It is not too late to get to the topic. Previously, due to work reasons, I could not recommend this Longines outspokenly to the public, but now I have this opportunity.
The Longines I would like to recommend to you is the Longines with the L688 chronograph movement. With my limited knowledge and word of mouth in the watch industry, I believe that the Longines chronograph using the L688 is one of the most cost-effective chronographs in the current watch market. The reason is that Longines chronographs with the L688 movement are the cheapest bar-wheel chronographs in both the primary and secondary markets. In other words, at the same price point, other brands’ chronographs are cam chronographs, only Longines is a cylindrical wheel chronograph.
The Longines L688 self-winding chronograph movement, we can clearly see the blue column wheel.
Although many friends know it, let me first briefly introduce the difference between a cam chronograph movement and a cylindrical chronograph movement.
There are two kinds of parts in the chronograph movement that control the start / stop of the chronograph function, a cylindrical wheel and a cam. A cylindrical wheel is a part made up of several ‘petal-shaped’ columns (in fact, there is a layer below). When we press the chronograph button, it will drive the column to rotate, thereby ‘pressing out’ or ‘locking in’ the lever that controls the chronograph gear to control the start and stop of the chronograph movement. Because the columns of the column-shaped wheel are shaped like petals, they look good, so they have always been an important technical configuration and symbol of high-end chronographs.
Vacheron Constantin 1142 manual winding chronograph movement, we can see that the column wheel at 6 o’clock is made into Vacheron Constantin’s iconic ‘Malta Cross’ style, which is very beautiful. The 1142 movement is actually the Vacheron Constantin version of the Lemania 2310 movement.
But because the cylindrical wheel is composed of small columns, there are many processing steps. So in order to simplify the process, a low-cost solution was designed, the cam. The cam is composed of two simple geometric parts. Because the shape of the part is relatively simple, the accuracy during processing does not need to be very high, which greatly reduces the production difficulty and cost. However, it is functionally the same as a cylindrical wheel, but it is Use the corner of the cam to ‘push out’ or ‘click in’ the timing lever. The effect is the same, but the two models are contrasted and judged. So the column wheel has evolved into a decoration, used on high-end chronographs, while the cams are used on mid-range and entry-level chronographs.
The most typical 7750 chronograph movement can be seen in the picture at the 3-point cam.
To give an example of the same brand, IWC Yacht Elite Chronometer and Portuguese Meter, Yacht Elite is IWC High-end Chronograph, Portugal Meter is IWC Entry Chronometer, and the difference in wages is about 30,000 yuan. Yacht Elite uses IWC’s self-produced column-wheel chronograph movement, and Portuguese meters use outsourced cam universal chronograph movements, which shows the positioning difference between the two. In addition, Rolex Daytona 4130 chronograph movement, Omega uses 9300 chronograph movement of high-end Speedmaster (plus the previous use of FP1185 movement Speedmaster) are columnar chronograph movement. Of course, the chronographs of Patek Philippe, Lange and Vacheron Constantin are all cylindrical wheel movements. Obviously, the column wheel is the hallmark of high-end chronographs. The price is also higher. For example, the Omega 9300 chronograph movement, the lowest price model, is also around 60,000.
Contrast of cylindrical wheel (top) cam (bottom).
Longines L688 is actually a ‘revolutionary’ movement, which directly brought the price of the columnar chronograph to the 20,000 yuan range. Before the introduction of this movement, it was impossible. The existence of L688 allows more watch enthusiasts to have a cylindrical wheel chronograph. At the price of Longines, other brands’ chronographs at the same price as Longines are undoubtedly chronographs using cams. Because at this price point, general manufacturers can only equip chronographs with general-purpose movements. The most common choice is 7750. 7750 is the most typical cam chronograph movement, so chronographs from general manufacturers cannot be configured from the movement. Comparable to Longines L688. From the current situation, it is not until the 30,000-40,000 yuan interval that we can find the column wheel on the Tag Heuer 1887 chronograph movement, and some Longines models using the L688 movement do not even need 20,000 yuan.
Exploded view of Longines L688 movement, we can also see the striking blue column wheel.
Why are Longines L688 column-shaped chronographs so low?
The reason lies in the technical support of Longines’ Swatch Group. For experienced players, everyone knows that Longines is actually a very powerful watch factory in history, especially on chronographs. 13ZN and 30CH in Longines history are famous chronograph movements in the world of clocks and watches, and Valjoux’s The chronograph movement, like Lemania’s chronograph movement, is a generation of famous machines. However, because Longines merged into the Swatch Group and repositioned the market, Longines has come to a position that is closer to the people. Longines also had to give up its self-produced movement. But this does not mean that Longines no longer has a powerful movement. The Swatch Group’s ETA movement factory has an exclusive movement support for Longines, which is specially developed for Longines and provides exclusive Longines movements. The most typical representative is the L688 column-wheel chronograph movement. The Longines L688 is a new movement developed on the ETA7750 and was initially launched in 2009 (in fact, senior players can easily see the similarities between the two). Like the clutch mechanism of the L688 and 7750, they are swing gears. The biggest difference between L688 and 7750 is that L688 uses a brand new columnar wheel. In order to demonstrate this technical feature more clearly, Longines painted the columnar wheel of L688 into a striking blue. In addition, the L688 has a large number of brand-new parts in the timing mechanism, which is completely different from the 7750, forming Longines’ own technical characteristics.
Disassembly of Longines L688 movement, although L688 was born from 7750, but has many unique parts.
Although the function is the same, there are some differences between the cylindrical wheel and the cam. In terms of feel, because the stroke of the cylindrical wheel rotation is relatively small, the timing buttons of the cylindrical wheel chronograph are relatively light. The cam chronograph feels relatively hard, mainly because the zero reset button is very hard, you need to press hard. At the same time, because the column of the cylindrical wheel rotates every time, the friction position is uniform, and the friction position of the cam is fixed, so some people say that the cam will wear more (I don’t comment on this).
Longines L688 chronograph movement.
The reason I decided to recommend the Longines chronograph with the L688 movement, on the other hand, was that I found it almost bottomed out.
Not long ago, I saw a Longines L688 chronograph in the secondary market. The secondary market is a place where buyers and sellers price together. Sellers’ prices are high, and no one buys them, and the price will drop. Except for some popular watches, the basis for sellers’ pricing is firstly the price of watches. So there is a phenomenon. Long technical chronograph L688 movement, but the price may be lower than Longines 7750 chronograph movement. Because the two watches are placed together, some sellers do not know that the technical content of the L688 chronograph is actually higher than the 7750 chronograph. Therefore, the price of the L688 cylindrical wheel chronograph will not increase. This makes the price of many L688 chronographs too good (I think there is almost no room for decline). In the same case, I once bought an IWC reproduction engineer. At the watchmaker’s office, the price of this woodpecker movement reproduction engineer is several thousand lower than Mark 17, which shows that the seller has underestimated the value of this watch. In addition, Longines is a watch that new players and old players can touch. Old players can play special models, new players can play cost-effective, not much cost, some high-end Longines configuration is still relatively high.
Some Longines chronographs that use the L688 movement, there are many Longines chronographs that use the L688. These are just a few of them. One dial recognition feature is that the L688 calendar is open between 4 and 5.
Finally, I hope everyone has a good time.