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Review: The new Longines Railroad

With analysis and live photographs
by  on May 31, 2016
Positives

- Looks exactly like the vintage model and No date window which allows the whole dial to stand out
- Legible dial
- Reasonably priced

Negatives

- Would have been nice to see a manually wound calibre used

We have seen Longines recently taking inspiration from their archives and the timepieces they produced in the past such as the Longines Pulsometer and the Heritage COSD.  This is a good way of breathing new life and adding modern touches to the design of a vintage timepiece to “modernise” it.   We take a closer look at the new Longines Railroad which is based on a watch produced by Longines in the 1960s for railwaymen.

Having an accurate timepiece was vitally important to railwaymen in the early 20th century, as a malfunctioning pocketwatch could result in a major accident.  As the pocket watch evolved into wristwatches, the same principals applied in terms of needing the watch to be accurate and durable.  In today’s society with digital timing used for major transportation such as airports and train stations it may not seem like a big deal, but in the early days of transportation by train it was a necessity to have reliable timepieces.

Even though the original was produced in the 1960s, its overall look remains evergreen.   The new Longines Raiload looks virtual identical to its 1960’s older brother except for a few little tweaks that are subtely done.

 

Longines Railroad

The new Longines Railroad

The original 1960s Railroad model which provides the inspiration for the new model.

 

Original_Longines_Railroad (R)

The original Longines Railroad made in the 1960’s

 

The Case, Dial and Hands

The case is a very wearable 40mm in diameter made from stainless steel.  The lugs have the same angular shape as the vintage model and the round case looks virtually identical. The vintage model had a polished case and bezel with brushed lugs.  The modern iteration follows its older brother with the brushed lugs, while the rest of the case and the bezel have a polished finished.  The watch proportions and aesthetic finishes along with its black alligator strap with white stitching, make it perfect to pair with a suit.  The word Longines is in the same position and unlike the vintage model, the new  Railroad has an applied silver winged hourglass logo.  The domed sapphire crystal with anti reflective coating ensures maximum legibility.

longines railroad

The dial is very crisp and matches perfectly with the stainless steel case.

 

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The dial layout remains faithful to the original with off white 24 hour dial with painted black Arabic numerals, 0-11 for the outer circle and 12-23 in the inner portion. The minute track with thicker markers for the 5 minute intervals is indistinguishable from the original.  The same style of black lacquered Dauphiné hands have been used for the hour and minutes and a straight hand for the seconds.   The only  differences are do with the number that appears next to the R.R (Railroad).  The original 1960’s model was powered by a manually wound calibre 280, hence the number seen on the original dial.  The new Railroad is powered by a self winding calibre L.888  which is stated on the dial as 888 and the word Automatic below it.   It would have been nice to see the word “Automatic” left off, as it would have made the new watch look nearly exactly like its older brother on a first glance.  We applaud Longines for not putting a date in the new version.  It may have been tempting but it looks very good without one and doesn’t need it.

longines-railway-dial

The off white dial of the new Longines Railroad, which is very pleasing on the eye.

 

The Movement

Powering the watch is the self winding Calibre L888.2  (ETA A31.L01), which beats at 25,200 alternations per hour and has a power reserve of 64 hours.  It would have been cool to see a hand wound calibre placed in the new timepiece to make it a real throwback to its older brother but the use of a self winding movement makes it easier to just pop on the watch and not have to worry about having to wind it.

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As the new model tries to remain as faithful to the original design, it too has a solid caseback which means no viewing of the movement.  To compensate for this Longines have engraved a picture of a steam train as a tribute to the decorations of old pocket watches from the railways.

 

longines-railway-back

The engraved caseback featuring a steam engine train.

 

Concluding Thoughts

 

The new Longines Railroad is a solidy constructed watch and is a great tribute to the original model of the 1960’s.  At S$2,700 it represents good value for a time only watch with nice aesthetics and a nod to the past of Longines and its links to the railways.  As mentioned earlier it would pair nicely with office attire but we can see this timepiece used with more casual clothing on the weekend or even for a semi formal occasion.   Last of all it is nice to see that a date window was deemed not necessary to give the watch its true retro vibe.  Nicely done Longines.

 

longines-railway-wrist

The 40mm case fits nicely on the wrist.

Techncial Specifcations of the Longines Railroad

Reference number  L2.803.4.23.0/3

Calibre

Automatic winding mechanical movement

Calibre L888.2 (ETA A31.L01)

11½ lines, 21 jewels, 25,200 alternations per hour

64-hour power reserve

 

Functions 

Hours, minutes and seconds

 

Case  

Round, diameter 40 mm, steel

Screwed back

Engraving on the back inspired by the original decorations found on pocket watches designed for railway companies in the 1920s.

 

Sapphire crystal with multilayered anti-reflective coating

 

Water resistance

Up to 3 bar (30 meters)

 

Dial  

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Off-white polished, 24 black painted Arabic numerals

 

Hands 

Shiny lacquer black

 

Strap  

Black alligator with buckle

What's your reaction?
I Love It
81%
Cool
12%
It's OK
4%
What?
4%
I Hate It
0%
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