The Longines Master Collection Small Seconds is what happens when a brand listens to enthusiastsBorna Bošnjak
- Longines unveils an engraved trio with three different dial colours in three different finishes
- The watches are downsized from 40mm to 38.5mm, in a move destined to be popular among enthusiasts
- An azurage-finish petite seconde is courtesy of the silicon hairspring-equipped L893.5
How often do you see a brand new release that immediately captures you? Even at first glance, you just know this could be your next watch, you just know that it’s going to be reasonably priced, well-specced, and naturally, is very pretty. Then, disaster strikes. You go and try the watch on, and it’s just not quite it. It’s just as pretty as you hoped, but for whatever reason, your wrist just isn’t gelling with it. That was my experience with the initial Master Collection release with the engraved numerals. When the watch arrived in the office, it had everything. The dial, though not hand-engraved, was very well done – including the triangular reliefs that an actual engraving tool would leave. However, the 40mm size just stretched a tad too far for the classical styling. I wasn’t the only one who felt this way, praising it for larger wrists looking for a classically styled watch that’s well-executed and affordable. Longines stepped up, however, answering the prayers of many with the release of this brand new Master Collection trio, playing into the vintage styling even more. Dubbed the Longines Master Collection Small Seconds, the steel cases are now 38.5mm, and as the names suggest, feature a small seconds sub-dial at 6 o’clock. The engraved dials are rendered in three different colours, each with unique finishes that bring out the engraved numerals all the better.
Approachable and attractive
Much like for its predecessor, the star of the show is the dial. Breguet numerals are admittedly nothing new, but having them appear convincingly engraved at this price point is definitely an achievement. As opposed to the centre seconds on the predecessor, the seconds indication moves to 6 o’clock, housed in an azurage-finished, sunken-in sub-dial with a railroad-sector hybrid for the second track. Its positioning is nearly perfect, just clipping the edges of the 5 and 7 numerals. The engraved numerals are filled with rose gold paint, matched by the hands, vintage Longines script, and the rest of the printing. The anthracite dial sports the most noticeable texture among the three, with a grained finish throughout, except for the circularly brushed rehaut.
Of the three dial finishes, the one likely to attract the most attention is the salmon, especially with the recent resurgence of pink/salmon dial interest. Swapping the rosy contrast colour for black, the salmon dial opts for a vertically brushed surface.
The most classical, and by extension most subtle, variant is the silver dial with its bright blue handset. The dial surface is finely granulated – very similar to what we saw with its 40mm predecessor.
How it should’ve been from the start
I’ve made numerous references to it in this article already, but yes, the new Master Collection Small Seconds indeed features a 38.5mm steel case. The design is largely similar to the rest of the Master line-up, without any sharp corners or overdesigned features. This is a good thing for two reasons. The first is a resource allocation one – a simpler case design lets Longines focus on the dial, which they’ve clearly done. The second is more subjective as it concerns aesthetics, which are just right considering all the factors involved.
While there’s a in diameter, the case does bloat a touch as opposed to the 40mm variant, now measuring in at 10.2mm in thickness. This is almost certainly due to the necessary changes to the movement that allow it to accommodate a small seconds, and by no means an excessive measurement. Overall, I’d expect it to wear very reasonably on most wrists, and, if you ask me, it could’ve been even smaller! Having said that – gift horse, mouth and all that.
Noticeably upgraded ETA
Longines has long occupied the entry-level luxury position in the Swatch Group ladder, which means a step up in terms of movement specs over brands like Tissot, Mido and Hamilton that mostly use the ETA C07, i.e. ETA 2824 calibre variants. The Master Collection Small Seconds is equipped with the L893.5, essentially a modified variant of the ETA A31, with improved 72-hour power reserve and anti-magnetic components when compared to the base calibre. The beat rate is 3.5Hz, and Longines did dress up the movement somewhat, though I do think the Master Collection Small Seconds would be a great example in an argument for closed casebacks, especially if it would mean a reduction in thickness.
Longines Master Collection Small Seconds pricing and availability
The Longines Master Collection Small Seconds is available now as a regular-production trio, available from Longines boutiques and authorised dealers. Price: A$3,875
|Model||Master Collection Small Seconds|
|Case Dimensions||38.5mm (D) x 10.2mm (T)|
|Case Material||Stainless steel|
|Water Resistance||30 metres|
|Dial||Grained silver, brushed salmon, frosted anthracite|
|Strap||Alligator leather strap with triple folding buckle|
|Movement||L893.5, ETA A31 (2892) base, automatic, 3.5Hz, anti-magnetic components|
|Power Reserve||72 hours|
|Functions||Hours, minutes, small seconds|