Hands-On With The New Longines Legend Diver — Bringing Some Very Welcome Updates
Back in 2007, Longines introduced a re-edition of its famous Diver watch from 1959. The modern version had a Super Compressor-style case to look like its forebear and, at the beginning, featured a no-date dial. In 2008, however, Longines announced a date-equipped model and proceeded to phase out the no-date version over the following years. If you ask me (and many other enthusiasts), that was an unfortunate move, even if it was perhaps more commercially feasible. Thankfully, the no-date Longines Legend Diver is now making a comeback, this time in an incredibly nice 39mm version.
Longines Legend Diver 2023
Whereas the 2007 model was a 42mm watch, the new Longines Legend Diver has a modest 39mm stainless steel case. Interestingly enough, the original Longines Diver from 1959 and its successors had 42mm cases. But 39mm is a great size for this watch, and it seems to be many enthusiasts’ sweet spot these days. Combined with the relatively long lugs, the new Legend Diver will still fit most wrists. The Super Compressor-look case is sleeker than its predecessors, and the dial also has a more flowing design than the 2007 version. The two crowns (for setting the time and operating the internal dive bezel) both screw down to help ensure proper water resistance to 300 meters.
Tribute to the 1959 Longines Diver
I don’t want to compare the two generations too much, especially because it has been a while. However, other than the case size, the new Legend Diver seems to be closer to the original 1959 than the previous version was. And to be honest, after having seen all the generations at Longines HQ, the reference 7042 from 1959 was the most beautiful watch from the vintage lineup. The new Legend Diver pays tribute to that specific reference, which, of course, should not have a date window.
The Longines designers did their homework when it came to the size
Let’s first have a look at the specifications of the new Longines Legend Diver model. To start, there are two different versions, one with a black dial (L3.718.104.22.168) and one with a blue dial (L3.722.214.171.124). As mentioned earlier, the case diameter is 39mm, a perfect size for most wrists. This Legend Diver also measures 12.7mm thick and 47mm from lug to lug.
Bracelet and strap options
The watches we received both came on a stainless steel beads-of-rice bracelet, but each is also available on a strap. Longines has paired the blue-dial version with a blue NATO strap (L3.7126.96.36.199) and the black-dial Legend Diver with a brown leather strap (L3.7188.8.131.52).
A certified chronometer
The Legend Diver is powered by the Longines caliber L888.6, which has been certified as a chronometer by COSC. Well, actually, to be more precise, Longines ensured the watch was certified after the movement had been cased. As you may know, COSC normally certifies just the movements (with generic dials and handset) in its laboratories, then ships them back to the watch manufacturer to be cased. Longines, however, has the whole watch head, movement included, endure the 15-day tests at different temperatures and in different positions. After the testing and certification process, COSC sends the watch back to Longines for the final assembly of the bracelet, packaging, and so on. I prefer this testing method as it’s closer to real-life conditions than only having the movement tested and certified.
The L888.6 movement has a 72-hour power reserve and a silicon balance spring. The latter helps make it antimagnetic to approximately 600 gauss. That’s ten times more than what the ISO 764 standard requires. Speaking of ISO, Longines also made sure that the Legend Diver not only complies with the ISO 6425 standard for divers’ watches but is also officially certified to meet it. As Gerard pointed out in this informative article, this is quite a rare practice in the industry.
A serious dive watch from an equally serious brand
This means the Longines Legend Diver is a very serious diving instrument, one that ticks all the boxes for underwater use. But besides that, it’s also a very good-looking watch that shows in which direction Longines is heading. While the Heritage models used to comprise just a small portion of the catalog aimed at that handful of enthusiasts, the new Longines Legend Diver shows that the St-Imier-based brand is now taking these enthusiasts quite seriously indeed. It doesn’t always shine through, but Longines is keen on opening up its heritage to a wider audience. It has been one of the well-kept secrets in Switzerland, but the Longines vintage workshop is nothing short of amazing, and so is the museum located inside the headquarters in St-Imier. The brand’s support of collectors’ meetings like the one recently held in London did not go unnoticed.
An exclusive movement
And, to be honest, Longines deserves watch enthusiasts’ recognition. The brand’s heritage is quite amazing, and its leaders and designers have every right to use it as inspiration for modern watches. Furthermore, though there haven’t been any in-house Longines movements since the early 1980s (when Swatch Group took over), the brand’s close relationship with ETA is a major advantage. ETA has been instrumental in developing many calibers exclusively for Longines. The L888.6 movement inside this new Legend Diver is an example of that collaboration.
Black or blue?
Longines shipped both versions of the new Legend Diver to our office. Funnily enough, our team is divided into Team Blue and Team Black. There’s no clear preference for either dial color, it seems. My preference is black, though, as I feel it is more timeless (but I was also wrong about that when the Seamaster 300M 2531.80 came out). What I do prefer is wearing the watch on the beads-of-rice bracelet rather than on a strap. We did not receive the stock Longines straps with these watches, but we put them on Tropic-style rubber straps from the Fratello Shop to give you an idea of how they look.
The finishing of the case and bracelet is very nicely done! There’s a satin finish on the case band and a high-polish finish on top. We also see this combination on the bracelet, with brushing on the outermost links and polishing on the five rows in the center. This even carries through to the folding clasp. I do wonder how well the polished central part will stand up to daily wear, but that perhaps also adds a bit of character to the watch. The bracelet is very comfortable, and you can make enough adjustments in the clasp to make it fit perfectly.
As you can see, the dial features two types of Super-LumiNova, with the indices showing alternating green and blue tones. The hour hand glows green, while the minute hand glows blue, which, especially with their different shapes, would likely help with distinguishing them underwater. For those who don’t dive, at least we can say that the lume provides a neat visual experience in the dark.
Final thoughts on the new Longines Legend Diver
I thoroughly enjoyed wearing the latest Longines Legend Diver, and I have a slight preference for the black-dial version. The dial of this new generation is a step forward compared to the previous model, and the 39mm case size is fantastic. I also enjoyed wearing the watch on the beads-of-rice bracelet as it does add some of that vintage look and feel to it. One of the best decisions, though, was to leave out the date window (pay attention, Breguet!). It gives the watch a much cleaner look, and who needs a date anyway?
The new Longines Legend Diver on the stainless steel bracelet has a price of €3,600. Interestingly, the version on the brown leather strap has the same price as the versions on steel, but if you go for the blue dial with the blue NATO strap, the price is €3,350. My advice would always be to go for the stainless steel bracelet and pick a nice additional strap afterward.
For more information, visit Longines online. Don’t forget to let us know what you think of the updated Legend Diver in the comments as well.