Longines Spirit Zulu Time
Longines’ Spirit series debuted in 2020, and considering the watches’ aviation allusions, it was unexpected that a GMT model wasn’t among the first incarnations to be handed out as part of the vintage pilot’s watch-inspired repertoire. Longines delivers arguably the most noticeably missing piece to the Spirit collection’s jigsaw this year with the new Spirit Zulu Time, so we suppose it’s better late than never.
After all, in both inspiration and expression, the Spirit line’s DNA taps into Longines’ aviation heritage. The name ‘Spirit’ itself is revived from a discontinued vintage collection. At the same time, Longines also reached back to its past for the Spirit’s historic references, harking back to the 1930s when pioneering pilots like Amelia Earhart and Howard Hughes wore its watches on their record-setting flights. Comprising time-and-date, chronograph models and now, a GMT model, the Spirit watches are purpose-made to complement the style and rigours of cross-continental travel.
Virtues such as robustness, chronometric performance, legibility and ease-of-use – elements vital to travel tool watches – anchor the Spirit collection. These are distinguished with features like COSC certifications, large and tactile crowns for easy actuations, and hour numerals that are large, tall and coated with Super-LumiNova for easy reading even in dark conditions.
These features continue to anchor the new Spirit Zulu Time. The name ‘Zulu’ is derived from two sources: Longines’ first dual-time zone wristwatch from 1925, which featured the Zulu flag on the dial and, more appropriately, Zulu time is the military name for Coordinated Universal Time (UTC), the 24-hour time standard commonly used across the world.
The military-esque reference appears a perfect fit for the collection. The watches exude an adventure-ready ready disposition in their hardy 42mm steel cases. Elsewhere, the dials bear five-star logos that symbolise the high quality and reliability of its movements that, in the light of the military inspiration, look uncannily like some high-ranking insignia. Available in a choice of blue or black dials with matching bezels, as well as black dial with olive bezel, along with bracelet or leather strap options, the Zulu Time watches also offer a bit of versatility in terms of aesthetics, from the forthright tool watch demeanour of the blue and black models, to the throwback charm of the green-and-olive variant.
Good looks aside, all GMT watches ought to be measured by their legibility and ease-of-use, and this is where the Spirit Zulu Time does the business. The new automatic Calibre L844.4 that drives the watch, offers a solid foundation. The movement is equipped with a silicon balance spring in its escapement to ensure longevity, rate regularity and resistance to magnetism, and promises 72-hour power reserve to complement its COSC-certified accuracy of -2/+4 seconds daily deviation. The GMT function is familiar and a snap to use, comprising a separate arrow-tipped 24-hour hand and bezel that points you to the home time, and an hour hand that can be set independently of the GMT display.
The Longines Spirit Zulu Time packs a reasonable amount of technical sophistication and style, and is a standout amongst other GMT watches in the same price bracket. If you are in the market for a new travel watch, here’s a timepiece that leaves more than enough room for fiscal manoeuvrability for that long-awaited vacation, while still guaranteeing an impressive measure of holiday swag and reliability.