In case you didn’t notice from the name, the new Longines Heritage Classic watch delves into the past for inspiration, hitting aesthetic pay-dirt in the process. The name may be about as subtle as a breeze block to the jaw, but if you can remove yourself from that (hopefully tongue-in-cheek) ridiculousness and appreciate the watch in isolation of its moniker, you’ll find a timepiece that keeps things simple and sharp, and, as a result, is pretty hard to fault.
One of the things that leaped out at me instantly was how positive an effect the choice of the strap had on the watch’s overall presentation. I always try to study the watch head removed from the band on which it is brought to market, knowing I can dress it up however I please once it’s on the wrist, but it is refreshing to see a major group brand take a step outside the comfort zone of brown or black croc for a piece of this style.
Had this latest Longines Heritage model been shown on a classic brown crocodile strap, it would have been instantly forgettable. That’s not to say it wouldn’t have been a solid and handsome watch, regardless, it’s just that it wouldn’t have stopped me in my tracks and encouraged me to take a really good look at the dial.
As it is, I think the Longines Heritage Classic watch is possibly my favorite release from the brand since the Longines Pulsometer Chronograph, which came across as similarly authentic. I’ve always been a massive fan of the “sector” or “cross-hair” dial design, and it has been copied almost exactly from the model that inspired this piece, which dates back to 1934. The case size is (thankfully) sub-40mm at 38.5mm, and a shade over 12mm-thick (thanks to the automatic movement beating away inside the stainless steel case).
While a manual-wind movement might have been more period-appropriate, Longines has chosen to outfit this model with the new L893.5 (the Longines caliber number for the ETA A31.501), which has an operating frequency of 25,200vph. That is equivalent to 3.5 Hz. (It’s an odd frequency but less uncommon in the past.) That slightly slower-than-the-modern-average frequency affords the Longines Heritage Classic a robust 64-hour power reserve.
This is exactly the kind of release I would like to see more of — classic, timeless, and genuinely interesting dial design inspired by past models but brought to life with modern manufacturing techniques. Dial printing is crispy and hardier than ever before. The color-fastness of paints and lacquers used in 2019, in comparison to a century ago, is far superior. And the ability to install an anti-magnetic silicon balance in a watch like this should not be taken for granted. In my opinion, the Longines Heritage Classic watch is a brilliant fusion of old and new, and at $2,150 it offers any customer on the cusp of buying into Longines a great entry point. There are two options available: The Longines Heritage Classic comes on either a mottled blue leather strap with an anthracite NATO included (L2.8126.96.36.199) or a black leather strap with a blue NATO as an extra (L2.8188.8.131.52). Learn more at longines.com.