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The shifting sizes of men's watches throughout the years is a testament to changing tastes. A watch that was 34mm in 1950 was meant for a man, with women's watches being much, much smaller. Yet nowadays, a 34mm watch could be worn by both men and women.
Though well-known for its chronographs, such as the 13ZN, and for being a pioneer in automatic wristwatches (particularly those with high-beat movements), Longines occupies only a small sliver of collector focus, a fact that has us continually scratching our collective head.
From the 1930s to the 1950s, Longines also put out a series of simply stunning time-only watches. Often referred to as calatravas after the iconic model by Patek Philippe, most of these watches had thin stainless steel cases at 34mm, a standard size for the time. Like the Patek Philippe Calatrava, these watches by Longines were known for their perfect proportions and the elegant simplicity of their designs.
However, watches like this oversized Longines seem as though the manufacture looked ahead sixty years and foresaw the desires of collectors today.
At 38mm, and powered by the manual-wind Calibre 27M, this lovely example looks (and wears) almost contemporary. Its size (and its fixed spring bars), perhaps holdovers from the timepieces Longines produced for the world’s militaries, such as the Greenlander, the manufacture’s contribution to the legendary Dirty Dozen, exudes a timeless feel. But where the Greenlander was all function, this calatrava is all form, with blued steel feuille hands and a sector-style dial that’s gained a fine stippling over the years—a true "pied beauty."
Overall, this piece is a benchmark of the simple, timeless styling mastered by Longines in its prime. Pieces like these have certainly been picking up traction in the collectors’ circuit in recent years, thanks in part to Longines’ recent reissues. Its popularity is a true testament to the fact that 'style never goes out of fashion.'
Stainless steel case is approximately 38mm. Longines Caliber 27M Manually-Wound Movement. Circa 1940s/1950s.
Overall Condition: Stainless steel case is in very good condition with sharp lugs and minimal signs of use and wear, consistent with age. Silver two-tone dial is in very good condition, with signs of age throughout. Dial has taken on a fine stippling overall, with some darkening in the sub-register at 6 o'clock. Blued steel feuille hands show some signs of age but are in otherwise good condition. Unsigned crown. Case back has some scratches but is in otherwise very good condition.
Includes one 20mm embossed leather NATO strap.