The Longines Legend Diver Watch Bronze hands-on
Most watch brands boast a hero product in their portfolio, a timepiece whose formula can capture watch aficionados' appreciation and stand the test of time. Compared to industries like the automotive one, where a new car model draws inspiration from the past, the watch industry is commonly synonymous with reissue and evolution rather than revolution. The market is crowded with reissues, but the The Longines Legend Diver Watch is an excellent example of how a historical piece has turned into a hot seller while preserving DNA and core design values.
The Longines Legend Diver Watch Bronze is the most recent release of one of Longines' best-selling models, as long as the Heritage collection concerns. It won't outperform the top-selling Hydroconquest. The modern Legend Diver was a trendsetter when it first came out: the hype surrounding vintage timepieces is nowadays crazy, and the rush to craft the ultimate reissue, which includes plenty of diving watches, has quickly filled a new class of products. Here is the Longines' template: a no-frills diving watch with an inner rotating bezel, two crowns, uncluttered dial, straight lugs, and a "Super Compressor" sealing-like case. In summary, the modern proposition just turned tool-watch specs into core design traits.
The original reference (there are quite a few) is fetching premium market prices of as much as ten thousand euros and above, and The Longines Legend Diver Watch Bronze aims at being as aspirational as the original Legend Diver is to the most demanding watch connoisseur. However, the new model is exploiting uncharted territories, given the new bronze case. It proves, first and foremost, that the Legend Diver was far from achieving full potential; also, I think it is a means to move the brand upmarket, avoiding any overlap with Omega, whose price point has concurrently grown too. Thus, the bronze case (with a titanium case back) is just a tiny piece of a larger project.
Longines is late in making a bronze watch, in any case. The bronze watch trend is not over, but a bronze watch is no longer breaking news. With the Titanium Big Avigation the Legend Diver's new smoky blue and brown dials, and with The Longines Legend Diver Watch Bronze, Longines is somewhat shaking things up and refreshing its brand image. A no date window dial proves how relevant the Voice of Customer is when crafting pieces belonging to the Heritage collection. In contrast, a brown smoked dial adds a nice contrast and vivid look to an otherwise flat and black dial you usually find on an ordinary Legend Diver in steel.
I would have gone for a 40 mm large case and smaller crowns, honestly. I think they protrude too much, and a smaller case would hopefully enlarge the fan base in this specific class of products. I guess that product marketing at Longines were afraid of affecting a timepiece whose 42 mm case is mainstream and successful. What kind of patina would you expect on a Legend Diver Watch Bronze? It is a hot topic when you decide to add a bronze watch to your collection.
As far as the oxidation process concerns, I assume it is going to age on the likes of a Black Bay Bronze, which I think it's a timepiece Longines chose to benchmark the Legend Diver Watch Bronze against; yet the Longines costs 30% less, approximate, like for like (they offer comparable specifications). You can opt for a leather strap or a nylon replacement strap as standard; you won't, therefore, bring The Longines Legend Diver Watch Bronze underwater, it seems.
The Longines Legend Diver Watch Bronze retails for 2820 Euros, thus far exceeding the 2000 Euros threshold, which is the average price you'd pay for a steel Legend Diver. The new Bronze is, without a doubt, the talking piece of the collection and an "average price extender" approaching the 3000 thousand Euros, a first-ever for a Legend Diver (Gold Legend Diver excluded).
With this addition, Longines equally aims at top spenders and newcomers looking for a Longines-branded bronze watch, whose add on is a five-year warranty rather than the L888.5 calibre istelf, which is a sturdy mechanical movement but offers standard specification across the Group and out.
(Photo credit: Marco Antinori for Horbiter®)
Gaetano C @Horbiter®
Product Specifications The Longines Legend Diver Watch Bronze
Case: Bronze case with bronze and titanium case back, 42,00 millimeters large and 12,70 millimeters thick
Dial: Smoked Green
Movement: Caliber L888, self-winding and with a 72 hours of power reserve
Bracelet: leather strap and green NATO-like replacement strap
Availability: not limited
Price: EUR 2820.00