The Longines Heritage Legend Diver Black PVD watch hands-on
Last year, in August, I was spending my holidays in Sardinia and I had a Longines Heritage Legend Diver wrapped around my wrist. It was quite a strange choice considering that, during summer, I usually wear diver's watches with a rubber strap rather than a vintage diver's watch on a Milanese mesh. All in all, it was a great experience because the "Full Steel" Legend Diver by Longines is a perfect everyday watch even if it's not, in my personal opinion, the best choice when it comes to diving. It is no coincidence infact that the most popular version of the Legend Diver actually sports a leather or a rubber strap.
A Milanese mesh-like rubber strap
The Milanese-mesh bracelet is back in fashion and the one Longines has designed, is nicely done and gives the Legend Diver a premium touch and feel. The Heritage Legend Diver is among the Longines Heritage collection's best-selling products (if not the best selling one), thanks to a perfect combination of perfect re-issue, good technical specifications, nice size and good price.
This year, Longines has launched a Full Black PVD coated Legend Diver, equipped with a rubber strap that mimics, on the outside, the same pattern of a Milanese mesh. This option gives the Legend Diver's strap the appearance of a Milanese mesh, but makes it more comfortable to wear.
In doing so, the watch is also far more usable when swimming or diving and the PVD coating provides a scratch proofness to the case that the steel Legend Diver cannot actually guarantee.
The Black PVD coated case
This is the key novelty introduced with the Longines Legend Diver Black PVD - the brand from St.Imier has covered the case with a thin PVD layer to help protect it from scratches and accidental shocks as much as possible. While I had, at Baselworld 2018, the watch in my hands, I was wondering why the brand had not opted for a DLC (Diamond Like Carbon) treatment, which is more refined than any PVD treatment and more resistant to scratches too.
The answer to that question can be possibly found in the will to provide the case with a surface finish that is not too rough, since the DLC treatment is so rough compared to the PVD's one, that it could have potentially "diluted" the vintage feel of the watch, which is what has made a Legend Diver so popular. Moreover, the PVD treatment perfectly matches, in terms of color and tone, the lacquered dial and the case back design.
About the rubber strap
Again, it is not a PVD coated Milanese mesh, it would have otherwise not changed anything if we compare new and current watch (I also assume that engineering a PVD coated Milanese mesh is extremely hard), but rather a rubber strap whose style replicates the pattern of a Milanese mesh.
What I'm not yet fully convinced of is the black-matte gray finish of the strap, since it looks slightly different from the PVD case's finish and that color difference clearly stands out. However, from a usability point of view, the goal of creating something new has been fully achieved.
Big news: caliber L888 replaces caliber L633
The Longines Legend Diver Black PVD is equipped with the new caliber L888, that replaces the caliber L633. Engineers at ETA keep improving the efficiency of their movements and the end result is in this case a caliber capable of providing a 64-hour Power Reserve, almost double the performance provided by caliber L633 (38h), that is currently equipping all the Legend Diver watches.
It is a 68% increase, an incredible improvement over the current caliber and a result that Longines could have in my opinion communicated better, given that it makes a huge difference with the past. It is hard to guess when all the Legend Diver watches will be equipped with the new caliber, but I'm pretty sure that the phase-in/phase-out process has already started.
When did we talk about this caliber? More or less two years ago, when the Longines Railroad 888 officially debuted the new movement and I am sure that it will gradually equip the entire range of all the three-hands timepieces from the Heritage collection. Are you interested in buying the new Longines Heritage Legend Diver Black PVD? You can find it at your nearest Longines retailer at a price that totals 2.050€.
(Photo credit: Horbiter®'s proprietary photo-shooting)
Gaetano C @Horbiter®