Steel Longines Ref. 21709 vintage wristwatch, circa 1942
A rare mid-size stainless steel manually wound wristwatch with copper coloured dial
The distinctive steel case of this wristwatch, with thick sides and unusual twin stepped flat bezel, was a design that Longines incorporated into a few different models in the late 1930s and early 1940s, these included ‘time-only’ and chronograph models. Despite its modest size (31mm diameter), the thickness and solidity of the case create a bold look and give the watch a surprising weight. The outside case back is stamped with the watch’s serial and reference numbers and is also engraved with the initials V.W.G. and a personalised number: 1795257 which is separated from the initials by a linear motif.
The dial is heavily oxidised but has a very attractive and rare copper coloured tone as well as bold black Arabic numerals, a finely engine-turned subsidiary seconds dial and blued steel hands.
The present reference 21709 is very similar in design to the larger Longines reference 21764. Examples of the 21764 are illustrated in John Goldberger’s excellent book “Longines Watches” published by Damiani in 2006, see pp.114-115 & 116-117 [this book is available from Black Bough]. It is interesting to compare the two published watches with the present Ref. 21709. Interestingly the Ref. 21764 published on pages 114-115 of the aforementioned book, is also dated to 1942, the same year as the present watch. The styling of the case and crown of the 21709 and 21764 is almost identical to one another, albeit on a different scale, and the outside case backs share the same shaped cut-outs for removal of the case back and are engraved with their reference and serial numbers in the same formation. Unlike the 21764, however, the lugs of the 21709 have fixed bars rather than spring bars. The “Longines signatures” and “Acier Inox” stamps to the inside case backs are the same in both the 21709 and 21764. This Ref. 21709 uses the Longines calibre 10.68Z whilst the Ref. 21764 used the larger but identically styled calibre 12.68Z.
It is also interesting to compare the present watch with a slightly earlier model, the Longines Ref. 2443 an example of which was sold by Black Bough and can be seen here: https://www.blackbough.co.uk/product/longines-ref-2443-retailed-by-t-s-cuthbert-glasgow-steel-vintage-wristwatch-circa-1939-wwlas1/ The present 21709 is a fraction larger than the 2443, having a case diameter 1mm larger, overall length 2mm greater and a 1mm increase in lug gauge.
Longines calibre 10.68Z manually wound movement, lever escapement, 15 jewels, compensation balance, 18,000 BPH; copper coloured dial, black Arabic numerals, outer black minute track, finely engine-turned subsidiary seconds, blued steel baton hands; satin finished stainless steel two-piece case, thick upper body with twin stepped flat bezel, down-turned lugs with fixed bars, screw-down case back; case, dial and movement signed.
Diameter excluding winding crown: 31mm
Length including lugs: 39mm
Depth to centre of crystal: 11mm
Strap width/lug gauge: 15mm
All Black Bough watches have been fully serviced and overhauled and are sold with a one year guarantee and detailed Black Bough certificate. This watch is accompanied by a Black Bough fitted presentation box.