INTRODUCING: The Longines Spirit Zulu Time collection is upgraded with a COSC-certified GMT calibre INTRODUCING: The Longines Spirit Zulu Time collection is upgraded with a COSC-certified GMT calibre

INTRODUCING: The Longines Spirit Zulu Time collection is upgraded with a COSC-certified GMT calibre

Fergus Nash

The Longines Spirit collection was one of the most instantly successful new watch releases from a big brand in years, with not a single detail out of place. It’s almost as if Longines read the collective consciousness of the world’s watch fanatics and crafted the perfect pilot-style watch, with just the right amount of vintage elegance that’s still versatile enough to be worn daily. The only thing missing from the initial lineup, other than some smaller sizes, was a GMT complication to cement the pilot’s watch association. Well, it was only a matter of time, as Longines have now released three new references for the Spirit range with an exclusive new ETA-based and COSC-certified GMT calibre.

The name Zulu Time is a reference to some extremely rare Longines wristwatches from the 1920s. The only photo of one I could find in the wild bears no resemblance to the new model, with a square case, cathedral hands, red sections on the dial and the titular Zulu flag above the centre pinion. The Zulu name has nothing to do with the African ethnic group, instead referencing a flag originally used as a maritime signal for a ship in need of a tug. When used in navy and airforce communication, the “Z” for Zulu represents UTC+0 time, the same as Greenwich Mean Time.

The three references use the 42mm architecture of the established Spirit watches, with the same three-link brushed bracelet that has neatly polished sections, or a leather strap. Intriguingly, the lug-to-lug measurement is now more compact that the Spirit 42 (non GMT) version, enabling it to sit even more neatly on the wrist.

The most obvious difference is the addition of a bi-directional rotating ceramic bezel, allowing you to set a third time zone display. A more subtle yet definitely welcome change is the date window having moved from 3 o’clock to 6 o’clock, improving the overall symmetry of the watch and removing the cut-off numeral that irked a lot of people. Other than that, the details are the same gorgeously intricate yet wonderfully simple touches. The applied Arabic numerals are bold, perfectly offset by some sunken diamond markers at the edge of the minute track, and the printed dial text isn’t overbearing at all.

Each of the three colour schemes are available on the aforementioned steel bracelet or leather straps with differing leather tones to match the watch. The black version is crisp with plenty of white details, and a lovely touch of dark blue that adds a bit of moody intrigue. The most vibrant reference has a brilliant sunburst blue dial with matching chapter ring and glossy ceramic bezel, giving the overall appearance a massive boost in dressiness. The tip of the GMT hand and the “ZULU TIME” text is painted in orange for a small touch of sporty flare, but not so much that it becomes distracting. Finally, the most sumptuous version has a smoky black and gilt dial enhanced by an olive green bezel, asserting itself as the most characterful of the three. It may not be the most versatile representation of the Longines Spirit Zulu Time, but it will definitely garner the most attention on-wrist.

Longines Spirit Zulu Time Collection pricing and availability:

The Longines Spirit Zulu Time Collection is available now for purchase. Price: $2,950 USD (on leather strap), $3,050 USD on (steel bracelet)