The Longines Heritage Legend Diver
The best selling timepiece from the Heritage collection
During my first hands on review of a Longines timepiece I should have written, to be honest, about the Longines Heritage Single Push-Piece Chrono, for I fell in love with this watch at first sight as soon as I saw the first press clippings from Longines. I have to admit, however, that the Heritage collection evokes so much the history of the brand it is hard sometimes to decide where to begin.
Among all the timepieces from the Heritage collection, the Longines Heritage Legend Diver has never been at the top of my wish list, I've quite often opted for the 47mm wide Longines pilot's watches but, in recent times, I admit I was mistaken. When you approach hands on with a watch, you wrap it around your wrist, you try it, get in touch with its history and discover it had a famous forerunner 50 years ago, you are likely to change your perspective.
The Longines Heritage Legend Diver is not a marketing scheme: all the models from this collection come in as a re-issue of timepieces that marked the history of Longines. If you compare it with other watches from this collection you discover that it does not feature that same familiar feeling and that's not by chance as it is the almost perfect re-edition of the Legend Diver from the sixties, which you can see from these pictures, included the 42mm wide case, quite an uncommon case size in the 60s, though very common today.
The fact that an original Legend Diver is offered at such a high price on the pre-owned market is proof that it's a collector's item. Apart from its case size, that is not too big if we take a look at today's wristwatches, it was indeed in the 60s, its thickness is just 13mm therefore you wear it more or less as you're wearing your everyday one year old leather motorcycle gloves.
The crystal is curved just as in the original but it is a sapphire with many layers of anti-reflective treatment on the inside. Just a note: most people prefer an hesalite crystal when it comes to re-edit a vintage watch but I do not agree otherwise we should call it a replica: the beauty and appeal of a nice sapphire crystal are unrivaled and let you fully appreciate the lacquered black dial. Dials are among Longines' pluses: they are neat, with no frills and no lettering here and there you can get rid of for an everyday use. In case of, Longines usually collects all the tech features on the case back.
Speaking of the case back, I may assert this is one of the most appealing I have ever seen. It does not boast those weird hollows that flatten the case back design of most timepieces out there but, viceversa, a solid case back with a dodecagonal screwing. This kind of casing is quite unusual in watchmaking and usually refers to the so called “Super Compressor” casing, patented many years ago by Ervin Piquerez S.A., a company specialized in dive watch case making. A Super Compressor geometry helps the sealing as the increase in water pressure lets the case back push against the O-Ring seal, thus enhancing water resistance.
I did not open the case back nor asked Longines to do so and, since there are many technologies available today, I can't be sure this timepiece adopts a Super Compressor case back; it is a nice way, regardless, to evoke the original divers watches. On the right hand side of the case there are two crowns, one at 4 for setting hour and date, the other one, at 2, operates the inner rotating bezel. The original caliber 290 has been replaced by a 2824-2 coded internally as L633, a robust and precise movement provided by the official supplier to the Swatch Group: ETA.
The Longines Heritage Legend Diver is authentic, sober and very comfortable and this is due partly to its synthetic strap with tang buckle (it also comes on a rubber strap). It is that kind of watch that, thanks to its neat and vintage design, would be perfect on a leather NATO strap, hopefully provided by Longines! Its price, at 1610€, is very competitive and even more so when I think that, double its price tag, many brands often offer watches that have the same features, are boosted by strong ad campaigns while having no appeal at all or half the appeal of a Legend Diver.
(Photo credit: forum.tz-uk.com;shotsofthoughts.blogspot.it; Horbiter®'s proprietary photo-shooting)
Gaetano C. @Horbiter®