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Tried & Tested: Thomas Earnshaw Longitude ES-8803-02

By Cameron Martel


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It’s One of the Most Eye-Catching Watches to Come Across My Desk Yet

Words/Photography: Me. Model: Bryce McD. Thomas Earnshaw provided this watch at no-cost for the purpose of this review/shoot. Please read more about our review policies.

When it comes to marketing and brand awareness, Thomas Earnshaw is on a tear. They are hitting up influencers left and right to chat about their latest watches. I’ve reviewed two other Thomas Earnshaw watches recently: the Precisto Bauer Fumee and Lady Australis. Experiences have been mixed, but positive overall.

This version of the Longitude is big, bold, and blue. It’s a 42mm dress watch that ships with an attractive open heart and guilloche dial on blue-dyed crocodile-grain leather. It is a very charismatic piece, albeit on the busy side of design, and is guaranteed to grab the attention of anyone in its vicinity.

But it’s not without flaws, and the example I have here has a couple of big ones. The first is its price, which rings in at an incredible £500 MSRP. I’ve found it listed sporadically for around $300, which is much more realistic of a number, but even then it’s hit or miss if you’ll find it at that price. The only place I’ve seen this Longitude found reliably is on Thomas-Earnshaw.com, where you’re paying the whole ticket.

The second flaw is its build quality, which is not up to par given its price. More details on this later in the review.

But enough yammering on- let’s dive in and take a closer look.

Thomas Earnshaw Longitude ES-8803-02 Dial Macro Shot

Thomas Earnshaw Longitude ES-8803-02 Technical Specifications

  • Model Number: ES-8803-02
  • MSRP: £500 / ~ $650
  • Case Diameter: 42mm
  • Alternate Models: Tons of variations
  • Movement: Automatic, TMI NH39
  • Complications: None
  • Power Reserve: Estimated 41 hours
  • Water Resistance: 50m / 165ft
  • Crystal Material: Mineral

Thomas Earnshaw Longitude Buckle

You & Your Friends Will Love This Earnshaw

I have, on average, reviewed 2 watches per month for the past 5 years. My watch review section boasts more than 150 hands-on reviews. Of all of them, this Thomas Earnshaw is the one that has garnered the most unprompted interest to date. It doesn’t matter who sees the watch: once it’s been seen, it’s sure to become the target of a compliment or comment.

People just love it.

They love the complicated dial, which successfully fuses classic guilloche accents with brushed stainless steel plates and hour markers. These contrasting yet complementary elements, combined with the open heart display and day/night subdial, creates one of the most visually interesting dials that most people will have seen on a watch.

The best part is that the watch totally pulls it off in a way that is both sophisticated and boisterous.

Thomas Earnshaw Longitude ES-8803-02 Engraved Case

Take Me Home, Jeeves

Every detail is touched on, loudly.

The case, for example, is engraved on the left side with “EARNSHAW”, and the crown protrudes and stands tall on the right.

The strap, which is as blue as I think you can make a leather strap, is a wide one at 22mm (that tapers to 20mm at the buckle). Speaking of the buckle, it’s a brushed stainless steel unit, made in the shape of an “E”, and engraved with “EARNSHAW”. It looks great.

To the non-watch person, this watch clearly must be an expensive and luxurious timepiece. After all, it uses an automatic movement with an open heart dial and exhibition caseback. To those that don’t follow four, five, or six-figure watch models, this Earnshaw is the real deal.

TMI NH39 Automatic Movement

Except, It Isn’t the Real Deal

For £500 / $650, you’d be right to expect that the watch you’re wearing is made with a quality movement and fitted with quality components. For the Longitude, this is mostly true.

The movement is as TMI-manufactured NH39. TMI – Time Module International – is based in Hong Kong and manufactures movements on behalf of Seiko. This particular movement was most likely manufactured in China.

The Seiko NH39 is accurate to -20/+40 seconds per day, hacks, and hand-winds. It is a basic but overall reliable movement. My collection has a few NH39’s in it, and not one has caused me a problem yet.

But for $650, couldn’t I have got a more accurate or a higher-beat movement?

Thomas Earnshaw Longitude Build Defect

And while I’m at it, couldn’t my $650 have bought me a watch that doesn’t have obvious and egregious gaps in build quality? I took the watch out of its bubble wrapped, polished it with a microfober towel, and then photographed it. The watch had never been worn, and barely even handled, prior to taking the above photo. That defect in the case came with the watch, and honestly, I’m not sure how this watch passed QA.

While I’m Wishing For Things…

I’m also chafed that the Longitude comes with a mineral crystal. Again, considering its price, sapphire is expected. This isn’t a Swiss-made luxury watch being sold at an entry-level pricepoint – if it were, such cost-cutting would be a little more acceptable. But it isn’t. It uses a basic automatic movement and ships with a mineral crystal.

More acceptable at $300, but not acceptable at $650.

Thomas Earnshaw Longitude on the Wrist

Good Looking, Yes, But Not One I’d Recommend

My conclusion is that the Longitude ES-8803-02, while indeed a handsome and eye-catching watch, is simply overpriced considering the gaps in build quality and level of materials used.

How disappointing.

If you are able to find this one for sale at $300 or below, it may be worth a pick up– but if you do grab it, make sure you grab it from a dealer/vendor that offers a warranty that covers manufacturers defects. Mine came with a sizable blemish on the caseback. Frankly, if they’re going to send me one with defects, I imagine that there are others out there in circulation as well.

While not quite as flashy, you can get great-looking open heart watches – such as this Bulova – at a more reasonable $300 – $400. If I wanted to add an open heart watch to my collection, the Bulova is where I’d start looking.

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About Cameron Martel

If it ticks or tocks, I want it on my wrist. I'm a fan of all things that keep good time, and I can't resist a great looking watch. WYCA is my way of appreciating the engineering and artistry that goes into affordable watches. My favorite watch is my Jazzmaster Auto Chrono, and the watch I wear the most is my Weekender Chronograph. I currently have 33 watches in my collection. Learn more about WYCA's Editorial Process.

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