As most of our readers know by now, here at Fratello Watches we love our vintage watches. Having said that, innovation in watchmaking, usage of modern materials and even the introduction of a groundbreaking technique are all crucial things we appreciate. When companies try to combine past and present, I always look at things carefully. What might be an obvious move for the brand might not be that clear for their clients. History is important and having a rich heritage makes things easier, I guess.
In this game Longines tends to be on top in recent years. Their Legend Diver for instance was a great hit due to the friendly price and the timeless yet classic design. Careful though; releasing too many vintage-inspired pieces can deteriorate the collection and even makes it boring after a while. This year however, Longines gave us a few heritage pieces again. Undoubtedly the most prominent of these retro watches was the Longines Heritage Diver 1967. Below, an image of the original version (photo from TZ-UK’s noiseboyuk).
When looking at diver watches one can easily point out that this watch does not exactly look like a model one would pick up for diving. The big boom in diver watches came in the late 1950’s/early 1960’s when men started to explore the sea after successfully concurring air and land. We all know what the bezel on these watches is used for (measuring the time the diver has before they run out of oxygen) but chronographs were not to be seen often. This function is also important while with the help of this complication the diver could calculate his/her speed or certain underwater activities.
Longines Heritage Diver 1967
As the name indicates this new model is inspired by a diver chronograph that Longines introduced in 1967. Being a Heritage model it shares many features with the original watch, red (or as the company calls it bordeaux) bezel being the most obvious. That makes the watch so easily noticeable, even from a distance. As a side note: let me mention that Longines sub brand, Wittnauer, also had a similar chronograph with red bezel, however both that watch and the original 1967 Longines watch were 2 register dial only watches. Interesting to see that Longines kept the sub dial at 6 o’clock of their Longines Heritage Diver watch, while the other two sub dials are silvery/white. This way, it appears to be a 2 register while upon closer inspection, there are three. Well-played.
Going back to the Longines Heritage Diver 1967, it has the size that fits me perfectly at 42mm. Because of the black dial and rather dark bezel color the watch wears normal, it does not feel that huge on the wrist, on the contrary. Nice elements are the vintage shaped chronograph pushers and the subtle red cross that runs through the dial, almost barley visible. Not to mention the 2 white sub dials at 9 and 3 which – just like the original – are different sizes and the 3 o’clock sub register being the largest.
The heart of the watch is a 27-Jewel ETA based, self-winding, column wheel chronograph, especially made for Longines. It has an impressive power reserve of 54 hours. The dial is opaline black with a touch of silver colors on the sub dials. Super LumiNova coated indexes and hands make the watch more contemporary. Being a true diver watch it is water resistance to 30 bars (300m) with the help of a screw down crown and case back. Speaking of which, a diver engraved to the case back (common adornment of that era) finishes off the reasoned design of a timepiece true to the DNA of Longines diver watches. There are 3 options the potential buyer can choose from, when it comes to straps; metal bracelet, rubber strap with diving extension or a plain black crocodile strap with diving buckle.
I suppose we can agree that Longines is on the right track with their heritage watches. The timepiece is simple and elegant yet interesting and sporty at the same time. They managed to find the balance between old and new and the combination is spot on. I can encourage you to go in to an AD and try one on, as I did not too long ago. If you don’t like it there are still many marvelous piece to choose from. Price of the Longines Legend Diver 1967, $3100 USD.
Reference number L2.808.4.52.x (depending on the strap/bracelet combination)
Calibre L688.2 (ETA A08.231) column-wheel chronograph, 27 jewels, 28,800 A/h, 54 hours of power reserve
Functions: Hours, minutes, small seconds at 9 o’clock, date at half past four, tachymeter, Chronograph, Central 60-second hand, 30-minute counter at 3 o’clock, 12-hour counter at 6 o’clock
Case: 42mm diameter, stainless steel, screw-in case back and crown
Water resistance: 300 metres
Dial: Black opaline and silver-coloured, 9 indexes with Super-LumiNova, inner flange with tachymetric scale
Hands: Rhodium-plated with Super-LumiNova on the hours and minutes hands
Bracelet/Strap: Steel bracelet with double security folding clasp and integrated diving extension
Black alligator strap with diving buckle
Black rubber strap with double security folding clasp and integrated diving extension
More information on Longines’ official website.