This very rare Longines was given to me by my auntie in Italy. It was in very poor condition but the important thing was that it was intact and, to my surprise, the balance staff was not broken. It was a simple restoration; there was a little rust damage that was cleaned up, the movement was overhauled, the case polished up nicely. The glass was the only part I replaced. The only thing I couldn’t improve was the dial without having it repainted and that would have destroyed the watch’s authenticity.
I was surprised to find how old this watch is, but its exact age proved a little hard determine. The serial number suggested 1937; a reliable reference tells me that the 12.68Z movement started production in 1938 and the style suggests to me the early 50’s. There is a repair number scratched into the back (watchmakers routinely scratched a mark into the inside of the back to record a repair. Sometimes this includes the date) dated 1941. So it is positively pre 1941; I’m going with 1937.
What makes this watch distinctive and rare at a time when watches were indistinctive, is the swivel lugs, they make for a very pleasant look on the wrist because the lugs curve to the wrist shape. Remove the lugs and it would be like all other watches of the period.
The movement is fine quality with a bimetallic balance and timing washers for accurate adjustment but ordinary in the sense that all reasonable quality watches had these features.
But this is no ordinary watch….it’s a Longines.