The new Longines Ultra-Chron might look quite retro but don’t be fooled: it’s a high-performance time-telling machine that pushes new boundaries in watchmaking for both Longines and the watch industry at large.
The Longines Ultra-Chron range first appeared in 1966 and was so named because its innovative high-beat movement was more accurate than the famous chronometer certification of the COSC (Contrôle Officiel Suisse des Chronomètres). 1968 saw the release of the Longines Ultra-Chron Diver, which combined that insane accuracy with the toughness and water-resistance of a dive watch to create the first high-frequency dive watch.
The 2022 Longines Ultra-Chron revives the distinctive tonneau-shaped case of the ’68 Longines Ultra-Chron Diver, but with an even more precise, modern movement as well as even more impressive underwater bona fides and higher levels of refinement.
(Almost) more importantly, it also looks cool as hell and is one of the most distinctive watches on the market right now that you could hope to strap to your wrist.
First things first: the new Longines Ultra-Chron is powered by the Swiss brand’s in-house calibre L836.6, which boasts a 52-hour power reserve, is water-resistant to 300m (100m more than the original Ultra-Chron) and oscillates at 36,000 beats per hour (i.e. 10 beats every second). That’s roughly 12,000 beats per hour more than your standard Swiss automatic watch movement.
The advantage of high-beat movements like this is that they’re far more accurate than standard movements, as they reduce the disruptive effects of shocks or changes in the position of the movement. Another upside of high-beat movements is that they produce a mesmerisingly smoothly sweeping seconds hand that’s a real pleasure to watch.
What’s interesting about the Longines Ultra-Chron is its “ultra chronometer” certification, which exceeds rival certifications such as those provided by COSC or METAS. It’s certified by TIMELAB, an independent testing laboratory in Geneva, which tests the watch head and subjects the finished product to a rigorous 15-day testing period during which the watch is submitted to a series of tests at three temperatures (8°C, 23° C and 38°C).
Eschewing the typical COSC or METAS certification for a tougher independent one represents a real departure from form for Longines, which is often considered a somewhat conservative brand. It’s a quietly rebellious decision that also speaks to the quality of the new Longines Ultra-Chron.
It also just looks the business. The Longines Ultra-Chron’s case shape is different and aesthetically pleasing, and its bright green lume contrasts brilliantly with its black grained dial. Its bezel is particularly nice: a sapphire crystal number with lumed accents that have a nice sort of 3D effect. The domed crystal is another nice retro touch.
The Longines Ultra-Chron is available with a choice of a leather strap or a steel bracelet and it is delivered in a special presentation box containing a black NATO strap crafted from recycled material. All three strap options are great, but we’re particularly fond of the NATO with its bold red stripe.
All in all, we’re just really excited about this watch. The Longines Ultra-Chron is good-looking, technically impressive and different to everything that’s on the market. It’s a masterstroke from Longines and one that we hopes shift the needle a bit around the brand.
Find out more about the Longines Ultra-Chron at Longines’ online boutique here.