Longines Spirit Chronograph

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Longines Spirit Chronograph

Post by koimaster » August 22nd 2020, 2:28pm

Collectively, a decent amount of people were shocked when Longines decided to revive the Spirit appellation earlier this year … and shocked in a good way. You see, as far as novelty unveilings go, the Saint-Imier watchmaker had already outdone themselves in 2020 (think Heritage Classic Chronograph 1946 or HydroConquest 41mm in Khaki Green), they could’ve just put their feet up, cracked themselves a crisp Swiss lager and called it a day.



https://timeandtidewatches.com/longines ... rice-2020/



When we first caught wind that Longines was going to be releasing a totally new collection in 2020, we were very excited. They are a brand with a number of strongly performing collections that could easily see them sitting on their haunches, simply tweaking the recipe of their success with different dial variations, but they didn’t. Longines took the far bolder path and, with the launch of their latest Spirit collection, offer fans of the brand a blend of rich aviation heritage and contemporary watchmaking expertise. In this regard, the Longines Spirit collection is a first, drawing inspiration from a breadth of sources that are equally grounded in their past and present success.

https://timeandtidewatches.com/video-lo ... ge-review/
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Re: Longines Spirit Chronograph

Post by MKTheVintageBloke » August 22nd 2020, 6:15pm

I had the opportunity to check this one out in person. What I think is that it’s one heavy fucker, but bloody well made.

What I’m not a fan of is the L688 and its derivatives. Frankly, when operating the chrono function on that and on an ordinary cam-switching Valjoux, I can’t feel much of a difference. The start/stop is stiff as fuck, same goes for the reset. I know this might sound odd, if not downright fucking peculiar, but the Sea-Gull ST1901 has the chrono working far better than this. Fuck, even the 7750 in some Epos stuff, and I have no warm feelings for Epos, worked way more smoothly.
That said, the L688 (and the Omega 3330, by extension) just seems to have the entire column wheel assembly no better than the cam-switching base movement. I’d say that sucks flaccid cock. It’s not a bad movement, it’s just not any better than the 7750 that it’s based upon, and thus isn’t worth a fucking penny over an unmodified Valjoux. Better power reserve, I’ll give it that. But only that.
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Re: Longines Spirit Chronograph

Post by Pubbie » August 24th 2020, 2:31am

I found that with the column-wheel modification too. It made it worse. It has no reason to be the except mmmmarketing. They only put it in for the Hoodwinkee reviews - "so iconic!" - and internet watch gimps who wank themselves dry over "specks". Uh, uh, column-wheel, uh *ting*.
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Re: Longines Spirit Chronograph

Post by MKTheVintageBloke » August 24th 2020, 6:39am

Pubbie wrote:
August 24th 2020, 2:31am
I found that with the column-wheel modification too. It made it worse. It has no reason to be the except mmmmarketing. They only put it in for the Hoodwinkee reviews - "so iconic!" - and internet watch gimps who wank themselves dry over "specks". Uh, uh, column-wheel, uh *ting*.
I’ve yet to see how did adding the column wheel assembly work for, say, La Joux-Perret, i.e. suppliers to B&M, Bucherer and Sinn. IWC also recently made something along these lines, by replacing the entire auto winding assembly with the Pellaton system, and chrono works of their own design. It may be that adding the column wheel to a 7750 base can work, but simply ETA didn’t get it right. As I’ve said, I’ve yet to find that out.
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Re: Longines Spirit Chronograph

Post by Thunder1 » August 24th 2020, 8:14am

I've not had a problem w/ this one, either..
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Re: Longines Spirit Chronograph

Post by MKTheVintageBloke » August 24th 2020, 2:09pm

It's not that it doesn't work fine. It's that it doesn't work any better than, say, the cam-switching L705. What is supposed to make it work more smoothly, doesn't.
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Re: Longines Spirit Chronograph

Post by conjurer » August 24th 2020, 11:03pm

MKTheVintageBloke wrote:
August 24th 2020, 2:09pm
It's not that it doesn't work fine. It's that it doesn't work any better than, say, the cam-switching L705. What is supposed to make it work more smoothly, doesn't.
Umm, no. I've owned more than a few 7750s, and none of them were smoother than the Longines 688. I've also owned a Seagull mechanical chrono, and to be sure, the 688 isn't quite as easy to use. However, I would personally prefer a little feedback from my chronograph being activated than not. A 7750 requires a lot more force to start and stop than the L688. The only movement I've felt was smoother was the Seiko 6S37, used in my Orient Star Clubman, called the Orient 37A00.

For what it's worth, the watch I'm describing is the Longines Hydroconquest chronograph, and the pushers (or, tymeknobs) are integrated into the crown guards, so they are not quite as easy to use as a traditional chrono. However, even with this somewhat difficult placement. Even with this, the startup of the chrono seconds hand is far smoother than a 7750.
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Re: Longines Spirit Chronograph

Post by Pubbie » August 25th 2020, 7:47am

I think it's to do with (a) individual tuning and (b) as simple as pusher size. Ages ago I had a Hamilton with a 7750 featuring big pump-style tymeknobs that were pretty easy to operate. Longines' first column-wheel chronos had these undersized, pinhead-style pushers and with a breakout force that I swear was no lower than the cam-driven kind, they were actually uncomfortable to use. The HydroC up above has bigger, flat pushers. That works better.

There is some additional protection against misuse with a column wheel layout but I don't know enough about this implementation to comment. My brickbat is that they'd have to be noticeably smoother to operate for it to be worthwhile (54h power reserve notwithstanding).
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Re: Longines Spirit Chronograph

Post by MKTheVintageBloke » August 25th 2020, 3:49pm

The watches in which I've checked the feel of the chrono were the Avigation Big Eye (pretty fucking big, round pushers on this one), the new Spirit chrono, and the Master Collection complete calendar; the cam-switching L705 was in the Heritage 1940. Ordinary 7750s - in two Epos Sportive chronographs.

As for the shape of the pushers - the two Epos chronos in which I've checked out the 7750 both had large, flat, more or less rectangular pushers. Still, that should rule in favour of the L688 - the Big Eye has what should be the most comfortable chrono pusher design, and I just didn't feel a difference between that and the 7750.
I wish I knew why is that so. Could be that the ST1901 had me spoiled, could be a streak of bad specimens, could be that the cam-switching ones here (both Longines and - aaaarghhhh- Epos) were incidentally the paragon of chronograph virtue.
I'm no watchmaker, that's for damn sure, I can only say what have my fingers felt while checking the operation of these movements.

I can attest to the L688 feeling better than another cam-switching movement, the dumbed-down (15 jewels and a shitload of plastic), necromanced Lemania 5100 in the Tissot Couturier chrono. Though frankly, that little horror would presumably lose even to the worst of the 7750s.
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Re: Longines Spirit Chronograph

Post by Pubbie » August 26th 2020, 11:12am

MKTheVintageBloke wrote:
August 25th 2020, 3:49pm
I wish I knew why is that so. Could be that the ST1901 had me spoiled, could be a streak of bad specimens, could be that the cam-switching ones here (both Longines and - aaaarghhhh- Epos) were incidentally the paragon of chronograph virtue.
I'm no watchmaker, that's for damn sure, I can only say what have my fingers felt while checking the operation of these movements.
It seems to be the case for the Speedmaster Pro, which is also all stamped steel. Some of them are fine, some of them are like pushing nails into drywall with your bare hands. Partly set-up, partly age, partly how well it's looked after.

I never understood all the gushing over that one. Compared to the original Speedmaster movement it's kind of an cost-cutting in the same vein as the 7750 - horizontal clutch, cams, no overcoil, all perfectly fine but over on InstaFace they call it the Jesus Movement or something like that.

IIRC Omega went long on F Piguet-derived movements during the Long March Upmarket, whose column wheels used to break if they weren't handled carefully.
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Re: Longines Spirit Chronograph

Post by 3Flushes » September 6th 2020, 1:49pm

Missed this one on the first go 'round.

I've been doing a lot of research on Longines for the last few months, specifically on the models with 7751 bases having missed out on the great SWI values years ago which I have lamented about around here adnauesiatingly. A cool moon phase chronograph has eluded me since, and I've settled on the latest Longines models and found the L688 while checking the '51 models out in hopes the venerable brand has a column wheel moon phase in the works. Nope.

Anyone using the breakout pressure required to actuate the chrono as the method to evaluate, and then entirely disparage this movement is completely ignorant of the intention and construction of the L688 specifically, and of the one universal obsession in watchmaking, in general. And while the L688 sure as hell ain't the 7750, it's certainly not the El Primero and beyond, either. And it wasn't designed to be.

Isochronism in a mechanical movement is the one universal thing in this thing of ours. It's the thing that inspired the greats who came first and it is still the only thing in the very highest endeavors of watchmaking.

It's the thing that inspired great thinkers like Breguet to design the tourbillion, or Daniels to persevere in bringing the co-axial escapement to fruition and then to market. Interestingly, Daniels interest in improved accuracy was directly related to the introduction of quartz. It's also the thing that led Brequet to dump the tourbillion after making only 50 of the damn things because they were such abysmal timekeepers and professional embarrassments. The pursuit of perfect mechanical timekeeping is such that any minuscule advance whatsoever is cause for celebration and honor, and patents. And a price increase.

Human beings have been obsessed with the measurement and the passage of time since the beginning of our time, to the 100th of a second since 1916. Many refinements in chronograph movements were engineered from '16 through 1973 when the Japanese quartz invasion was launched. The 7750, the base of the oft maligned L688, was developed by Valjoux (ETA) in 1973 in direct response to the quartz invasion to compete with the Japanese threat.

The Swiss were suddenly competing against movements that were deadly accurate and cost a mere few dollars to produce. Switzerland needed a mechanical chronograph movement that would yield accurate timekeeping with forgiving tolerances to make manufacturing fast and easy, and much more economical. ETA used techniques like employing large plates instead of bridges that lots of shit could be attached to the bottom of, making the 7750 line highly configureable, and it incorporated the easier and cheaper to produce cam-lever, or cam switching actuating mechanism.

The V 7750 with it's snappy-poppy pushers and wobbling rotor motion, and the other 'lessers' of the cam lever design have the stigma of being the red headed stepchild to the column wheel movement given their humble ease and economy beginnings, often bringing contempt onto the venerable 7750 and anything based on it.

So, primarily based on dismissive attitudes regarding the 7750 in general, psuedo-maven watch snobs miss the point of the L688 entirely as revealed in their complaints about breakout pressure and their resulting dismissal of the L688 in it's entirety without the slightest understanding what they are complaining about.

The 7750 definitely has crisp pushers that affirm engagement with a little pop at the end of their travel. I like the way the 77xx movements actuate; the reset has a very cool snap back motion and the action is quite distinctive from the mushiness of many column wheel movements, indeed. I associate the 77xx's with the stop/start action of a mechanical stopwatch.

The 'stiffness' of the 7750 pushers is attributed to the 'lesser' cam-switching system, so the mavens, having dented their delicate little fingertips after somehow having found the strength to actuate the L688, therefore misequivocate the stiffer action to the scorned cam-switching system of it's base, that isn't even there anymore. This ridiculousness is then expanded into the false narrative that the L688 is a fake column wheel, and no better than the no good, in their opinion, 7750 of its foundation. Worthless other than the extended time reserve, of course, goes the usual piffle.

The point of the L688 was to produce a column wheel movement for those who 'get it' for a reasonable price which meant the movement would have to be as accurate as more expensive movements with more forgiving tolerances. Column wheel movements have to be made to much more stringent tolerances than cam-switchers which is where the cost and the pre-eminent mushiness comes in- lots and lots of teeny parts hand polished out of the cutter to those stringent tolerances- we've all seen the videos of the folks with the little sticks and fordham deals for hours, days, weeks, months, what ever it takes until it requires but a breath of air to engage the pushers and actuate the mechanism.

Given the forgiving tolerances and adaptability of the 7750 base, the L688 focuses on timekeeping enhancing modifications instead of agonizing over finishing. AIR, it has returned to bridges and reshaped the cam that engages ETA's design of the cam wheel turrets, which together, mitigate those tolerances elsewhere. The design also makes the turrets much less likely to break off when engaged. Column wheel movements are notoriously delicate and the L688 has indeed been a stalwart of robustnitude.

ETA also designed a double hammered reset mechanism, which, along with the above noted changes in the actuation mechanism are likely the source for the feel of the pushers, in addition to the lesser level of finishing. But polishing parts too extreme tolerances by hand is time consuming, a master craft, and therefore excruciatingly expensive. A lot of money for mushy pushers, so the L688 packs it into timekeeping.

Regulated proper in 5 positions in their 'master whatever' models, the thing delivers incredible accuracy well beyond the -4 to +6 specs AFA I could find in consumer reviews and industry writings. The L688 delivers consistent power through the entire silicone spring, is regulated by a 28800 Etachron escapement, sports a vertical clutch, and what am I forgetting goddammit - I know there's something else - oh yeah - 54 hours power reserve.

By prioritizing timekeeping and longevity over finishing, the L688 offers a column wheel movement with the accuracy and functionality perks for a fraction of the price of its agonizingly finished and higher beat, betters, with mushy pushers. However, if one wonders about the legitimacy of the column wheel credentials of the L688, one need only actuate the chronograph (if you have the digital strength) and watch the action and sweep of the chrono seconds hand. It's worth the comparatively modest price on the hangtags alone.
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Re: Longines Spirit Chronograph

Post by Thunder1 » September 6th 2020, 4:06pm

3Flushes wrote:
September 6th 2020, 1:49pm
Missed this one on the first go 'round.

I've been doing a lot of research on Longines for the last few months, specifically on the models with 7751 bases having missed out on the great SWI values years ago which I have lamented about around here adnauesiatingly. A cool moon phase chronograph has eluded me since, and I've settled on the latest Longines models and found the L688 while checking the '51 models out in hopes the venerable brand has a column wheel moon phase in the works. Nope.

Anyone using the breakout pressure required to actuate the chrono as the method to evaluate, and then entirely disparage this movement is completely ignorant of the intention and construction of the L688 specifically, and of the one universal obsession in watchmaking, in general. And while the L688 sure as hell ain't the 7750, it's certainly not the El Primero and beyond, either. And it wasn't designed to be.

Isochronism in a mechanical movement is the one universal thing in this thing of ours. It's the thing that inspired the greats who came first and it is still the only thing in the very highest endeavors of watchmaking.

It's the thing that inspired great thinkers like Breguet to design the tourbillion, or Daniels to persevere in bringing the co-axial escapement to fruition and then to market. Interestingly, Daniels interest in improved accuracy was directly related to the introduction of quartz. It's also the thing that led Brequet to dump the tourbillion after making only 50 of the damn things because they were such abysmal timekeepers and professional embarrassments. The pursuit of perfect mechanical timekeeping is such that any minuscule advance whatsoever is cause for celebration and honor, and patents. And a price increase.

Human beings have been obsessed with the measurement and the passage of time since the beginning of our time, to the 100th of a second since 1916. Many refinements in chronograph movements were engineered from '16 through 1973 when the Japanese quartz invasion was launched. The 7750, the base of the oft maligned L688, was developed by Valjoux (ETA) in 1973 in direct response to the quartz invasion to compete with the Japanese threat.

The Swiss were suddenly competing against movements that were deadly accurate and cost a mere few dollars to produce. Switzerland needed a mechanical chronograph movement that would yield accurate timekeeping with forgiving tolerances to make manufacturing fast and easy, and much more economical. ETA used techniques like employing large plates instead of bridges that lots of shit could be attached to the bottom of, making the 7750 line highly configureable, and it incorporated the easier and cheaper to produce cam-lever, or cam switching actuating mechanism.

The V 7750 with it's snappy-poppy pushers and wobbling rotor motion, and the other 'lessers' of the cam lever design have the stigma of being the red headed stepchild to the column wheel movement given their humble ease and economy beginnings, often bringing contempt onto the venerable 7750 and anything based on it.

So, primarily based on dismissive attitudes regarding the 7750 in general, psuedo-maven watch snobs miss the point of the L688 entirely as revealed in their complaints about breakout pressure and their resulting dismissal of the L688 in it's entirety without the slightest understanding what they are complaining about.

The 7750 definitely has crisp pushers that affirm engagement with a little pop at the end of their travel. I like the way the 77xx movements actuate; the reset has a very cool snap back motion and the action is quite distinctive from the mushiness of many column wheel movements, indeed. I associate the 77xx's with the stop/start action of a mechanical stopwatch.

The 'stiffness' of the 7750 pushers is attributed to the 'lesser' cam-switching system, so the mavens, having dented their delicate little fingertips after somehow having found the strength to actuate the L688, therefore misequivocate the stiffer action to the scorned cam-switching system of it's base, that isn't even there anymore. This ridiculousness is then expanded into the false narrative that the L688 is a fake column wheel, and no better than the no good, in their opinion, 7750 of its foundation. Worthless other than the extended time reserve, of course, goes the usual piffle.

The point of the L688 was to produce a column wheel movement for those who 'get it' for a reasonable price which meant the movement would have to be as accurate as more expensive movements with more forgiving tolerances. Column wheel movements have to be made to much more stringent tolerances than cam-switchers which is where the cost and the pre-eminent mushiness comes in- lots and lots of teeny parts hand polished out of the cutter to those stringent tolerances- we've all seen the videos of the folks with the little sticks and fordham deals for hours, days, weeks, months, what ever it takes until it requires but a breath of air to engage the pushers and actuate the mechanism.

Given the forgiving tolerances and adaptability of the 7750 base, the L688 focuses on timekeeping enhancing modifications instead of agonizing over finishing. AIR, it has returned to bridges and reshaped the cam that engages ETA's design of the cam wheel turrets, which together, mitigate those tolerances elsewhere. The design also makes the turrets much less likely to break off when engaged. Column wheel movements are notoriously delicate and the L688 has indeed been a stalwart of robustnitude.

ETA also designed a double hammered reset mechanism, which, along with the above noted changes in the actuation mechanism are likely the source for the feel of the pushers, in addition to the lesser level of finishing. But polishing parts too extreme tolerances by hand is time consuming, a master craft, and therefore excruciatingly expensive. A lot of money for mushy pushers, so the L688 packs it into timekeeping.

Regulated proper in 5 positions in their 'master whatever' models, the thing delivers incredible accuracy well beyond the -4 to +6 specs AFA I could find in consumer reviews and industry writings. The L688 delivers consistent power through the entire silicone spring, is regulated by a 28800 Etachron escapement, sports a vertical clutch, and what am I forgetting goddammit - I know there's something else - oh yeah - 54 hours power reserve.

By prioritizing timekeeping and longevity over finishing, the L688 offers a column wheel movement with the accuracy and functionality perks for a fraction of the price of its agonizingly finished and higher beat, betters, with mushy pushers. However, if one wonders about the legitimacy of the column wheel credentials of the L688, one need only actuate the chronograph (if you have the digital strength) and watch the action and sweep of the chrono seconds hand. It's worth the comparatively modest price on the hangtags alone.
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Re: Longines Spirit Chronograph

Post by 3Flushes » September 7th 2020, 8:41am

Thanks gents.

Longines was a brand I'd largely overlooked until I decided I couldn't live without a moon phase chronograph and started looking around. The more I read, the better I liked them. Now all I have to do is find a good deal- the steady 30'ish percent off at Joma makes the models I like about $2300- we'll see what happens there, meantime, I'm haunting a few hock shops that deal in lots of watches and business is brisk. Hope to be in the right place at the right time soon.
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