In some ways, pilot watches were the precursor to all modern wristwatches. The first pilot watch was made for a turn-of-the-century aviator who was tired of fumbling with his pocket watch mid-flight. It makes sense then that pilot watches continue to see plenty of innovation today (even if a watch is no longer essential equipment for flying an aircraft). Swiss watchmaker Longines is pushing the envelope with the new Longines Spirit, a series of pilot watches launched last year that’s now getting a suave upgrade in titanium.
Titanium has appeared on more than a few timepieces recently, but the ultralight, highly durable metal looks especially good on the new Longines Spirit. The watch is available in both 42mm and 40mm case sizes—ideal for getting a fit that matches your wrist—and the cases are made completely from titanium. The subtly textured satin finish really shows off the titanium’s darker color compared to traditional stainless steel, and it makes these watches exceptionally light and strong.
The dark tones continue on the sandblasted dial and its matching satin black flange. The dial overall has a very clean, streamlined look (Longines eradicated the date window found on earlier versions of the Spirit). That allows the hands, numerals, and text on the dial—all finished in mellow gold—to take center stage. Blue Super-LumiNova makes the hands and indices easy to read in the dark, and the bold, red-tipped seconds hand gives a nod to the pilot watch’s utilitarian heritage: It looks like something you might find on one of the dials in an airplane’s cockpit.
In addition to case sizes, you’ll have your pick of strap options. The Longines Spirit comes with a titanium bracelet, which really plays up the aesthetic features of the metal, and a rugged NATO nylon strap that matches the black dial nicely.
The Spirit is powered by an L888.4 automatic movement with a hefty 72-hour power reserve, which makes the watch “weekend proof” (you can take it off on Friday, pick it up on Monday, and it’ll still be ticking). It’s also COSC-certified for reliable timekeeping through all kinds of conditions, and it offers 100 meters of water resistance, so splashes and even the occasional snorkeling session aren’t out of the question.
A titanium watch you can fly and swim with? The genre has definitely come a long way over the past century.
[$2,650–$3,050; longines.com]Get it
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