Sector Dial 2326 Longines Calibre 12.68z

Watches really don’t have to be new, expensive, or complicated to be interesting. This is a Longines from 1938 with an exceptionally lovely sector dial. It might look like a famous Sei or Tre Tacche, but no, this is a snap-back with a flat bezel that goes by the reference 2326. Aesthetically, it is a complete smokeshow. Hundreds of different manufactures have been inspired by this style of dial in the last few years, we see endless recreations of clean sector dials (almost daily it seems). But the honesty of an original remains unparalleled.

The same could be said of the Patek 96, which those with a keen eye will already be noting, looks pretty similar. They’re comparably sized around 33mm. The Longines is just lesser known and lesser studied, mostly because it isn’t a Patek Philippe. Most of the ink that’s been spilled about the ref. 2326 is about a production nicknamed the ‘Serbian’, which was engraved and printed with a crest on dial and were given by the Serbian king to graduate officers of military academies. But occasionally you’ll see great examples appear at auction of regular production 2326, and it’s always a wildcard depending on the dial and condition.

You just don’t get to see Longines calibre 12.68z ‘lowercase-c’ calatravas very much at all in great condition. They’re rare mostly because of how few survived, but despite that they’re also not unobtainable. A standard dial can be as low as 1000 USD, while this sector dial will be 5-6 times that and a perfect Serbian might fetch upwards of 30K today. Vintage Longines is a lovely place to get obsessed, and while the Serbian, Sommatore, OG Legend Diver, or 13ZN are probably out of many collector’s grasp now, there are gorgeous time-only watches well within reason and doubly so of early 40s stuff. If true vintage, slightly smaller cases, and classic dials pique your interest, start learning about 12.68z Longines.

This example is in excellent condition. The dial is unrestored with alight and even patina that’s probably only possible because the whole dial was non-luminous to start. The original blued steel hands have survived well too. It comes on a Gay Frères Bamboo bracelet, which fits, recently serviced and running well. It comes from a well-regarded Spanish retailer with Extract of Archive, amazingly.