Longines Heritage Military Marine Nationale
In our freshly introduced Military Watches' column, we detailed the timepieces adopted during WWI and WW2. During World War II, Longines played a key role. Its name is associated with the bunch of watch manufacturers listed under the "Dirty Dozen" moniker, whose military production totaled an outstanding 140,000+ pieces. Longines' historical pedigree among tool and military watches is impressive, ranging from Lindbergh and Weems tested wristwatches to large supplies to military corps, like the French Marine Nationale, for instance.
The Longines Military Marine Nationale appeared during the mid-twentieth century; it measured a tiny 33,5mm, across, and housed the exquisite Longines 12.86N hand-wound caliber, whose "Z" variant equipped the Dirty Dozen made Longines, back then. The wristwatch cited above is the source of inspiration to the Longines Heritage Military Marine Nationale. It is another excellent example of how rich the brand's archives are and proof positive of a brilliant marketing strategy aimed at re-issuing products mimicking the original ones while featuring modern specs. It is another great addition to the Heritage collection, like the Longines Heritage Classic Chronograph 1946, for example.
The dial stands out thanks to the original logo, whose "Longines - FAB. SUISSE" is an abbreviation for "Fabrication Suisse." I love how designers paired blue hands and vintage cream dial, covered by a slightly domed sapphire crystal, a not-to-be-missed choice from a robustness point of view, although most vintage Longines die-hard fans would prefer a plexiglass option.
I somewhat disagree with the Longines' logo branding on the big crown instead and, to a certain extent, with the brand opting for an automatic caliber despite appreciating the Longines L888.5, whose silicon balance spring and 64 hours of maximum power reserve make it an excellent option for a vintage-inspired yet modern three-hander. Instead, I'd like to see the brand enlarge this specific product portfolio by adding a Limited Edition hand-wind offering alongside the standard version. It would appeal to those purists who're looking for the original Marine Nationale's perfect modern sibling.
On the watch's case back, Longines designers added the timepiece's full name, replacing the laconic "MN" initials you'll find on the original version. The case is paired with a beautiful cognac leather strap with a pin buckle, which can be easily swapped thanks to the lugs' holes, another great tribute to the vintage watches.
Priced right under the 2,000 Euro threshold, the Longines Heritage Military Marine Nationale offers a perfect size, a military "touch and feel," good specs, and, finally, is a great deal. I believe it is a stunning "value proposition" capable of offering a true story, a reasonable unisex size, a strong brand, technical refinement, and, all in all, a smart price during such hard times. I hope someone at St.Imier would listen to my suggestions too.
(Photo credit: courtesy of Longines)
Gaetano C @Horbiter®