Vintage Longines

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Vintage Longines

Post by Mortuus on 2012-11-03, 03:41

Sometimes the same Fate that bites you on the backside - see my fairly recent post about 'punishment in exchange for good deeds' over in general watch talk - can turn around and give you all the free pizza you can eat at Petrucelli's...which is great unless you're lactose intolerant, prone to heartburn or gluten intolerant, but if you are any or all of these things, you can make up your own damned way-cool thing.

Anyhow, Fate did me a nice favor about a month and-a-half ago when a casual aquaintance of mine, the Audio Visual Guy at one of our clients' offices, was showing me his 1963 Corvette Stingray watch, which was a gift from his grandaughter. (He knew from previous conversations in passing that I was a collector, so it was no surprise when I both noticed it and asked to see it.) It was an unusual looking piece, which was what made me take notice in the first place; it looked like a small pewter coin with a raised, three-quarter rear view of a '63 Vette, the only model ever made with the split rear window. He liked the car so much that he was on his second version of the watch, having worn out the first a couple of years ago. (It never occurred to me to ask if he actually owned the car that figured so prominently in his choice of wristwear, as to do so was almost certainly going to end up embarrassing one or both of us.) As it was an unusual, even attractive watch, I complemented him on it, which really seemed to please him.

About a week later, I got word that there was a message for me at the client's front desk, and when I was able to get there, the receptionist handed me a small ziploc bag with what appeared to be a fair number of antique, hand-tooled leather watch straps, all very small but nonetheless well made, inside. A few of them even had what looked like silver buckles and tips, each very dark with a patination that made them still more attractive and seemingly authentic. Slipped amongst these unique items was what appeared to be a small, vintage style watch. I gently pulled it from the bag, turned it face-up, and this is what I saw:




It was only then that I noticed the small piece of yellow paper - the classic 2.5 X 4-inch 'yellow sticky' we've all become so accustomed to over the last 20+ years - neatly folded and almost hidden by the old straps. The note was brief but friendly:

"Dear Mort, the straps were made by my grandad, hope you can use them. The watch was my dad's, but I never wear it, so I thot [sic] you might like it. Am retired as of last week, sorry I missed you. Take care, Stephen."

To say I was flabbergasted would be the understatement of the year, and my first thought was to wonder how I was going to track him down to give him his watch back. I figured that, at the very least, it was a family heirloom, but it was also a Longines family heirloom, and that isn't something you just give away to a casual aquaintance. Ultimately, and long-story-short, I didn't have any luck tracking him down, and I finally elected to keep it. I would be lying if I told you that I didn't want the watch, but I made a very conscientous effort to return it, so I'm comfortable with my decision.




Although there are a few cosmetic issues here and there, its overall condition is very good. There is a bit of wear and tear on the original alligator strap, as can be seen in the above and below pictures, but I have a leathersmith friend who, with the help of a little sinew thread, shouldn't have any trouble repairing and preserving it.




My Watchmaker popped open the back and was able to tell me that the automatic movement is indeed Swiss, as is indicated at the six o'clock position on the dial, as well as original to the watch, though he wasn't able to tell me too much more about it. He did indicate that the 12 o'clock positioning of the date opening was a very unusual feature, one that would certainly rule out the possibility of this being some sort of fake. (Our own Doc Needles had said the same thing to me not two weeks before when I showed him a picture of this watch not long after I took possession of it.) In closing, the Watchmaker indicated that the movement had to have received regular servicing as it was in excellent working condition.



I would be the first to tell you that my level of knowledge when it comes to watches in general, much less vintage watches, is not all that great. (Of course, if you've been reading my posts for any length of time, you already know this... Embarassed ) Nonetheless, I have become more and more enamored of these incredible vintage pieces I've been coming across of late, especially this one, the Longines that almost literally 'fell out of the sky,' and I am increasingly delighted every time I find myself owning - and learning as much as I can about - each additional classic watch I add to my collection.

As always, many thanks for looking, and please accept my apologies for the lousy photo quality; this particular watch proved a difficult one to photograph, and the images above were the best of a pretty bad lot. c'est le mort... What a Face

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Re: Vintage Longines

Post by bigedsurf on 2012-11-03, 05:53

Great story and a sweet old vintage Longines. Lucky Bastard.......

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Re: Vintage Longines

Post by eddiea on 2012-11-03, 06:13

The location of the date although not common is not rare , the Longines Conquest line, used that feature in the 1950's early 60's....I have seen couple using the 24 jewel caliber 291 and 294 movements.
Great watch!!!

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Re: Vintage Longines

Post by Mortuus on 2012-11-03, 14:23

bigedsurf wrote:Great story and a sweet old vintage Longines. Lucky Bastard.......

Many thanks, Ed; it sure beats the crap outta that pink invicter!

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Re: Vintage Longines

Post by Mortuus on 2012-11-03, 14:31

eddiea wrote:The location of the date although not common is not rare , the Longines Conquest line, used that feature in the 1950's early 60's....I have seen couple using the 24 jewel caliber 291 and 294 movements.
Great watch!!!

Many thanks, Eddie! And the extra info is greatly appreciated, as well...it felt like a 50's/60's watch, but I had only the minimum of facts about it.

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Re: Vintage Longines

Post by conjurer on 2012-11-03, 15:30

Beautiful watch, Mort, and a swell story, one which brought a tear to my eye. It's a bit sad that the guy gave away such an important family piece of history, but at least he gave it to the right lucky bastard.
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Re: Vintage Longines

Post by wottime on 2012-11-03, 15:56

What an honor to receive not only a great watch, but a wonderful story to go with it. Very cool.

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Re: Vintage Longines

Post by Mortuus on 2012-11-03, 18:30

conjurer wrote:Beautiful watch, Mort, and a swell story, one which brought a tear to my eye. It's a bit sad that the guy gave away such an important family piece of history, but at least he gave it to the right lucky bastard.

Many thanks, Conj...I have to admit to a bit of an 'intimidation factor' when I post anything here these days, given my limited expertise - hell, limited amateur-tise, for that matter - when it comes to watches. And then there's your superb writing skills, John; you've an amazing storytelling ability, and I hope to see even more tales as long as Doc Needles allows me to stay on this playground... What a Face So, again, many thanks, sir.

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Re: Vintage Longines

Post by AlbertaTime on 2012-11-03, 20:17

Big congratulations on receiving these very kind gifts.

Some years ago (I need not go into the circumstances) I asked for advice on keeping a gift I was given, and I asked a person that I held (and still hold) to be one of the most stringently ethical people I've known, what I might do.

He told me: "If it is freely given, it may be freely accepted. They have their reasons for making the gift; if you accept, you need only honour their generosity with sincere gratitude".

Your post shows that you're doing that.
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Re: Vintage Longines

Post by conjurer on 2012-11-03, 21:03

AlbertaTime wrote:Big congratulations on receiving these very kind gifts.

Some years ago (I need not go into the circumstances) I asked for advice on keeping a gift I was given, and I asked a person that I held (and still hold) to be one of the most stringently ethical people I've known, what I might do.

He told me: "If it is freely given, it may be freely accepted. They have their reasons for making the gift; if you accept, you need only honour their generosity with sincere gratitude".

Your post shows that you're doing that.

That was fucking well said, A-T, goddamn it.
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Re: Vintage Longines

Post by Mortuus on 2012-11-03, 21:44

wottime wrote:What an honor to receive not only a great watch, but a wonderful story to go with it. Very cool.
Many thanks for the bon mots, eh-wotts! What a Face All kidding aside, thank you, wotts; as I said to Conj, I still haven't quite got my head around the fact that my friend would think to do this... Question

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Re: Vintage Longines

Post by Mortuus on 2012-11-03, 22:00

Ron, one of the myriad reasons that I'm so glad you're here @WF is your amazing kindness and understanding. Thanks so much for your post; as a good half-Catholic, it has gone a long way to assuage the odd, nagging sense of guilt I have over the whole affair. (Even my guilt uber alles Jewish half is responding well to this... Laughing )

AlbertaTime wrote:Big congratulations on receiving these very kind gifts.

Some years ago (I need not go into the circumstances) I asked for advice on keeping a gift I was given, and I asked a person that I held (and still hold) to be one of the most stringently ethical people I've known, what I might do.

He told me: "If it is freely given, it may be freely accepted. They have their reasons for making the gift; if you accept, you need only honour their generosity with sincere gratitude".

Your post shows that you're doing that.

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Re: Vintage Longines

Post by Mortuus on 2012-11-03, 22:12

v v v What he said, AT, what he effing said... Laughing v v v

conjurer wrote: That was fucking well said, A-T, goddamn it.
What a Face

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Re: Vintage Longines

Post by Ocean on 2012-11-03, 22:29

Nice Mort. I would not second guess his reasons for giving it to you, share and wear it are best in this situation. Vintage watches are where some of the best deals are and at the same time not. It all depends on what you will do with it. Most is service costs anywhere in my limited dabbling n vintage has been 300-800 per watch plus the cost of the watch. This is what you must figure out if it is worth the time and effort to restore or sell a vintage.

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Re: Vintage Longines

Post by Mortuus on 2012-11-03, 23:02

Thanks muchly, O; all good info below and very appreciated. And I agree with the 'share and wear' sentiment, as well. After all, none of us can really own these wonderful things, and they'll eventually 'outlive' us...
Ocean wrote:Nice Mort. I would not second guess his reasons for giving it to you, share and wear it are best in this situation. Vintage watches are where some of the best deals are and at the same time not. It all depends on what you will do with it. Most is service costs anywhere in my limited dabbling n vintage has been 300-800 per watch plus the cost of the watch. This is what you must figure out if it is worth the time and effort to restore or sell a vintage. (Emphasis Mort's)

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Re: Vintage Longines

Post by conjurer on 2012-11-03, 23:26

Mortuus wrote:After all, none of us can really own these wonderful things, and they'll eventually 'outlive' us...

Unless, of course, they're Invicta.
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Re: Vintage Longines

Post by Mortuus on 2012-11-03, 23:52

conjurer wrote:
Mortuus wrote:After all, none of us can really own these wonderful things, and they'll eventually 'outlive' us...

Unless, of course, they're Invicta.

Or, perhaps, one of those Invicters without hands...unless one of the data wheels can somehow get off its pinion, squeeze through the dial cutout and excape...!! It could happen with an Invicter!! Neutral Or not...

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Re: Vintage Longines

Post by eddiea on 2012-11-04, 07:52

conjurer wrote:
Mortuus wrote:After all, none of us can really own these wonderful things, and they'll eventually 'outlive' us...
Unless, of course, they're Invicta.
Hmmm going to desagree here , anything pre-Lalo Invicta will outlive us....

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Re: Vintage Longines

Post by Ocean on 2012-11-04, 10:00

Mortuus wrote:
conjurer wrote:
Mortuus wrote:After all, none of us can really own these wonderful things, and they'll eventually 'outlive' us...

Unless, of course, they're Invicta.

Or, perhaps, one of those Invicters without hands...unless one of the data wheels can somehow get off its pinion, squeeze through the dial cutout and excape...!! It could happen with an Invicter!! Neutral Or not...


It's the movement running away from a $!^* watch.
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Re: Vintage Longines

Post by Ocean on 2012-11-04, 10:01

eddiea wrote:
conjurer wrote:
Mortuus wrote:After all, none of us can really own these wonderful things, and they'll eventually 'outlive' us...
Unless, of course, they're Invicta.
Hmmm going to desagree here , anything pre-Lalo Invicta will outlive us....

Your right but those are rare birds.
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