The Titanium Spirit has intrigued me since I first came across it late last year. After wearing out the internet looking at everything I could find on the watch, I finally pulled the trigger and bought the 40mm version on the titanium bracelet (L3.810.1.53.6), from an AD.
There is plenty out there on the specifications, so I won’t go much into all the tech. There are lots of very well-done reviews as well. As you will see, I’m not a professional watch reviewer nor an accomplished photographer. I’m just an enthusiast who wanted to share my initial impressions and address a couple of things that are frequently brought up regarding this fine timepiece. So, in no particular order then –
The five applied stars on the dial seem to be the single most polarizing thing about the Spirit. I think part of the problem is that unless you’re fortunate enough to see the watch in person, you have to rely on macro images in high definition, making the stars stand out like – well, you know. In person, I find they are not at all as overwhelming as some claim. Likewise, when they do catch my eye I don’t immediately think of user review ratings from a certain online retailer. The stars add balance and blend smoothly into a dial that is uniformly outstanding. Like the applied gold Longines wings and three lines of printed text, also in gold, the stars complement rather detract from the striking presentation that is the dial. Yes, the stars are a turn-off to some and that’s okay. We don’t all have to like the same things. Personally, I find them far less obnoxious than, say, the snowflake hands of a Tudor. There, I said it. Sorry snowflake fans.
Sometimes, after glancing at a watch, I find I became so engrossed in the watch itself that I forgot my primary purpose was to check the time. Such is the case with the Spirit. The only watch I have personally encountered that has an equally captivating dial is my Aqua Terra 8500 Skyfall. You come for the legibility; you stay for the details. The lack of a date window results in an uncluttered display that belies the details Longines put into the dial. Starting with the dial face itself, it is anthracite in color with a matte finish. Although it appears smooth to my naked eye, under magnification I can see its sandblasted texture. I always thought anthracite to be a more greyish black, but to my eye the dial color leans more toward brown, fading to a darker shade as it turns from the light. It pairs wonderfully with the gold accents. The markings on the chapter ring match the titanium rehaut. Except for the red tip of the second hand, everything else under the crystal is polished gold or lume. Omitting the date window is a stroke of genius.
The sword hands are gold surrounding white lume that goes to blue in low light conditions. The hour hand ends just short of the applied numerals, while the minute hand just grazes the indexes on the chapter ring. The second hand reaches the outer edge of the chapter ring and is predominantly gold. The last third of its length painted red, with a small diamond of lume. This diamond matches and sequentially covers each of the similarly lumed diamonds partially indented into the chapter ring at each hour marker. While the lume in the second hand shows up well in low light conditions, the small diamonds at the hour markers are less illuminated, a moot point considering how well the numbers themselves light up. All in all, there are a symphony of details that belie the fact that this is an amazingly legible display.
The case also receives some negative responses predominantly due to the length of the lugs. On my 40mm version I measure the lug-to-lug at 49mm. It wears slightly longer on the bracelet due to the end links. Personally, I have no problem with wearability size on my 7.5” wrist, but it could be an issue for those with a much smaller circumference. The Grade 5 titanium case is predominantly brushed, with a polished bezel. The bevels running the length lug to lug also have been polished to a high shine. The signed crown is large and screws down to assist in the case’s 100m water resistance. The solid case back is secured by six screws and is nicely engraved with the Longines logo and details about the watch.
Some have commented that the Grade 5 titanium is darker than stainless steel. I don’t see a noticeable difference, even when side by side with a stainless watch.
Speaking of Straps and Bracelets
I found the bracelet to be very comfortable. Using the same Grade 5 titanium as the case, the entire ensemble is a featherweight on the wrist. The signed, dual pushbutton clasp works great and has five micro adjustment holes. Links are secured by friction pins, and on my 7.5-inch wrist I ended up removing three links on the new bracelet to get a comfortable fit using the middle adjustment hole. A terrific feature is the easy change mechanism on the bracelet end links. Pressing the center on the back side of the end link retracts the pins for tool-less removal, which I much appreciated as I immediately began experimenting with various straps.
I like this watch - a lot. A long time ago of one of my flight instructors pounded into me the importance of “attention to detail”. Longines has long been closely linked to aviation and has captured the “details” in this remarkable offering. Call it a pilot watch, call it a field watch, call it whatever you like. It is a solid performer in all respects. It is an innovative contender from a legendary brand, intended to do one job very well and it looks really good doing it.