8220.127.116.11, the minute scale was neatly printed. But real pilot feeling comes when looking at the totalizer hands. They are painted red and give the chronograph that certain aviator look. The date has moved down due to the arrangement of the subdials and can now be found between 4 and 5 o’clock. The five silver stars and the name lettering add a classically elegant touch to the yet quite functional dial.
A comfortable bracelet
Last but not least, let’s take a look at the strap, which matches the dial very well with its blue color. Its leather is smooth and coarse on the upper side, while the light brown inner side with its leather engravings is luxury on the skin. I have now worn the Longines Spirit Chronograph L3.818.104.22.168 on my wrist for several days and was thrilled with its wearing comfort.
My conclusion about the Longines Spirit Chronograph L3.822.214.171.124
A direct hit from Longines! The Longines Spirit Chronograph L3.8126.96.36.199 has thrilled me on all levels and is definitely one of my favorite watches of recent times. The aviator chronograph has proven to be outstanding with a great quality of materials and workmanship, a design that is steeped in history, and last but not least, plenty of functionality for everyday wear.
As a certified chronometer, the Longines Spirit Chronograph L3.8188.8.131.52 can shine with subdials, a column wheel as well as useful functions. The whole thing is presented by the Swiss manufacturer in an exciting aviator look, which features elegance as well as functionality and therefore stands out from the crowd.
Last but not least, Longines is known for a reasonable price-performance ratio. The watch costs 2900 euros and thus more than lives up to the designation “premium”!