If there’s one modern Longines that left me with a huge impression, it is the Longines Legend Diver. Preferably the version without date, but CEO Walter von Känel decided otherwise a few years ago and discontinued the non-date model. This year, Longines added some variation to the Legend Diver, with this all black version. Meet the Longines Legend Diver in Black.
This Longines Legend Diver in Black (reference L3.7188.8.131.52) is just like the other Legend Divers, part of the heritage collection. A collection that is only a small portion of Longines annual production of an estimated 1.3 million pieces. A huge number, but the number of different references from Longines is also quite impressive. The heritage collection is mainly aimed at enthusiasts and collectors, that’s one of the reasons why our Longines coverage is mainly based on those watches.
Longines Legend Diver in Black
Respecting its heritage, Longines used the 42mm super compressor case as before. But now, with a black coating using PVD technique. Some claim that PVD is not as ‘tough’ as DLC or easily scratches, but that all depends on the base material and how it has been finished. The case of the Longines Legend Diver in Black is made of steel. At first sight, the strap looks like a bracelet, but it is actually a rubber strap with a mesh motif. A very comfortable rubber strap with a PVD coated folding clasp. The folding clasp is made of titanium. That said, I think the Longines Legend Diver in Black would look awesome on a NATO strap in olive green or anthracite, and I am not even a NATO guy. I just feel it will give the watch a bit more punch.
If you take a look at the dial side, you will notice that the inner diving bezel with 60-minute scale and centre dial almost look like one dial. A second glance will show the different layers. As you can see on the images that Bert took, the minute markers, hour markers and other prints have this vintage yellow-brownish colour. The Super-LumiNova ensures that you can read the time (and diving bezel) in low-light conditions. Polished silver coloured hands give enough contrast on the black dial that time is easy to read. The dial is covered with a domed sapphire crystal, of course. The screw-down case back and two screw-in crowns, one for winding and setting and the other one for the internal diving bezel, ensure that the watch is water resistant to 30 ATM (~300M).
The Longines Legend Diver in Black uses the Longines calibre L888.2 movement, which is based on the ETA A31.L01 movement. This movement ticks at 25,200vph, which is a rather unusual frequency, but Omega’s Co-Axial calibres also use this speed for example. The movement has a power reserve of 64 hours. This ETA A31.L01 is based on the well-known and much praised ETA 2892-A2 movement that you’re most probably familiar with. They slowed down the beat rate of this movement, and extended the power reserve. This ETA A31.L01 is exclusively manufactured and produced for Longines, to be used as their L888.2 movement. Since 1984 or so, Longines doesn’t produce movements in-house anymore and everything is being supplied by ETA (that just like Longines also belongs to Swatch Group). Although Longines is pretty clear (read our interview with CEO Walter von Känel here) that they don’t aim to become a manufacturer of movements again, but rather focus on being able to offer affordable (mechanical) watches, it is quite interesting that they do seem to shift towards the use of movements exclusively produced for them. Their introduction of the VHP movements and the chronometer certified Record collection also shows that Longines feels it has become more important for the consumer that a movement should be something special.
Although I am not a fan of all black watches, some are really worth taking into consideration. My first watch that had a black case was the Sinn 142 St.S with Lemania 5100 movement, in the end, I regretted to sell it, but I also feel I would have kept it when it was the normal stainless steel version. The Speedmaster Dark Side of the Moon is always on my wishlist, but every time I saved up for one, a Moonwatch variation popped up that I wanted more. Not too long ago I bought the Seiko SRPC49K1, which is the black version of the turtle diver, which I wear on a regular basis. Although you might not agree with me, I am still of the opinion that I am not sure whether black coated watches – or ceramic watches – are forever. Of course, they don’t have to be forever, but when you spend a few thousands, I always ask myself if I will still fancy this watch in a few years from now. The Longines Legend Diver in Black is one of those watches that is priced seriously enough that I would ask myself this question, but on the other hand, the design is based on such a classic (Super Compressor) diver model, that the coating doesn’t really influence its timelessness. If that makes sense to you. Of course, there’s always the stainless steel model of this watch in the collection. As written above, I think I’d wear the Longines Legend Diver in Black on an olive green NATO, for example, to make it a bit more colourful.
That said the Longines Legend Diver in Black ref. L3.7184.108.40.206 offers a lot of bang for the buck. A classically designed divers watch with a WR of 300 meters and a very solid automatic movement. The retail price will be €2.360 ($2700USD) and the watch will be delivered after the Summer. A pity, as this watch would be a nice companion for a nice holiday at the sea (or pool).
For more information, visit Longines online.