In case you happen to be colour-blind or a particularly well-read dog, you might have missed that green is the colour of 2021. Rather than any eco-friendly, sustainable, upcycled way I mean it literally. Hues of emerald, olive and forest have been encroaching their way into the watch world for a while now, but this year they’ve taken root as a fundamental dial option.
Even the big boys like Rolex and Patek Philippe have gone green, so it’s definitely here to stay. Which suits me just fine to be honest, it’s my favourite colour. I’m a fan. I also happen to be a fan of Longines 2020 Spirit collection, which for me was the finest non-Heritage release from the Winged Hourglass for a couple of years at least.
I think you can guess where I’m going with this. Yes, Longines has now introduced a new model to their five-star Spirit range and yes, it has a green dial. The Spirit is that precarious halfway house between modern and retro, a kind of ‘what if vintage Longines pilots were made now’. It’s a more difficult balancing act than it sounds and Longines has done a pretty solid job of it, creating a broader, more accessible type of pilot’s watch among the host of archival re-issues we’re consistently inundated with.
It does still have some of the core characteristics of an aviation timepiece, with its large, legible indexes towering over the dial, a retro railtrack minute scale and an oversized but not ridiculous crown. It’s definitely not trying to be authentically military, but the hints are there, which make the olive green Longines has chosen a perfect fit.
Olive naturally has military connotations but, also serves to offer a more casual option than darker, dressier colours. In fact, the colour here is pretty close to what Patek has used on their last hurrah of a 5711/1A and for much the same reason. It’s the perfect compromise between trendy elegance and sports practicality.
Otherwise, the Spirit is unchanged, including the exceptional case finishing of brushed and polished surfaces. Here we have the 40mm version which isn’t just a better size as far as I’m concerned, but also drops the three entirely in favour of the date window, unlike the 42mm version which cuts it off. This way it looks cleaner and neater.
Either way it comes on either a three-link bracelet or, as we have here, a beige leather strap. Beige and green are perfect together, so I’d definitely opt for this version. That said, the straps are easy enough to change on these models that I’d probably switch now and then.
Inside we have the L888.4 which is basically a modified ETA number. Very well modified, I hasten to add, as the anti-magnetic silicon balance spring and 72-hour power reserve make it a beast of a movement in this price range. And the one above, for that matter.
Indeed, the Spirit as a whole is a lot of watch for the £1,750 it’ll set you back, cementing Longines as a go-to mainstream brand for value. Sure, that’s what you get when you have the gargantuan infrastructure of Swatch Group behind you but that’s still an impressive achievement. Now I can go back to waiting for their next Heritage launch.
Price & Specs:
Model: Longines Spirit Green
Case/Dial: 42mm diameter x 12.2mm thickness, stainless steel, green matt dial
Movement: L888.4 calibre, automatic, 21 jewels, Swiss Official Chronometer Testing Institute (COSC) certified
Water Resistance: 100m (10 bar)
Frequency: 25,200 vph (3.5 Hz)
Power Reserve: 72h
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, date
Strap: Brown leather
More details at Longines.