Earlier this year, to considerable fanfare on their part, Longines launched the Flyback Chronograph within their Spirit Collection. The Spirit Collection has been critical for Longines over these past few years. It’s a spot in the catalog where the brand is really trying to carve out a niche for themselves in the contemporary watch landscape. After years of being better than possibly any other brand at raiding the archives for heritage based reissues, the Spirit Collection seems like a conscious choice to branch out into something different – to prove that Longines has a foot in the modern watch world, and isn’t just playing the hits. For me, the Spirit Collection really gelled with the introduction of its first titanium watch. This no date execution of the Spirit in a super lightweight metal really felt like the brand finding a groove with a new product line, and they’ve now somewhat predictably added a titanium version of the Flyback Chronograph to the collection, adding some symmetry to the catalog and perhaps a more wearable version of an impressive, but large, chrono.
The broad strokes of the Flyback are virtually identical to the steel version issued earlier this year. We get a 42mm case that’s 17mm (yes, 17mm) thick, with a rotating 60 minute timing bezel with a ceramic insert, mounted to a matching titanium bracelet or a textile strap. The dial is anthracite, complementing the tone of the grade 5 titanium rather well, with subdials at 3:00 and 9:00 for minute totalizing and running seconds, respectively. Those subdials are slightly sunken, with a radial finish, and have thin gold outlines, a motif that’s repeated along the dial’s perimeter, separating the Arabic numerals and their lume filled markers from the outer minutes track. As with all Spirit Collection watches, we can see the five-star logo on the dial near the 6:00 position.
This watch will likely be a love it or hate it proposition for many based on the particulars of the case. At 42mm it’s not unreasonable in terms of diameter for a contemporary sports watch, but that 17mm case height, on paper, is imposing. I had a chance to handle the steel version of the Flyback Chronograph briefly at a pre-launch preview earlier this year, and while the watch is certainly chunky, I didn’t find the thickness to be a non-starter. There’s no escaping the size, but also, this watch isn’t trying to hide it anyway. I haven’t handled the new titanium version, but I imagine the weight reduction will be significant, and make the watch considerably more approachable for many who might be on the fence, if they can get over the initial hurdle of considering a 17mm thick watch in the first place. My advice, as always, is to be open minded, try watches on, and do your best not to be a stickler for the numbers.
Of course, the titanium version of the Flyback Chronograph gets the same Longines L7914 caliber as its steel counterpart. Its flyback functionality allows for the successive timing of multiple events by returning the chronograph seconds hand immediately to “zero” and starting again with a single button press. This comes in handy in all kinds of sporting contexts (timing successive laps, for example) but is also a feature that is useful in aviation, where much of the DNA for the Spirit Collection resides.
The Longines Spirit Flyback in titanium is available now via authorized Longines channels. The retail price is $5,200 on a bracelet, $4,850 on a strap. Longines