The new white dial replica Longines Silver Arrow constitutes a comeback for the functional steel dress watch, a watch that in its heyday would simply be a sporty everyday timepiece. It presents a reassuring throwback to the quieter times of the 1950s, a time when even half a day at the office would mean dressing up in a crisp shirt, suit and tie (do you even remember them?). With one of the most evocative names in the annals of Longines, maybe the Silver Arrow is the inspiration you need to get out of that tracksuit and put on some proper attire. No matter if your office is, in fact, a hastily modified garden shed.
A goldilocks diameter, is this a clichè or the truth? Well, in my case, between 36-39mm is perfect, and this 38.5mm case size sits oh so well on the wrist, its 10mm height a slim, comfortable presence. And presence it sure has, despite a first impression of quiet minimalism. For those more manly of wrist than the author, the lugs are swoopy and not overly short, giving you a true 38-39mm feel.
The Silver Arrow is yet another case (no pun intented) of the Swiss movement fake Longines Heritage collection being true to its roots, but subtly upsized from what would have been a 35-36mm original. The case is simply imbued with a calm elegance that might even transport you back to another time.
The case and strap
It’s a quietly spoken, functional case design, though not missing those tell-tale signs of Swiss craftsmanship to elevate it. The dynamic nature of the polished lugs are accentuated by the subtle art of bevelling, a slim angle creating movement where the case side sweeps under the smooth bezel. There’s also a discrete facet on the inner part of the lug, merely emphasizing the craftsmanship.
Many of us equate vintage style with the diver’s replica watches of the sixties and the flourish of colours the decade after brought us, but there is a lot to be said for the understatement of the 50s. Back then, this would have been considered a sporty piece, its name inspired by the Mercedes F1 racing team that dominated the circuits of the day, and the caseback decorated with a jet fighter aiming for the stars. With a smooth chocolate-brown leather strap, its non-stitched design gives the Silver Arrow a comfortably timeless feel on the wrist that’s quiet but confidence-inspiring.
Slipping under the slimmest of cuffs, and true to its original inspiration, the cheap copy Longines Silver Arrow strikes a delicate balance. The case for elegant functionality is clear, and all about the craftsmanship within the suave silk-like dial. There’s a slight texture to the silvery white surface and a domed shape, split from the outer minute track by a polished rim, traversed by slivers of lume for the hours. While quite minimalist at first glance, the dial is intricate, timeless architecture conjuring up aeronautical design and streamlining. The name was picked through an internal competition at the atelier, inspired by the Mercedes single seat racers of the time. That sense of speed is underlined by the dynamic script at 6 o’clock.
Lume is just too sporty for the raffish Silver Arrow, but still, there’s a discreet sliver in the polished dauphine hands, balanced with a needle seconds hand. But those indices make the dial. On the smooth silver stage, striated, notched miniature pieces of architecture mark the hours, like facetted edifices on a mid-century penthouse, or the now strange notion of a silver cigarette case, with photogenic pops of light refraction. This intricate dial art lifts the vibe of formal elegance, a vibe strong enough for changing out of your t-shirt before wearing the Silver Arrow. Come on – this deserves it.
The movement, and an elegant conclusion
Behind an evocative caseback lies the tried and tested Longines in-house L888.5 calibre, an automatic movement with the benefits of a silicon balance spring and a long 72 hour power reserve. So while you could take it off, and enjoy a weekend of completely unnecessary sports activities, why not stay in and enjoy the finer things in life? Forget about the mundane passage of time, and ease back in your Eames Lounge chair, daydreaming of Palm Springs, with a cocktail in your hand. The Longines copy for sale will still be ticking away while you’re dressing up for the home office on Monday. Maybe that extra effort will change an otherwise trite Monday for the better, just don’t binge watch Mad Men and get tempted to have a drink in the office Zoom meeting.