Longines is a well established brand in the UK, with a long distinguished history. Owned by the Swatch Group it obviously shares some expertise with other Swatch companies, plus Longines watches generally use ETA sourced movements – ETA is also owned by Swatch Group. That was the case for many years, but things are changing on the calibre front.
Since the EU told the Swiss to end their reliance on ETA sourced base movements about five years ago, things are changing fast and many brands are now building their own calibres in Switzerland. Or at least heavily modifying something that they used in the past.
The situation is now getting more complex after the temporary closure of factories during Covid-19 and the actions of the Swiss anti-trust regulator, again seeking to restrict over-dependence on ETA movements. It is an ongoing problem within the industry and it means that Longines, and others, will really have to work hard to stand out as truly separate watchmaking brands at some point. They might need their own movement assembly facility to please the EU, it’s hard to say how the politics will play out.
Why does any of this political wrangling over where a movement is made, or who supplies different brands, actually matter? Well here are the rules on what counts as a Swiss movement; 50 percent of the parts must be made in Switzerland. That means you could outsource 50 percent to say China, and still stamp Swiss Movt on your calibre. That get-out clause could be the salvation for many sub £1800 Swiss watches, because costs are going to have to be cut after Covid19 and the rise of many indie watch brands.
You can buy a 300m dive watch on Kickstarter, ETA/Sellita movement, sapphire crystal from about £400 upwards. Watch manufacturing has been democratised and that is arguably the biggest challenge to the Swiss industry since the Seiko Astrolon quartz.
So What’s The Scoop on The Black Dial Longines 1832?
This 1832 Longines has a 64 hour reserve, automatic movement. Good selling point we say. It’s also an in-house L897 calibre movement, which is great from a collector point of view, although according to Watch Calibre.com that movement still has its roots in an existing ETA engine.
There’s a ladies version, with a champagne dial option, as well as black, and both using a smaller movement and 30mm case. The gents 40mm case models include a moonphase model, as well as a more traditional black dial, three hand format – either with date, or day-date windows at three o’clock. They look superb, but at £1700 or so, are undeniably expensive for what they are; beautiful dress watches that lose a stack of value the moment you walk out of the door, or the website Checkout Cart.
Selling a pre-owned Longines on is no easy task, as many Swiss watch enthusiasts know that in the past Longines shared ETA movements with many relatively cheap non-Swiss brands. That is a fact that sort of taints the 1832 unfairly, given this movement is kinda the AMG version of the ETA movement. Is it woth more than a standard Longines Heritage model at £875 or so? Heck yeah, but is it worth almost two grand? Hmmm, not really.
As a budget dress watch alternative we suggest a Seiko Presage Zen Garden with a black dial at £394, found on Watch Nation. Or how about a Hamilton Intra-Matic Classic at £725? Again, ETA sourced movement, Swatch Group watch, but less than half the cost of the 1832 Longines – spotted on Beaverbrooks website today.
Those options show how big a mountain Longines must climb if it is to survive as a genuine prestige brand name long term, within the Swatch empire. People often ask where the bespoke, unique craft is within the watch build and design these days – you have to justify a price point near two grand with some impressive technology. Otherwise we would all buy a Hamilton or a Tissot, right?