Auro Montanari once stated in a Phillips interview some years ago that he mainly collects five houses: Omega, Longines, Cartier, Patek Philippe and Rolex. I am certain there are exceptions, for example I’ve seen his Universals in other media, but when pressed those five came to mind. If one needed endorsement as a collector to consider vintage Longines, I’m not sure there’s any wiser counsel. Although mostly known for horse racing sponsorships and a few vintage reissues today, Longines were once amongst the very heights of watchmaking with things like the 13ZN, WWII aviation chronos, and the 7150 Super Compressor. This overlooked Sommatore hails from that era where the marque were making history, rather than leaning on it.
The Sommatore (Italian for ‘adder’ or more literally ‘one who sums’), also known as the Doppia Lancetta, was a 13ZN chronograph derivative with one alteration: the addition of a centrally mounted chronograph minute hand. This design solved the cluttered triple register dial problem and lost none of the functionality in the process. The altered 13ZN movement was cased in an oversized 39mm steel affair with early waterproof construction.
Sommatores were produced for just two years from 1945 until 1947, making them one of Longines’ scarcest (and most nuanced) productions. It is thought by most collectors that around 250 examples have ever existed.
It should be noted very clearly that this example is a refinished dial, and the seller has done an excellent job of making that clear. I strive here to feature the best of the entire market and despite the fact that this is not a perfectly original example, the Sommatore is rare and interesting enough that I felt it deserves inclusion. This is a watch close to my heart as a bit of a movement nerd. Steel examples are not common. Otherwise, the case is relatively full but has definitely seen a polish. The handset is still holding full lume, with honest patina on applications. The watch is priced with the dial work in mind. It comes from a well-regarded retailer out of Berlin.
Find this 5699 Sommatore here from Shuck The Oyster for 22500 EUR.