Watch Review: Longines Admiral Steel Automatic 1968

Longines Admiral Steel Automatic 1968

From 1968, this gentleman’s antique Longines Admiral Stainless steel is a very high quality of the model, which is very wearable, while at the same time as a revaluation of assets. Longines has one of the most spectacular history of any grand Swiss Pavilion, but the strange thing is that the price of the old output still lags behind significantly behind the realization of the watch by its competitors. When it is judged complete and Dial-quality, Admiral under its circumstances or movement is equal Omega Seamaster or a Rolex Oyster Perpetual from the same period. However, with a little effort, even a perfect example of the last one, you can purchase no more than £ 600. For the money, the value of this represents nothing short of amazing, it seems inevitable that prices for classic and flagship will be a significant upward correction in the near future to reflect the high standard inside their movements.
The condition of this particular watch is almost perfect throughout. Its large stainless steel case is virtually unmarked throughout, with just a few tiny imperfections here and there which must be expected on even the most carefully treated vintage example.

The case back interior is signed with “Longines, Fab. Suisse, Swiss Made” together with the company’s winged hourglass emblem. Also here is the wording “Acier Inoxydable”, the French term for stainless steel, and the model reference number 8181-2.
Longines Admiral Steel Automatic 1968

The original winding crown with which the watch started life in 1968 is still in place and in mint condition. This is signed on its flat outer face as “Longines”, again with the winged hourglass device. While it may seem excessive to the casual browser that we mention these details, they are important in the eyes of the purist collector. While average examples are fine for the majority of buyers, our business caters for the specialist collector and effort should be made to acquire only the very best preserved, totally original pieces if the objects of the exercise are long term ownership and investment gain.

Maybe, if there really wasn’t any alternative, we might recommend accepting a restored dial on a watch manufactured in the 1920s or ‘30s, but this would be only as a last resort after a lengthy search for a more worthy example. Under no circumstances would we suggest making the same compromise on a model from the post-war years and any item we considered for our stock from this period would have to feature an original dial in nearly mint condition. The dial is the key defining feature of any vintage wristwatch and the most critical one in setting its value. An original dial will add enormously to the desirability of a piece and conversely, a restored dial will reduce its value as it otherwise would have been by at least 40%.

This dial is completely original and untouched. Its condition is almost as new and a better example probably could not be found anywhere. The brushed silver finish is free from spotting or deterioration. Above the dial centre point is the signature “Longines, Automatic”, while below this is the wording “Admiral, T Swiss Made T”. The “T” letters in this context tell us that the luminous material present in the hands is based around the tritium element rather than the earlier radium based paint.

All three hands are completely original and correct for this model. These are in chrome and match the similarly plated parallel sided batons perfectly. The applied chromed Longines winged hourglass logo on the dial, and the five chromed stars beneath it are shiny and not in the least bit dulled.

The price of this watch is £575 GB pounds. A similar sum would buy almost nothing on the high street, yet here it secures a near mint self-winding vintage model by one of the most respected luxury watch brands in the world. To return to the opening paragraph of this description, it has to be said that classic Longines models are still almost ridiculously undervalued at present. Prices have climbed steeply in the last twelve months, but it is so obvious that all the elements are in place for Longines values to soar dramatically with the assistance of the right catalyst, just as vintage Omega models rocketed in the wake of Antiquorum’s much-publicised themed “Omegamania” sale of April 2007, sponsored by the Swatch Group. The Swatch Group owns both Omega and Longines, and given the boost in the public profile of the former brand after the sale, it must be likely that a similar event centred around Longines will occur in the next two or three years. When this happens, good, and by this we mean immaculate and all original, vintage Longines watches will shoot up in price almost overnight and pieces like this one will no longer be available for anything remotely like the sums they can be acquired for today. Longines has a glorious past, a wide diversity of vintage models behind it, exceptional quality and the current backing of a strongly financed corporation intent on raising its visibility with the buying public. Our bet is that even five years from now, immaculate 1960s vintage Longines Admirals for sale for less than £1000 pounds will be nothing more than a fond memory.