3864 Longines Sei Tacche
Through the post WWII era, Longines’ engineering, quality, and design were nearly unrivaled. This era gave us the 13ZN, 12.68Z fly-back, 6630 ‘Swiss Air’, 3592 Type A-7, ‘Tasti a Spillo’, and many other. Among this innovative era were a series of extremely handsome calatrava-styled pieces with restrained aesthetics. The most famed of these are known as the ‘Tre Tacche’ and this ‘Sei Tacche’, so named for the 3 or 6 notches in their screw-down casebacks.
Yes, this is a watch which was among the very first attempts at water resistance and incorporated a screw-down back. Longines pioneered many innovations to keep their movements shock, dust, and water-resistant through their many military contracts. The obvious beauty that this design oozes is something of a byproduct of Longines’ design aims, legibility and longevity. The Tacche watches showed the public how useful a robust steel tool watch could be, a forerunner to the influx that came a decade after. This is the innovation and design philosophy that won a war, applied to a consumer product.
This example, though, is what collectors envy. It’s a 36mm wide-stepped-bezel steel case with its correct jumbo crown. Moreover, this Arabic dial is a very desirable silver ‘gilt’. While gilt often often brings to mind Rolex from the 60s and gold, it is correct to use here also in that it describes a production process. This dial underwent the same galvanic metal process Rolex used for their gold, only here used to deposit the silver we see. This elegance is underscored by a silver leaf-style handset. Tre and Sei Tacches have a small but highly enthusiastic following, I count myself among them. With the immense variation in production, considerable beauty, and technical merit, it’s not difficult to understand why. Oh, and thanks to Longines’ exceptional record keeping, we know this watch was originally sold via Ostersetzer, Longines’ agent in Milan. Yes, it even comes with an extract.
This example is quite well-preserved. Namely, its dial which has clearly visible silver gilt that has not been damaged. There is very light spotting, likely simply from moisture variance over time. Very normal for a watch of this age and not at all concerning, if anything tells us that the dial is unlikely to have been restored. Its case is full, with the stepped bezel not at all rounded over. Same can be said of its lugs. It comes with an extract of archives from a private collector.