The Longines Heritage 1969 - At the Mirror
Next Monday, I will visit St.Imier’s museum, where those timepieces that have made Longines’s history are hosted, some of these watches have actually inspired the current Heritage collections. On that occasion, I will have the chance to see with my own eyes the model that inspired the new Longines Heritage 1969, time-wise, this is the last classic timepiece that graces the Heritage collection (if we not consider the just released Heritage Military), a constant presence in our magazine. The Longines Heritage 1969 is the modern re-edition of a similar model that Longines launched in 1969 – hence the reference number – I haven’t visited St.Imier’s museum yet and I haven’t even taken a quick look at the original reference on Google, but despite that, I can definitely feel that this timepiece is the almost perfect re-edition of the original model.
A few years ago, Longines started a process that involves bringing back to life its historic collections, this process is now in full swing and if you take a look at all the novelties that were launched in 2016, it is pretty clear that the brand is aiming at creating collections that can please the taste of both their female and male clientele or, by anticipating a current trend, it is moving towards an overall size reduction of its timepieces.
Both the 2016-released Longines Heritage 1918 and the Longines RailRoad 888 reinforce this new trend that is naturally associated to models that, from a technical point of view, aren’t exactly complicated and that tend to be three-hands-timepieces. The Longines Heritage 1969 comes with a cushion-shaped case that represents an absolute novelty in the modern Longines collection. This is a single-block-case measuring 36mm by 36mm and crafted in stainless steel, the original model, on the other hand, featured two different versions; one sporting a gold-plated case and one entirely made of 18-carat-gold.
The dial is the quintessence of the term “vintage”; brushed silver with applied pink indices and pink hands. The indices feature a chamfer accentuated towards the middle of the dial and they are extremely thin, this is a type of design that takes the width of the dial to its max and makes it easier to read it by still sticking to the current size of the case.
The designers inserted the date window at 4:30, a choice that watch brands consider a necessity – the date window actually featured on the original model too – but that doesn’t fully convince me. The positioning of the date window between 4 o’clock and 5 o’clock is definitely the best option available and it is entirely in line with the spirit of this timepiece’s predecessor. From a visual point of view, this positioning tends not to break the dial’s symmetry – something that typically occurs when you give up the index located at 3 o’clock – nevertheless, I am always curious as to how this dial looked like if that window didn’t exist altogether.
Moving to the “box-shaped” sapphire crystal now: it suits perfectly well a timepiece with such a case. The edges are exceptionally curved while the central part is flat, this is the element that gives most of its vintage look and feel to the Longines Heritage 1969. The anti-scratch property is coupled with the typical style of plastic-made or hesalite-made glasses from the past, something that is quite obvious when you look at this timepiece from above and from a three-quarter angle, a position where the edge forms an unusual distortion of the image and you can see the curved indices.
The Longines Heritage 1969 is equipped with caliber L888.2 that guarantees up to 64 hours of power reserve that ETA crafts in-house exclusively for the manufacturer with the winged hourglass as its logo. The watch retails at 1,720 euro and it is a compact mix between vintage flavor – good to note that this timepiece fits perfectly well even a generous wrist – that the brand expresses with a disarming simplicity and quite naturally, and between not-so-common mechanical features. The 64 hours of power reserve don’t represent a random figure but they are rather the result of the constant development of current calibers, whose performance has been enhanced. If it is true that you purchase a timepiece with your heart - and you always purchase a Longines Heritage 1969 with your heart - it is also true that, when you start using this watch on a daily basis, you will realize that there is nothing vintage about it and it is quite normal that it should be that way.
(Photo credit: Horbiter's proprietary photo-shooting)