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watches/not/gp: Longines Ultra-Chron 7828-1 (and 7827)

Getting finally back into some writing, I want to look at a recent addition to the collection, the Longines Ultra-Chron 7828-1 in rose gold. It is entering my collection along my first Longines Ultra-Chron, the 7827 in steel. What made me pick another Ultra-Chron then?

High Frequency movement at 36000 vph

If you like vintage Girard-Perregaux, then a high frequency movement is no stranger. The famous Caliber 32A was one of the first automatic high-frequency calibers that went into serial production. I am fascinated with those HF movements, for one the ticking sound is very different and the sweep seconds hand almost moves completely smooth. There is a lot of good argument for higher precision of a balance swinging at 5 Hz, although most modern calibers nowadays settled at 4 Hz and achieve excellent accuracy. But we are talking here about the 1960s, a time before CNC machinery, making accurate watches at that time was a much bigger challenge.

Taking the frequency up to 36000 vph was a logical move. The key challenges faced were more around a practical power reserve and reliability. The Longines Ultra-Chron Caliber 431 is quite a beauty. It’s a Longines development rather than a modified caliber, a time and date high-frequency movement. Although it has no official Chronometer certification, it still excels in accuracy. Remember the industry was shaken up at that time with the upcoming Quartz technology and Chronometer certifications went through a transition at that time.

The lovely dials

The Dial of the 7828 is very similar to my other Ultra-Chron 7827, almost as close as the numbers suggest. It has quite a few lovely details I admire much. The applied logo and high-frequency symbol along with the carefully designed indexes bring a lot of light play on the dial. Of course, there is the sunburst silver finishing and I’m a big fan of cross-hair dials, so a lot of boxes ticked.

The case and in particular those wide lugs

The case is a classic round with approx. 35mm diameter, just the right size for this vintage watch. What Longines did different than most is the sunburst polishing of the bezel and matte polishing of lugs and case portions. It takes away some shine which is welcome but also means you really need to find an unpolished case of this 50+ year old watch. Luckily, it seems owners of Ultra-Chron’s have taken good care of their watches.

While the 7827 has some classic small angled lugs, the 7828-1 comes with very wide and bold lugs. They really give the watch its own character. For me, this was one of the key features that made me want to have this version as well. There is an interesting profile of the lugs as well and you can imagine the time and effort that went into the design process at that time. Something I really admire about this kind of vintage watches.

It’s Rose Gold!

Lastly, a word about the gold case of the 7828-1. It was advertised as yellow gold when I bought it. But the moment I unpacked, it was clear that it was not yellow but rose gold. Modern coloured gold watches are now mostly rose gold while yellow gold has gone a bit out of fashion. In the 60s it was the other way around and finding a nice rose gold vintage watch is much harder than yellow gold. So I was very pleased to see the case was in rose gold.

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