Longines Returns to the Flagship and Adds a Moonphase

As watch names go, I’ve always thought “Flagship” was a pretty good one. Every brand, I think, strives to have a watch they can comfortably refer to as a flagship model, and Longines, beginning in the late 1950s, went ahead and took a clever shortcut by naming their line of elegant dress watches the Flagship. It makes a lot of sense if you step back and think about it. A brand’s flagship model should be something that defines them – the type of watch that you conjure in your mind’s eye when you think about the brand. Longines of course has a heritage with a ton of variety, making watches in every conceivable genre over the years, but I think it’s fair to say a watch with a certain casual elegance and is really their sweet spot, and the Flagship Heritage models (first introduced in 2017) do a great job of reminding us of what the brand has always excelled at. For their latest release, they’ve returned to the Flagship Heritage concept with three new watches that build on the previous executions, this time with a classic complication included. 


The original Flagship Heritage releases of six years ago were lessons in classic understatement – watches that were well considered, beautiful, and completely competent, but not flashy, attention seeking, or attempting to jump on any particular trend. The new Flagship Heritage models are very much made with that same sensibility, but include a moonphase complication, further tying them to watches they’re based on from the late 1950s. The execution of the moonphase here is traditional in every way, positioned at 6:00 in the top half of a subdial providing a readout of the current date. The dials, available in opaline, silver, or blue, have sunray finishes (for the silver and blue options) and are slightly domed, a subtle but important vintage cue that when done right can really make a new watch feel old in the best way possible. The opaline model is perhaps the most aggressively vintage inspired with its gilt hands and dial accents, while the sunray finished silver and blue models are just a little bit more contemporary. 

The stainless steel case measures 38.5mm, the same size as the current time and date Flagship Heritage, but Longines says the case has been given a redesign for this release. It does appear to have slightly shorter lugs than the earlier models, but it thankfully retains their surprisingly complex geometry, with distinct facets creating an almost architectural shape. The finishing is a mix of satin brushed and polished surfaces, and the watches have been fitted with the same style caseback as earlier Flagship Heritage models, which have a distinctive and deep engraving of a caravel on a gold medallion (a literal flagship), the original emblem of the collection. 

The Flagship Heritage models run on the L899.5 automatic movement, which in turn are based on the ETA A31.L91. It features a magnetic resistant silicon balance spring, and has a power reserve of up to 72 hours when fully wound. The case is water resistant to 30 meters, and the watch is mounted on an alligator strap in brown, gray, or blue, depending on the dial. Retail pricing is set at $3,050. Longines

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Zach is a native of New Hampshire, and he has been interested in watches since the age of 13, when he walked into Macy’s and bought a gaudy, quartz, two-tone Citizen chronograph with his hard earned Bar Mitzvah money. It was lost in a move years ago, but he continues to hunt for a similar piece on eBay. Zach loves a wide variety of watches, but leans toward classic designs and proportions that have stood the test of time. He is currently obsessed with Grand Seiko.