“Longines is killing it with their vintage reboots!”
Hate to say I told you so but…
You can’t deny that the 187-year old watchmaker really knows how to pay homage to its past. More often than not, you see brands injecting subtle elements that merely hint at a design language from a bygone era. In the case of Longines, the Heritage collection is a more than just a walk down memory lane. It’s closer to a personalized tour. The brand has dug deep into its archives and brought to life several models that hark back to its rich history. For instance, the Longines Legend Diver or the Skin Diver.
Both made their debut in the middle of the 20th century with the latter being the brand’s first-ever dive watch. The Skin Diver was launched in 1959 while the Legend Diver hit the shelves in the 60s. Aside from the divers, the brand also looked to the skies with the reissue of the Lindbergh Hour Angle (pictured below). Here’s a bit of a history lesson on this particular piece. On May 20th 1927, the Spirit of St. Louis monoplane left the Roosevelt Airport and touched down on the runway of the Le Bourget airport 33 hours later. The significance? Pilot Charles A. Lindbergh had just completed the first non-stop flight across the Atlantic – and timing the whole ordeal was Longines.
Consider me shooketh.
As a result, Lindbergh decided to collaborate with the Swiss watchmaker to produce the first Longines Hour Angle. The main reason for its existence (and insanely intimidating design) was to assist pilots in calculating their longitudinal position during long-haul flights.
“So, what’s the deal with the Longines Heritage Military?”
Well, for starters, I LOVE IT. See, I’m a simpleton (that means an easy-going person, right?) and this fits the bill purely because the overall aesthetics are so painfully simple. Yet, it’s far from boring. For RM8,520 (inclusive of a grey-ish NATO strap and a Longines-branded spring bar tool), you get a three-hander and… that’s it. Not even a date window to mess up the symmetry of the dial. However, take a closer look and a few things begin to pop. First, the blued, spade hands are heat-treated and not painted. Next, the cream-beige dial (with a hint of olive green) features one of the most interesting uses of “fauxtina.”
The so-called age spots are applied completely at random – which means no two pieces in the world feature spots in the same places on the dial. The rest of the dial is fairly straightforward with all the texts being printed including the Arabic hour markers and railroad minute track. The slightly domed sapphire crystal has, according to Longines, “several layers of anti-reflective coating on the underside” of said crystal.
Moving on, the brushed 38.5 mm stainless steel case is just about the perfect size for my 6-inch wrist. This being a quickie, I couldn’t measure the exact lug-to-lug figure but rest assured that overhang was close to non-existent thanks to the gently sloping lugs. Turning the watch around, a solid caseback is to be found. Now as much as I love an exhibition caseback, I reckon Longines made the right move here with opting to hide the movement away. It further adds to the vintage vibes, in my eyes.
“Sounds like it’s close to the perfect watch?”
Almost, really. There are just a few niggles that continue to irk me and prevent me from pulling the trigger. Apart from having to clear a mountain of debt, the rather large crown would make more sense if it was a hand-wound movement but alas, it’s not. Next up, the lug width is an odd 19 mm across. If there ever was a massive deal breaker for me, it has to be oddly-sized lug widths. Additionally, the lack of drilled lugs makes it less attractive to this strap-obsessed maniac.
Since we’re already on the topic of straps, let’s get another negative out of the way. The actual strap and how it wears. On paper, an aged calfskin strap in that shade of green would be perfect but when I tried it on, it was really stiff. Yes, this is a quickie and the watch is new so you gotta’ break it in and bla bla bla but I’ve tried on new watches with way softer straps so that’s that.
“And what about the insides of the Longines Heritage Military?”
It’s decent, let’s put it that way. Beneath that solid caseback beats the Longines L888 (based on the ETA A31). The 21-jeweled automatic calibre beats at a rate of 3.5 Hz and has a power reserve of 64 hours. Water resistance is quoted at 30 meters which, some would say, quite apt for a vintage-wannabe timepiece. All in all, the specifications aren’t gonna stand out but that’s okay in my books. That’s not the point of the Longines Heritage Military. This is a watch you really buy with the heart because let’s be frank, you’re bound to get more watch for less money from other brands.
If that’s the intention, forget the Heritage Military. At this current point in time, if I had to nominate a candidate for a one-watch collection, this one is quite high up the list. I just have to make a note to stock up on more 19 mm straps.