Longines wrist watch, tropical dial

Last Updated on May 19, 2024 by Jason

This vintage Longines watch has a good quality 17-jewel calibre 6952 hand-winding movement which is keeping time well. The movement is fully signed and it has the serial number 53903096 which dates it back to 1977. For such a good quality movement, I am surprised that it is not part of one of the Longines collections, for example, Conquest or Flagship. I was drawn to this Longines because of the tropical dial, not that the pattern necessarily appealed, just that it was eye-catching.

Longines, tropical dial, 1977.
Tropical dial, Longines, 1977. © The Vintage Wrist Watch Company.


Longines traces its origins back to 1832 when Auguste Agassiz, a businessman with banking experience, along with his partners Henri Raiguel and Florian Morel, established a watchmaking enterprise in Saint-Imier. Initially known as Raiguel Jeune & Cie., the venture adopted the name Longines later on. Operating as a comptoir, their primary function was to gather watch components crafted by specialized artisans and assemble them into timepieces, a practice known as the “établissage” system. Transitioning away from this system, Longines ventured into independence with the establishment of its own factory.

Auguste Agassiz’s connections in America facilitated the expansion of Longines into a significant market, with assembled watches from Raiguel Jeune & Cie., Comptoir gaining popularity. Following the departure or retirement of Raiguel and Morel, Agassiz’s nephew, Ernest Francillon, assumed control of the business in 1852, while Agassiz remained involved until his passing in 1877. Under Francillon’s leadership, Longines underwent modernizations, including the purchase of land and the construction of a factory in an area known as “les longines,” from which the company derived its modern name.

In the early 20th century, Longines cemented its reputation as a premier provider of timing equipment for various international sporting events, including the Olympics, equestrian competitions, and aviation milestones. This association with sports bolstered Longines’ prestige and global standing.

Throughout the mid-20th century, Longines continued its tradition of innovation, introducing collections such as the Longines Conquest and Flagship. The brand also played a pivotal role in advancing quartz technology, notably with the launch of the Ultra-Quartz in 1969, one of the pioneering quartz watches of its time.

Longines calibre 6952

The Longines 6952 watch movement has 17 jewels and features a Spirofin micrometer regulator. It offers several functions, including manual winding, sweep seconds, a quickset date feature, KIF shock protection and a hack feature.  This unique hack feature triggers once the crown is pulled, the movement will continue to run until the second hand reaches the 12 marker when the hand stops so that the watch can always be set from zero seconds. This movement was in use during the period of circa 1971 to 1977. The movement is 12.5 ‴ lignes (28 mm) in diameter and has a power reserve of 40 hours. The movement was used in several Longines collections including the Admiral, the Conquest and the Flagship.

Longines 6952 calibre.
Longines 6952 calibre. © The Vintage Wrist Watch Company.

The time is initially set by pulling the crown out to the second position and adjusting as necessary.
This particular watch has had the quick set date function disabled at some point. The date is therefore initially set by pulling the crown out to the second position and winding the hands forwards until the desired date is reached. It is a shame this feature is disabled. The quickset function allows you to set the date in seconds rather than minutes. The service history is unknown.

KIF shock protection

KIF is an anti-shock system made by KIF Parechoc, SA. The company was founded in 1944 and is headquartered in Vallée-de-Joux, Switzerland. KIF is a removable Swiss made shock absorber found in a wide range of watches and was most notably used in Rolex watches until they invented their own system. Shock absorbers are crucial for protecting the delicate components of the balance wheel. The Kif Ultra-Flex ensures that the watch continues to work even when subjected to sudden impacts. It works similarly to the more common Incabloc shock protection system.

Tropical dial

The signed dial has a striking tropical dial. Even though it has a mottled pattern, overall it has an even tropical finish. I am not a massive fan of tropical dials. However, over several days of researching this particular vintage watch, the pattern did start to appeal.

Tropical watch dials are a polarising phenomenon in the world of vintage watches. They appeal to some collectors, but not to others. The term refers to dials that have aged and discoloured over time due to various environmental factors. This results in a unique and often sought-after appearance. The term “tropical” is derived from the tropical climates where many of these dials were originally worn and exposed to high humidity and sunlight, accelerating the ageing process.

Tropical dials are often characterised by unique colour variations ranging from warm brown tones to deep caramel or even chocolate hues. While some collectors prefer the pristine appearance of well-preserved dials, others appreciate the character and history reflected in tropical dials. The rarity and uniqueness of tropical dials can also add to their appeal among collectors. Tropical dials often command higher prices in the vintage watch market.


The watch case measures 34mm in diameter excluding the winding crown and the lugs. The gold-plated case is in good condition with just the odd small mark but nothing serious at all. The stainless steel case back is signed inside with the Longines wings logo. It has the original signed Longines winding crown although some wear to the gold plate. A new leather strap has been fitted with a plain, non-original buckle.


It is a striking watch. Although I’m not a fan of tropical dials, it did start to appeal to me after a week of research. Wearing this vintage watch would certainly be eye-catching and would no doubt draw attention. The Longines calibre 6592 calibre is certainly a movement of high quality, although reasonably rare in the market. The zero seconds hacking feature is something that I would have thought would be game changing. I’m surprised it hasn’t been widely replicated.

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