Most everyone who is interested in this piece has probably watched and read every review they can get their hands on. So up front, let me say, this review is not for those looking for details on the specifications of this watch, which are impressive in their own right. Longines has come out like gangbusters this year with the Spirit line for which the Zulu Time is a worthy addition at the entry level luxury price point at around $3000 USD. So we'll just stipulate that quality is not something that needs to be measured with this true travelers GMT if you are thinking about plunking down your hard earned sovereigns to add it to your collection.
This boils down to the next criteria after quality; wearability, visual enjoyment, and feel. That is our focus today kids and I will fill it in with pictures and my take on the wearing experience. If you need a bit of a background on specs though, let me recommend Teddy Baldassare's excellent coverage on that front here with the added benefit of doing a head-to-head against the Tudor Black Bay GMT. The Tudor was my personal alternative if I hadn't purchased this stunner.
Fun fact before going into the review: For the non-military or map reader among us, when the universal time coordinated (UTC) system was devised the world was divided into 24 time zones. Most militaries have adopted the letter designator for the time zones as well. "Z" (phonetic alphabet Zulu) corresponds to the zone centered on Greenwich, England. Questions answered: 1-0
The watch comes in a handsome dark stained wood box with cream colored interior. Included is a 40 or so page book on the history of Longines in flight, exploration, and high performance sports. Some interesting tidbits on how Longines shaped the history of flight as a precision time keeping and navigation instrument. It's a feast for the eyes at the start.
I purchased my watch on the leather strap with the folding quick adjust clasp. The clasp, when closed, allows you to press the release, but rather than open the mechanism, you can use it to slide approximately 4mm to loosen or tighten the strap on the fly. There is a similar system with Formex as well. If I have one solid criticism of the Zulu Time, unlike the Formex, it is that the bracelet is really not that great despite the quick release system. The link adjustment is push pins. The clasp has no quick extension and only three holes of micro-adjustment. I think the clasp system (on the handsome brown leather strap that comes with my green bezel version) is a better engineered product. Putting the strap holes into the two metal studs was as easy as fitting a NATO.
The fit on my 6 1/4 in wrist was easy to achieve in less than a minute of wear. This has been a pretty big issue with the Spirit series with complaints that the 42mm width and the 49.3mm lug-to-lug may not be suitable for the smaller or more slender wristed among us. I'll say, that based on my wearing this and my Mido Ocean Star GMT, that I'm probably pushing the lower limit of what size wrist should be considered for this GMT. However, in comparison, my Tudor Black Bay Heritage 41mm has a similar fit to this watch, but the Zulu Time is noticeably lighter. After the wrist shots, I've included a photo comparison of my Sinn 103 (41mm w/ 47.5 l2l) and my Sieko SNA411P1 Flightmaster (41mm w/ 44mm l2l) to give a better sense of the case.
In the visual interest category, the dial of this watch is endlessly fascinating. This green bezel is lustrous and amazing in the light. The gray matte dial is subtle. The luminous numerals, diamond markers beside the numerals, and hands have a beautiful blue hue from the Super Lumi-Nova. The gilt elements of the dial are a nice touch of refinement without seeming fragile or too precious in the pilot/sports aesthetic of this watch. Frankly, there is always something to discover when staring at this dial. The ceramic insert on the steel bezel feels very light and seems a bit thin but is easy to grip and ratchets smoothly for 24 clicks. I have to say, I prefer a 48 click bezel since I've been in local time zones that are 1/2hour offsets, but this is suitable for most every other location you'd like to track a second or third time zone. Lastly, the crown is a really easy to grip screw down for 100 meters of water resistance. For the Tudor Black Bay owners among us, the winding action of this crown is very similar to the silky smooth feel of one of those MT movements.
In that regard, no watch is truly mine until I've added new strap options. This watch has so much depth that different strap colors really set this off. The 22mm lug width makes this easy to find exactly what your looking for. Here I've got it featured on a Zulu Diver tropical quick release and a Hydrorib line. No drilled lugs here and you'll need to have your own 22mm spring bars since all of the stock strap and bracelet options are quick release.
For me, this watch has ticked every box for a GMT and is great wearing piece. It is beautiful to look at, fun to play with, and easy to wear even on my smaller wrist. I think ID Guy provided a much more poetic assessment, so I'll add his summary as well for your viewing pleasure
Emerging watch enthusiast. I know just enough to be dangerous to my bank account. Small town kid, joined the military, stuck with it for 21 years, stayed in defense. Greater DC area.