Heritage releases has been a popular category for the past few years and Longines is an undisputed leader, particularly when it comes to divers. In May, I had the pleasure of seeing Longines new-for-2014 Heritage Divers in the metal and I was blown away at how well these watches checked nearly every box for a perfect retro. I specifically fell in love with the automatic chronograph inspired by Longines Dive-Timer (reference #8224-1 circa 1968).
The inspiration is evident, but it’s not a 1:1 remake, either. While you can see the original Dive-Timer had a tri-compax layout, the new Heritage Diver replaced the running seconds with a date aperture, an element I could live without. What you’re left with, however, is a beautifully symmetrical and high-contrast dial.
Longines’s use of fonts, shape and color bring to life a diver that seems like it could have been born in the late 1960s. Aside from the fonts and cushion casing, there are hard angles in favor of smooth curves. The hands and markers are squared off. Even the outside of the bezel is a 12-sided polygon. A splash of red completes the salute to the Dive-Timer, perfectly mimicking its implementation from the minutes register to the countdown scale on the inner rotating bezel.
As you would expect, the case is beautifully done with a combination of radial brushing on top and polishing on the sides. With a domed anti-reflective sapphire crystal on top and a solid case back, it’s water resistant to 300m. Inside the 43mm steel cushion case is caliber L651.3, an ETA 2894-2 automatic chronograph movement, instead of a Valjoux 72, a manually wound chronograph movement housed in the original Dive-Timer.
The new Heritage Diver Automatic Chronograph comes on a rubber or sailcloth strap (a la Longines Legend Diver). The watch will retail for $3,750 and is expected to hit retailers this Fall.