Longines 9ct Cal.12.68Z 1951
Longines is one of the oldest Swiss watch manufacturers with an unparalleled history of invention, innovation, patents and awards. The company is also responsible for some of the most beautiful watches ever made, but something of a Cinderella among the watch collecting fraternity until recently. Longines is now rightfully returning towards the elevated status it once held in the pre and post-war years when it ranked among the very best among of the Swiss watch manufacturers. It is really only within the past three years that Longines vintage watches have risen again to the admiration and popularity they deserve, with values rising of by around 15 – 20% per year, and on certain models, such as the now legendary Longines Calibre.13ZN chronograph, prices have sky-rocketed.
Here we have a wonderful example of typical Longines elegance and style in the form of a beautiful 9ct gentleman’s dress watch from 1951. This was a period when technically, Longines was approaching its peak, competing head to head with all of the top-tier Swiss watch manufacturers. Notable highlights on this watch are its beautiful dial with original hands and the subsidiary seconds dial at 6 o’clock and the case and high grade Calibre 12.68Z movement are in stunning condition.
The dial is in the classic Longines style, in that it is simple, clean, classy and understated. It is typically 1950’s in its use of a subsidiary seconds dial and thin ‘Lance’ style hands, matched with arrowhead hour indices and 2 – 4 – 8 – 10 – 12 numerals in yellow gold, over a slightly off-white dial. Longines always seems to aim and achieve dials which are that bit closer to perfection. It does this so often and so effortlessly. Even the Longines signature looks more ‘in place’, which incidentally is the oldest registered, of any watch manufacturer. The company certainly made a fine art of this during the ’50s and ’60s. Perhaps the evolution of a certain style became part of the company’s DNA, but Longines dials seem in a class of their own. This sense of style has certainly won Longines a great many loyal customers, which only later came to appreciate the accuracy and reliability of its movements.
This is the original dial which has been previously restored to a very high standard and is in tip-top condition.
The watch carries its original Longines Cal.12.68Z, hand-wound movement which carries all the purity and charm typical of a top-class 1950s Swiss watch movement. This is one of the classic manually wound movements of its day, with 17 jewels, a running rate of 18,000 half beats per hour and a power reserve of 40 hours. It has every contemporary refinement, including a bimetallic balance and an Incabloc shock protection, which was still a relatively recent introduction in early 1950.
If a dial defines the look of a vintage wristwatch, then it is the hand-built movements inside that are at its heart and makes them of such interest in the first instance. These minor miracles of micro-engineering were built long before the advent of CNC machines and computer-controlled polishing lines. While some machinery was obviously used in movement manufacture, it was of a very traditional nature supervised by specific individual craftsmen, exactly as had been the case since the 19th Century. Each component was individually inspected and finished until it met with the watchmaker’s satisfaction, and then gradually built up into a complete movement and regulated again by hand. If one really takes time to understand this process and the quality present in these classic watch movements by makers such as Longines, it really is breathtaking. This, of course, accounts for their high prices when new and the prices which good vintage examples command today.
Returning to the quality of finishing and build, this is exceptional and fair to claim this is a better-finished movement than an equivalent watch offered by Rolex or Omega at the time. Unlike its two famous competitors, which simply fitted jewels into drilled holes in the bridges, Longines adopted the system of screwed chatons, by which every jewel is held in its own threaded brass sleeve, which is then in turn screwed into the plates. This is a lovely refinement that one hardly ever sees below the top tier and must have added significantly to the cost of production when new. The fact that vintage Longines watches are still so affordable today is hugely fortunate when we actually look at them closely and see how beautifully built they are.
As can be seen, the movement is in absolutely tip-top condition following a thorough overhaul and service by our vintage Longines specialist watchmaker. This means the movement has been completely disassembled, cleaned, inspected and rebuilt using only original Longines parts where required, then carefully calibrated and tested. Upon return, this watch is now running to within +8 seconds per day! This is absolutely outstanding for any vintage watch of this age. When fully wound, this movement also has a 40-hour power reserve.
These movements are very accurate and very reliable, making it completely practical and appropriate for regular everyday use. Our watchmaker has indicated this particular movement is in top condition and with regular servicing every 2 to 3 years, we would fully expect this watch to run very happily for many more decades to come! We are therefore very pleased to offer a 12-month warranty on this watch movement* and services in the future, as required.‘Longines’ is signed on the bridge, together with ‘17 Jewels’ and ‘Swiss’. Also found here is the calibre number 12.68Z. All this detail has been painstakingly filled in with 9-carat gold in order to increase its legibility against the background. These points, though minor in themselves, elevate Longines movements of the time to something which is a cut above the rest. The movement serial number is 8,498,456 indicating this watch was produced in 1951.
*Please note – our 12 months’ warranty is only applicable if the full list price is paid.
As always, our standard advice applies: Vintage Watches should be kept clean and dry at all times.
The styling of this model is absolutely classic and timeless. If we were unable to ascertain its year of manufacture exactly from its hallmark letter and movement serial number, we could glance at this piece and believe it to be from 1935, 1955 or 2015.
The watch case is a 34mm, 9ct yellow gold, large, round, ribbed case with straight lugs in absolutely wonderful, original condition.
The inside of the case-back is all marked correctly. At the top is ‘DS & S’ which was the sponsor’s mark of David Shackman & Sons. Based in Chesham, Buckinghamshire, Shackman was an independent case-making concern that supplied its products to most of the major Swiss houses for use on their watches that were to be sold in the UK.
Experienced collectors will also know Shackman cases well on Omega, Jaeger Le Coultre and more commonly, Rolex models from this era, which are very highly universally regarded for their high quality. Gold Swiss watches sold in Europe tended to have Swiss made cases, but those supplied to the British market were invariably UK made. This came about after the ban on the import of precious metal into the UK imposed by the British government in December 1916. Needing to service their most lucrative market, the Swiss houses skirted the obstacle by shipping only uncased movements to their UK agents and having these housed in British made cases upon arrival, these of course not being subject to any restriction. Long after the ban was lifted, this same arrangement continued, basically because it was so convenient for all involved. Ironically, given that they were first used as a temporary stopgap in a crisis, the quality of British made cases proved to be so high that they now typically command a slight price premium over their Swiss equivalents.
‘Baume’ is stamped exactly as it should be. Baume & Co, of 1 Hatton Garden, London, EC1, acted as official British agents for Longines since the World War I period. On an earlier watch, we would expect to find the initials “AB” inside the case-back, these being those of Arthur Baume, the company’s Managing Director. However, by the 1950s, the full Baume signature as seen here, was instead used.
On a watch clearly sold when new in the UK, we would expect to see a full set of British hallmarks. These are indeed here and inform us that this case was assayed as 9ct gold in London, 1951. The case-back also carries the case reference number 579.
The Strap & Buckle
A new brown lizard skin strap is fitted, along with a Longines gold-plated buckle. However, if a different colour or style of strap is preferred, please let us know and we will do our best to oblige free of charge. We carry tan, conker, dark brown and black in stock in plain padded leather, crocodile skin or lizard skin. We can also obtain most types and colours at short notice.
The Box and Papers
Although there are no original papers with this watch, all the numbers and markings on the watch are correct, dating the watch to 1951.
Detailed particulars will be included with our purchase receipt for your interest and security. A separate insurance valuation for the replacement value of this watch will be provided at the time of sale along with our unique ‘Lifetime Authenticity Guarantee’ which states: “If this watch proves to be anything less than 100% genuine, authentic and original, a full refund will be given at any time”.
This watch comes complete with a high quality hardwood presentation box seen in the photographs.
We have always been great admirers of vintage Longines and for many years they have been significantly undervalued. However, this has begun to correct itself in recent years. There is no good reason for this, as these watches technically match or surpass almost all the high-end brands. Whatever the reason, they still represent excellent value even though prices have been increasing by around 20% per annum during the past few years.
The watch here is a superb example of a most beautiful and sought after vintage Longines. A rare, usable and highly collectable vintage gold gentleman’s dress watch, from one of horology’s most highly respected names which is a thing of beauty, to use, to wear, to treasure and to enjoy!
This watch will also make an excellent investment and family heirloom piece. Even though vintage Longines prices are still catching up with, for example, Omega, JLC and Rolex, we are sure fine examples such as this still remain undervalued. As each year goes by and the world market for vintage gold watches continues to expand, availability will become more limited, meaning prices are surely destined to climb ever higher!
A word about our prices – We always try our hardest to acquire the very highest quality watches we can find, before restoring them to the highest possible standards. We then offer these at the fairest prices we can, taking into account our pre and post-sales care and service. This approach inevitably means we will never be the cheapest, but nor will we be the most expensive. Indeed there are a number of well-known stores in West London which are very successful, charging between two to three times the price you see here. We therefore consider our prices to be fair, given the quality of watches we have to offer.
We are happy to accept PayPal as this is the quickest method of payment. However, if you would wish to pay by bank transfer, we will be pleased to pass on a 3% transaction saving to you. Similarly, if you wish to pay by International SWIFT or International Bank Wire Transfer, we will provide you with our BIC / Swift number and our IBAN number.
Please check the import duties and any taxes your government may apply, these are different for each country and unfortunately out of our control.
We understand there may be some ‘loopholes’ that may help you avoid these charges, however attempting to use these could impact our ongoing ability to serve our growing international customer base.
For those that happen to visit the UK on occasion we are of course more than happy to store your watch until we can meet you in our offices in Kensington, London, and your watch directly to you there.
Please note, we also welcome part exchanges and if you have a watch or small collection for sale, please contact us as we will be happy to discuss.
We will be happy to Service your watch, Repair your watch or Restore your watch, all at ‘sensible’ prices. Please see here.
If you have any questions please call on our Landline 0207 727 7095 or Mobile 07515 949250 or if calling from overseas on our Landline +44 207 727 7095 or Mobile +44 7515 949250.
We are here, ready and available and awaiting your call! We will be happy to answer any questions and offer advice about this or any of our watches listed for sale. If you would like some general advice regarding any aspect of vintage watches, including buying, selling, or collecting vintage watches, we will also be happy to hear from you.
Finally, please enjoy some time spent viewing our other fine vintage gold watches!
- Store Name: Vintage Gold Watches London Ltd
- Vendor: Vintage Gold Watches London Ltd
96 Kensington High Street
United Kingdom (UK)
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