Longines is celebrating the 70th anniversary of the wrist chronograph developed in 1938 for the cartographers of the Istituto Idrografico della Regia Marina in Italy by reissuing this model. The Longines Istituto Idrografico R. Marina watch has conjured up the spirit of the original watch produced in Saint-Imier for the officers of the Italian navy while integrating the latest technical features.
The 40 mm diameter stainless steel case has a back with a cover stamped with the prestigious name of the “Istituto Idrografico della Regia Marina” for which the original model was made to order. The inside of the cover is engraved “EFCo”, referring to the founder of the company, Ernest Francillon, and also reveals Longines’ original winged hourglass trademark. To emphasise the exclusive nature of the model, the dial also bears the name of the Italian hydrographic institute.
The black lacquered dial is decorated with large superluminova-coated luminescent numerals and also has luminescent dark blue hands, ensuring that the time can be read easily under all conditions. This model is water-resistant to 30 m and is mounted on a genuine deep tan alligator strap with a buckle. The Longines Istituto Idrografico R. Marina watch is fitted with an L651.3 self-winding mechanical movement with a power reserve of 42 hours.
The original model was created in the workshops in Saint-Imier in 1937 and delivered to the Istituto Idrografico della Regia Marina at the beginning of 1938, as can be seen from the firm’s etablissage ledgers. Housing the famous 13ZN movement, this chronograph was part of the selection of measuring instruments used by the Italian navy’s cartographers for their regular surveys of the coastline and the sea-bed. In the 1920s Longines had already supplied the famous hydrographic institute with time-measuring equipment.
In 1926 the company supplied 54 ship’s chronometers with special dials inscribed with the name “Istituto Idrografico R.Marina”. These instruments were fitted with a Longines 21.25 calibre, a robust 21-line movement which guaranteed a high level of precision.
The Istituto Idrografico della Regia Marina has been based in Genoa since 1872. Its principle task is to carry out regular surveys of the Italian coastline and the sea-bed around the country. From the information obtained from the surveys it draws up maps and publications which are the official basis for navigation.
The Longines Istituto Idrografico R. Marina Watch in stainless steel
Reference number L2.6126.96.36.199
Self-winding mechanical movement, caliber L651.3 (ETA 2894/2)
12½ lines, 37 jewels, 28,800 vibrations per hour
Power reserve of 42 hours
Hours, minutes and seconds
– Center 60-second hand
– 30-minute totalizer at 9 o’clock
Round, stainless steel, Æ 40 mm
Back stamped with the Istituto Idrografico R. Marina logo that opens to reveal an engraved caseback with the original Longines EFCo logo
Water-resistance: To 30 meters (~ 100 feet)
Black lacquered, 12 superluminova luminescent Arabic numerals
Subdial for seconds at 3 o’clock
Hands Blued “baton skeleton” hands with superluminova coating
Dark brown genuine Alligator strap with buckle