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  • Johnny Davis

Longines Turns Back the Clock to 'Zulu Time'

The watch brand's latest is a pilot model with a difference


Longines has added a new model to its popular pilot watch collection, Longines Spirit.

Launched in 2020, the line of automatic watches featured styling typical of the vintage-leaning pilot's genre: large Arabic numerals, black dials and steel cases, on leather straps.

At around £2,000 they were nice-looking watches that fell squarely into the 'affordable luxury' category, something Longines as a company rightly prides itself on.

This is especially true since Spirit watches came COSC-certified, the officially approved mark of the Contrôle Officiel Suisse Des Chronomèters, awarded after various performance tests for accuracy, temperature, humidity, etc.

To put things into perspective, just three per cent of of Swiss production is given this title.

In other words, you got a very reliable watch for your money.

Longines other ace with its Spirit line is that the company has some genuinely credible connections with flying. Charles Lindbergh, Amelia Earhart and other early pioneers of aviation daring-do navigated the skies using Longines instruments.

Its new watch, the Longines Spirit Zulu Time, now adds the ability to read the time in dual time zones, with an additional hour hand – what would normally be called a GMT hand.


Except here Longines takes inspiration from a model manufactured in 1925, which featured the Zulu flag on its dial – Zulu referring to the letter ‘Z’ which designates universal time for aviators and members of the armed forces. (To the rest of us ‘Zulu time’ is simply GMT, or Greenwich Mean Time – the time a Zero Meridian. It's got nothing to do with Southern Africa, or the 1960s possibly-now-problematic Michael Caine film.)

The new watch comes in a 42mm case, has a coloured ceramic insert and is available with a matt black, sandblasted anthracite or sun-ray blue dial, with a date window now centred at the 6 o'clock position. There's an option for an interchangeable stainless steel bracelet or an interchangeable brown, beige or blue leather strap.

All in all, a useful and unusual update to an already impressive watch.


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