Originally released in 2009, the Longines Column-Wheel Chronograph has been updated for 2011. It still features the same Longines exclusive (ETA built column-wheel chronograph movement) calibre L688.2. The design is even almost identical, however, there are a few key differences between the 2009 and 2011 models. Previously the hands were gold-plated, and now they are made of polished steel. The case diameter was reduced from 40 mm to 39 mm. And an 18K solid rose gold case is now an option. Plus, there are two new limited edition pieces – Longines Column-Wheel Chronograph Record.
Functions include a small seconds subdial (at 9 o’clock), a 30-minute continuous action counter (at 3 o’clock) and a 12-hour continuous action counter (at 6 o’clock). A date indicator sits in between the 4 and 5 o’clock indexes.
The stainless steel version (shown) and the rose gold version, come in fully polished cases and include a soft leather strap with a pin and buckle, in either brown or black. Depending on the particular model, the dial is either black or off white (cream). The hands and indices are made of polished steel. Water-resistance is 30 meters.
As with the original model, the most appealing feature is the blued steel column-wheel. Instead of a cam and lever, a column-wheel controls chronograph functions (start, stop, reset). The result, is a much smoother actuation of the chronograph (not as good as a the column-wheel mechanism is a Lange Datograph, but still significantly smoother than the cam and lever based Valjoux 7750). The caseback is see-through, so you can it’s easy to admire the nicely decorated movement. The rotor is finished with Geneva strips and the mainplate is finished with circular graining.