1951 Longines Manual Dress Watch

$1,795

A solid nine carat yellow gold manual wind Longines dress watch.  This is a very handsome, classic dress watch with an interesting distressed dial that is known as having turned 'tropical'. This gentleman’s 1951 vintage Longines watch is an ideal piece for someone looking for a classic model with a bit of a twist.  The watch is both collectible and wearable at the same time. The quality of Longines watches from this time is second to none and its movement the equal of anything that was produced by Rolex, Jaeger LeCoultre, IWC or any of the other prestigious Swiss houses from the same era. The design of this model is classical but with small additional detail that make it more appealing than a simple round case.  There is a slight step around the bezel which expands the case to a more impactful size. Unlike a lot of dress, time only watches from this time, this case is actually quite large measurgin in at just below 36mm, not including the winding crown.  When you consider most dress watches at the time were 32/34mm, this is quite large.  The straight but curved lugs come off the case and give the watch an even larger feel on the wrist.

The snap on case back carries various stampings and hallmarks.  Inside the case back are the maker's mark of “DS & S”. This is the maker's mark for David Shackman & Sons. Based in Chesham, Buckinghamshire, in England, Shackman was an independent case maker suppling cases for most of the major Swiss houses for use on their watches that were to be sold in the UK only.  Shackman made cases can be found on Omega, Jaeger Le Coultre and more commonly, Rolex models from this era. Gold, Swiss watches, sold in Europe tended to have Swiss made cases.  But those supplied to the British market were invariably cased with UK made cases. This state of affairs 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 potential issues and heavy duties by shipping only uncased movements to their UK agents and having these housed in British made cases upon arrival, therefore not being subject to any restriction. Long after the ban was lifted, this same arrangement continued as it worked well, and was convenient for all involved. The quality of British made cases proved to be so high that they now typically command a slight price premium over their Swiss equivalents, even though more often than not they are cased in 9 carat gold.  A standard for the UK market, even today. Also stamped into the case back is “Baume”.  Baume & Co, of 1 Hatton Garden, London, EC1, had 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. By the 1950s, the full Baume signature seen here was instead used.

The individual case number 321 is present.  Swiss made Longines watches tend to, almost uniquely, have case and movement numbers that match each other, which is very impressive. Sadly, this luxury was never extended to British market production and there is no matching between numbers on these models.The final markings into the case back are a full set of British hallmarks. These marks illustrate that this case was assayed as 9 karat gold in London, 1951. This dial is all original, and as aforementioned it has now turned what is called 'tropical' in the industry.  This tends to happen when the dial is exposed to moisture or a steady and consistent period of strong, direct sunlight.  It ages the dial into these beautiful bronzey colours.  This is not for everyone, but it does have an amazing look to it, and to some are very appealing.  The dial has the “Longines” signature in black just below the 12 o'clock marker, with “Swiss Made” running around the very bottom edge of the subsidiary seconds dial.  The dial has very handsome polished gilt Roman numerals at skipped hour intervals which catch the light beautifully.  All three gold hands are original and in perfect condition. The movement in this watch is Longines’ calibre 12.68z, a hand wound unit that made its debut in 1938 just before the outbreak of World Warr Two would ravage Europe.  The 1930s had been a time of exponential growth for Longines and a boom in wrist watch sales. This culminated in a large increase in the production of a huge selection of movements as both Longines, and most other Swiss brands enjoyed a period of growth and success. In technical terms the 12.68z is a classic, manually wound, movement.  Featuring 17 jewels and a running rate of 18000 half beats per hour. This caliber in this watch was not yet upgraded to feature the Incabloc shock protection which was introduction later into the early 1950s.

The original running time when fully wound was  41 hours, although due to be being over 70 years old now, this has slightly depleted. The movement is in spectacular original condition, and what ever had imp-acted the dial, did not find its way into the back of the watch, fortunately.The watch comes with the Extract from the Archive of Longines, which confirms all of the production history of the watch.  Overall, the watch is in excellent condition.  The only question mark to ask is whether the tropical dial is appealing or not.  Overall, a very handsome and large size classic solid gold dress watch from the golden era of watch making.

Case measurement: 35.75mm

This item is final sale.

One year warranty for mechnical issues provided by Foundwell.