The Longines Heritage 1918 is the concrete proof of the rich history of the St. Imier maison. In this specific case, Longines have presented us with something unexpected by taking inspiration from the very roots of early chronographs, the same successful concept that was behind the Column Wheel Single Push Piece Chrono with its Roman numbers.
This “re-edition” operation takes place during a year, when many well-known brands are making sure that they are bringing back to life their historic collections, mainly because of the newly born interest in classicism and slightly smaller dimensions after the “millimeters overdose” that dominated the last 10 years. The Longines Heritage 1918 is the result of this new concept and draws also inspiration from the pocket watches' dial style of the early 20th century.
The case of this timepiece is 41mm in size and it sports the same dial as the first wrist watches with big Arabic numerals painted in a honey colour on a laqueredwhite background. If we consider the fact that the year 2015 terminated with the launch of three new single push piece chronographs with two counters and a 41mm-case, there is a high chance that we will witness the same figure appearing quite often in the very near future.
The transition from pocket watch to wrist watch and the classic look can be observed in the curved wirelugs that, at the time, used to be welded to one side of the case and then connected on the other side to a leather strap crafted in the same colour as the Arabic numerals. This is one of those topics that always create discussions and different opinions among fans but it is clear that if a brand aims at recreating one of their original models sporting this type of lugs, it obviously needs to feature them on the new model too so as to maintain the same original style.
If someone from the year 1918 were here today to check whether this is a faithful reproduction of an original Longines model, the only thing that would betray this timepiece's modern look is its window for the small date located at 6 o'clock. If all brands keep maintaining that particular window on the dial of their timepieces, it is crystal clear that many of their customers consider it necessary, but it also means that this type of watch is forced to give up a bit of its purity. Take a look at the first version of the Longines Legend Diver with no date and the second version; it is exactly the same watch, the only difference is that small window on the dial. Longines have preserved every single original feature, including the beautiful historic logo in Italic that is elegantly appearing on the polished case back and on the dial.
The movement of the Longines Heritage 1918 is an automatic one, the ETA2985/2 caliber (or L615 caliber) hosted inside the case it guarantees up to 42 hours of power reserve. This version has been specifically crafted for Longinges by ETA that is now producing exclusively for the companies belonging to the same group. The woman version sports sixty 1-carat-Top-Wesselton-diamonds that have been inserted inside the bezel and the size of the case has been reduced to 38,5mm.
The Longines Heritage 1918 is the most "extreme" interpretation of an Heritage timepiece and it is perhaps the beginning of a new line featuring models with a more accentuated vintage flavour in search of an extreme degree of simplicity, I really hope that Longines will soon add to this new line the complication that we are most familiary with; the single push piece chrono.
(Photo credit: Horbiter's proprietary photo-shooting by Entropik)