It’s no secret that Longines is one of the best in the business — if not the best — at creating compelling heritage reissues. The return of the Longines Legend Diver is evidence the Saint-Imier watchmaker still has its finger on the pulse of what enthusiasts want, with a refined line-up that offers more of what we love, and less of what we don’t.
At its core, the Longines Legend Diver is one of the most wearable and enduringly popular vintage-inspired dive watches on the market today. It delivers everything you might want from a dive watch — celebrated design DNA, robust water resistance, and a workhorse movement — while offering something a little different thanks to its super-compressor case, boasting twin crowns and an internally rotating dive bezel.
The super-compressor case traces its roots back to the late 50s with the ref. 7042, at the dawn of the recreational scuba diving movement. Its unique design meant the deeper the watch went – and the greater the resulting water pressure – the tighter the case sealed itself against moisture incision. In order to maintain its structural integrity, the rotating dive bezel needed to be relocated under the crystal above the dial, giving birth to the immediately recognisable dual-crown configuration we see here today.
The Longines Legend Diver was first re-released back in 2007 and over the last decade and a half, has seen a number of different references the majority of which preserved the original 42mm proportions of the ref. 7042 from 1959. This latest interpretation of the design arrives with an all-new stainless steel 39mm case size that splits the difference between the original 42mm case and the other 36mm “ladies” size, hitting a sweet spot that enthusiasts are sure to love.
Despite its new size, the case proportions have been nicely maintained with a thickness of 12.7mm, with a handsome blend of brushed and polished finishes on the case. The screw-down dual-crowns feature an attractive cross-hatched pattern, with the crown at 2 o’clock operating the bi-directional rotating bezel and the 4 o’clock crown winding the movement and setting the time.
As we’ve seen with so many Longines Legend Diver references since 2007, the solid steel caseback depicts an old-time scuba diver holding a speargun. This helps secure the case to a rock-solid 300m of water resistance (tested to an additional 25%).
Another element of these new Longines Legend Diver references is the solid black and navy blue dials, complimented with crisp white Super-LumiNova and printed markings. The previous black dial references featured creamier aged-looking markings on the dial, but the white details of these freshly designed references feel more contemporary and are less contentious in the collector community.
Possibly the best feature of this new range is the option of an extremely comfortable beads-of-rice bracelet, which wasn’t something that arrived with the original ref. 7042, but is a design intimately linked to early diving watches. It tapers nicely from the lugs down to the double-folding clasp for maximum comfort, while the polished centre links and vertically brushed outer links make for an eye-catching contrast.
Powering these new Longines Legend Diver references is the automatic calibre L888.6 movement — the best of its kind to date. Not only does it enjoy the antimagnetic qualities of a silicon balance spring and improved accuracy thanks to COSC certification, but it also boasts an impressive 72 hours of power reserve.
The Longines Legend Diver collection is a well-known quantity within the horological universe, but one that Longines has tirelessly continued to update and improve over the years. This latest line-up is further proof of this, with a more modern dial design, an excellent bracelet, and an improved movement within. If you’ve been considering adding one to the collection, or have just found out about the collection, this is the Longines Legend Diver to own.
The 2023 Longines Legend Diver collection is currently available online and from Longines boutiques, with an RRP of $5,300.
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