When it comes to classic watch brands, there are few more so than Longines – its sharp line-up of Heritage models are suave but rather understated. At least, that was the case until the new Ultra-Chron.
You could say that big brand vintage chic started with the Tudor Black Bay back in 2012, which included a pop of red colour. After that, the freshest colours – be it on the dial or bezel – were largely represented by cheeky microbrands with low budgets like Farer, Doxa and Spinnaker. Lately though, larger brands are cottoning onto the cheer up factor of colour and the Longines Ultra-Chron is yet another example of this bold shift in trends.
The Ultra-Chron is a cool rebirth of Longines’ late sixties ultra-precise sports watch, with a liberal splash of colour. This bodes well for its success, only a couple of weeks after Tudor dropped its new Black Bay Pro. Even if its lemon-fresh GMT hand had a well-known Rolex inspiration, colours are decidedly hot right now. Within the Swatch Group, Longines has been quietly spoken, whereas stablemate Rado has been the purveyors of pop with its successful Captain Cook range. Even group brand Tissot is in on the game with the brawny Tissot Seastar. The big turnaround last month came from TAG Heuer, now invested in colours with the Aquaracer. It’s a big selling sports watch not associated with frivolous colours, but TAG burst open a can of Fanta with its zesty orange dial.
In truth, Longines dipped a proverbial toe in the paint bucket earlier this year with new versions of the Heritage Diver. There are two delicious red and blue fumè dials and the rest of its pieces are largely formal in line with Longines’ DNA. With the new Ultra-Chron, it begs the question – is this the upshift we have been waiting for?
The spark came from new CEO Matthias Breschan who started in 2020; the first hint being a successful olive green Hydroconquest on a matched rubber strap. Having previously run the Rado and Hamilton brands, Breschan has the design nous to back up his instincts for tapping the rising vintage-cool zeitgeist. We’re betting on success for the Ultra-Chron, as the key ingredients are all there. With red accents and a cushion case associated with the vibrant seventies, this is all about the age of flares and sports cars.
This niche legend re-issue should be a well-timed summer hit – a diver’s tool with a flashy touch of red. Reviving the late sixties hit is still the key to harvesting the big 2022 vintage rewards, as the trend is not slowing down. The Ultra-Chron has bright red markers on the classic diver’s bezel, in tough-wearing ceramic. A huge Regulator-style minute hand in the same shade of tomato red fires up the granulated black textured dial and sets a new tone for daring colours within the Longines range – a turn that will no doubt impress the younger watch buying public. Pop vintage is exactly what the brand needs, and it’s perfect timing.
But the Longines Ultra-Chron is not all about flashy wrist presence. Being the reissue of their super-accurate 60s Chronometer, the tech specs are present to back it up (just like the METAS-certified Tudor BB Pro). This colourful wrist-pop is a certified Ultra Chronometer through a 15-day test at TIMELAB, an independent testing facility in Switzerland. So while it might end up a fave summer watch to go with that delicious vintage red YSL shirt you found on Etsy, its Hi-Beat heart will win you over. Hell, you might even stray into watch-nerdism. The third part of the triple threat of the Ultra-Chron comes in the way of the bold 43mm tonneau case with a 300m depth rating, as well as the option of a leather strap, canvas strap or steel bracelet. We’re calling the turn of Longines’ proverbial tide here and look forward to more bright, summer-popping accents that only underline Longines as a very complete brand.
The Ultra-Chron has the tech specs to back up its punches, and this new Swiss competitor comes into the ring swinging.
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