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Longines watches have references numbers of the following form Lv.w.x.y.z, for example L2.715.4.71.3. Knowing a bit about these references numbers and what they mean can help in deciphering differences between watches or making an educated guess about an unseen watch.

v = category/class???

w = model

x = case material

y = dial

z = bracelet/strap

Some examples to start showing how we can put it all together would be good. Lets start with a smallish line, the HydroConquest range.

L3.644.4.56.2
L3.644.4.56.6

As you can see, these watches are identical except for the strap and bracelet. And it you look at the reference number the only thing that has changed is the "z" position in the reference. So, we can assume that:
2 = rubber strap
6 = stainless steel bracelet

The next example is taken from the Admiral line.

L3.669.4.06.7​
L3.669.4.56.7​

What has changed here is the dial and bezel colour. We can see that the grey dial is 06 and the black is 56, and if you look up to the previous HydoConquest we can indeed see that both of those black dialled watches have 56 in the dial colour position which fits in with what we leaned here. Now don't ask about what will happen if the bezel and dial don't match, I haven't figured that one out yet.

You will also notice that they both have similar bracelets, stainless steel with ceramic centre links, and matching digits in the bracelet field of the reference number. So a 7 seems to indicate the SS bracelet with ceramic centre links, but makes no difference between the grey and the black.

The next example is taken from the Evidenza line.

L2.643.4.73.4​
L2.643.8.73.4​

Here we see two watches that are the same except for the case material, one being gold and the other stainless steel. And we can see that only difference between the reference numbers is in the "x" position. From this we can assume that:
4 = stainless steel, and
8 = gold
And indeed when we look at the previous Admiral and HydroConquest models they are all stainless steel and all have a 4 in the "x" position.

The only thing left to figure out is what the "v" position represents. From the website I have found the following associations:
L5 - DolceVita
L8 - PrimaLuna
L4 - Les Grandes Classiques de Longines
L2 - The Longines Master Collection, Evidenza & Conquest
L3 - HydroConquest, Conquest & Admiral

These are just the ones from the website, so others not listed on their website are not listed here.

So there you have it, how to decode the reference numbers. I haven't gone through and tried to document all possibilities for each of them. Perhaps at a later date I can try and get some case material and strap info up.
 

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For extra information about your VINTAGE Longines watch, go to the Longines website here, become a 'member' (dont worry, they wont spam you) and use the "Contact Us" link to send them an email with the serial number from your watch movement and politely ask for the history of that movement. Pictures are very helpful but not required. Longines has kept nearly all of their records and are quite accommodating in this regard.
 
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