Vintage-inspired sports watches have grown to encompass a massive segment of the current luxury watch market, with no signs of slowing down in the near future. Although the the concept is ubiquitous today, one of the first brands to explore the possibilities of vintage reissues beyond limited-run specialty models was Longines. In 2007, the Swiss marque first released the Legend Diver line, a faithful reimagining of the sought-after 1959 Longines Super-Compressor dive watch, and the line has been a cornerstone of the brand’s catalogue ever since. In the 15 years since that initial debut, the Legend Diver has evolved and grown beyond strict revivals of the ‘50s original to encompass a wide range of colorful fumé dial options and a pair of case sizes. For 2022, Longines returns to the Legend Diver series, delivering a quartet of dramatic new dial color options across the series’ 36mm and 42mm case options. These new Longines Legend Diver models give this familiar series a dynamic new set of personalities ranging from mild to richly saturated, without sacrificing the enduring spirit of this twin-crown design.
Each of the new Longines Legend Diver models uses a stainless steel case in either 36mm-wide or 42mm-wide diameters. By now, the 42mm Legend Diver’s case is a fixture in enthusiast circles, with its bold crosshatched crowns at 2 o’clock and 4 o’clock, its narrow polished outer bezel, and its famously long, tapering lugs. Like the 1959 original, however, this is intended to be a more refined, gentlemanly alternative to the classic dive watch form, and the fully polished finish helps to reinforce this dressier notion in images. While the 36mm case option keeps the overall shape of its larger sibling intact, this more compact design should make the Legend Diver’s notorious lug length more manageable on the wrist and deliver a more vintage wearing experience (in theory at least, as the original Longines Super-Compressor measured in at a massive-for-1959 42mm). Both versions keep the super-compressor case durability of the original intact, and offer a hefty 300 meters of water resistance. As with previous iterations in the line, Longines tops both case variants off with an engraved caseback featuring a scuba diver motif.
All new models in the Longines Legend Diver series follow the classic Legend Diver dial layout, with the line’s signature polished spear and baton handset, a bold mix of printed line indices and rugged stencil-style Arabic numerals, creamy fauxtina lume fills, and a broad sloping internal rotating dive bezel in black. Proportions differ slightly between the 36mm and 42mm models, with the more compact variants featuring a 3 o’clock date window mounted well inboard of the minutes scale, while on 42mm models the date window rests within the minutes scale in a cutout to more closely counterbalance the 9 o’clock numeral in images. Where these new models establish new identities is with their use of color. The boldest and most striking colorway of the group is the 36mm model in deep, heavily saturated oxblood red, fading gradually into black around the dial edge. This warm, nuanced hue plays exceptionally well with the sandy khaki tones of the dial text in initial images, and should make for an eye-catchingly offbeat design on the wrist. The 36mm model can also be optioned with a fumé dial in dark navy blue, which both complements the dial text in images and reinforces the Legend Diver’s nautical roots. Lastly, the 36mm Legend Diver is also available with a wheat-colored tan fumé dial. Given how pale this tan hue is, this dial provides by far the starkest gradient of the group in images, and this sharp transition to black at the dial edge saves the similarly tan-hued indices and numerals from becoming difficult to read in images. Thanks to this pale base color, this dial also avoids the faux-tropical look of some previous Legend Diver dials in images, appearing more like a deliberate stylistic choice than an attempt at artificial aging. The 42mm Legend Diver can also be equipped with this tan dial colorway, but adds a unique dial variant of its own to the collection as well. This final dial colorway is the most versatile and reserved of the group, with a handsome ash gray shade that fades gracefully into black.
Both the 36mm and 42mm versions of the Longines Legend Diver series use ETA-based automatic movements. For the 36mm models, the brand turns to the ETA A20.L11-based L592 movement, which offers a silicon balance spring along with a respectable 45 hour power reserve and a 28,800 bph beat rate. The ETA A31.L11-based L888.5 movement inside the 42mm Legend Diver models is a fixture in the brand’s lineup, with a silicon balance spring and a hefty 72-hour power reserve courtesy of a slightly reduced 25,200 bph beat rate. Each new model in the Longines Legend Diver line is paired with a colorful dial-matching canvas-style fabric strap with the exception of the ash gray 42mm model, which is equipped with a medium gray fabric NATO strap instead.
By bringing rich new colors into the series’ stable, these new Longines Legend Diver models add fresh new personality to one of the foundational designs in the vintage sports watch reissue segment. All new models in the Longines Legend Diver series are available now through authorized dealers. MSRP for each of these new models stands at $2,400 as of press time. For more information, please visit the brand’s website.