May 18, 2020
by Bilal Khan
I spent some time with the Longines Flagship Heritage last year when it was available on a silverish cream dial, and now the brand has added a black dial variant to the mix. The Flagship Heritage is a classic dress watch in every sense, with conservative yet ideal proportions and top-notch dial and case finishing for a reasonable price of $1,675.
The original Longines Flagship dates back to 1957, and the brand does a pretty good job of keeping a balance between honoring its ancestor while giving even casual contemporary buyers what they expect from a dress watch in 2020. Measuring 38.5mm-wide, 10.25mm-thick, and 46mm lug-to-lug, I think Longines got it just right with the case for the Flagship Heritage. The ref. L4.7184.108.40.206 with silver dial that I handled last year was versatile, though obviously made more sense while wearing something with a sleeve than without. I think largely the same can be said for the new ref. L4.7220.127.116.11 with black dial, but there is something about black that affords just a little bit more in the way of casual wear.
I’m a fan of the long lugs that give the case (water resistant to 30M) a little bit more wrist presence, and the subtle chamfering is a nice touch. You can see it looks perfectly fine on a 7.5 inch wrist, much more so than many watches with similar case width but shorter lugs would. Much of the appeal of the demure Flagship Heritage lies in the tastefully designed and well-finished dial. With its applied indices, handsome dauphine hands, and 6 o’clock date window, the Flagship Heritage strikes a fine balance of having a classic look that isn’t old-fashioned.
Having touches like a thin strip of lume on the hour and minute hands, or having several layers of AR coating on the underside of the crystal make for small but significant improvements to the wearability of the Flagship Heritage. As you can see in the photos, glare is really not much of an issue here which impressed me, as we’re talking about highly polished hands and indices here. Longines recognized that having a mismatching date window would potentially ruin the dial, so I’m glad they went for a black background. The hands are pink gold-plated and work perfectly when it comes to legibility and ease of reading. Plus, the 38.5mm case width allows for hands that are a good enough length so as to not appear too short for the dial.
The enclosed steel caseback pays tribute to the vintage Flagship, donning the enamel Flagship emblem that those older models also had. I love this touch because, first of all, it looks great and is finished considerably well for a mass-produced watch. This is obvious to most people reading, but so many watches out there opt for an exhibition caseback when there is truly nothing special to exhibit. I prefer this execution by Longines a hundred times out of a hundred.
Beneath that steel and enamel caseback is the L615 movement made possible by the Swatch Group. This modified ETA 2895 operates at 28,800 vph with a 42-hour power reserve.
The Longines Flagship Heritage ref. L4.718.104.22.168 with black and pink gold dial is a solid addition to the collection. With black being such a default preference for so many buyers, I can imagine this model will end up being an everyday watch for a lot of people. Versatility, brand recognition, and product quality are a potent combination when priced properly. And, at $1,650 on a black alligator strap, I’d say the price is just about right here. You can check out more about this model here at longines.com.