For nearly a century and a half, Longines has been crafting precision timepieces out of its workshop high in the Jura mountains designed to serve the needs of adventurers of all stripes. While the brand with the winged hourglass may be most strongly associated with aviation’s early pioneers, Longines has carved its own place in history across countless ventures where precision timing is critical to success. From motorsports to horse racing to alpine skiing, Longines been a crucial part of all these endeavors. When SCUBA diving rose to prominence in the 1950s and 60s, capturing the public’s imagination and ushering in an era of underwater exploration, Longines was once again in the thick of it, producing precision dive watches at home on the wrists of professional and recreational divers alike. The Longines Legend Diver was born from this era, and its newest incarnation doubles down on the vintage styling by reimagining the Legend Diver with a bronze case and deep-green gradient dial.
While the Legend Diver can trace its lineage back to skin divers produced by Longines in the 1950s, the modern incarnation of the line is based on an iconic reference from 1960, the Longines reference 7042. This period in the mid-century was an era of exploration and experimentation, and not just underwater but in watch construction and design, as well. The 7042 was no exception, featuring an oversized (42mm) super-compressor case, inner-rotating bezel, and luminous hands and markers. The super-compressor design is a clever bit of engineering, whereby increasing water pressure increases pressure on the seals — the deeper you go, the tighter the seal. The case design, internal bezel, and dual hash-marked crowns are hallmarks of this style, and these aesthetic cues are all embraced in the current line of Longines Legend Divers.
Since Longines reissued the reference 7042 in the Longines Legend Diver, the watch has become a staple in the brand’s Heritage line, and Longines has produced several iterations in different sizes and finishes. This newest model marks a major departure in both case material and dial color, yet the bronze case and gradient green dial are a natural, organic fit for the watch’s vintage styling. Bronze is an ideal case material for this throwback design, evoking the grandeur and mystique of the early days of skin diving. In addition, bronze allows for an intimate ownership experience, as the watch will naturally patina over time, creating natural shifts in hue and texture that make each watch one-of-a-kind, telling the story of your adventures. Of course, the patina can be easily cleaned off and removed in a matter of minutes, allowing you to reset the clock and tell a new story.
Despite the vintage styling, the bronze Longines Legend Diver doesn’t overlook practicality and modern accouterments. The original reference 7042 featured a Plexiglas crystal, but in the modern iteration, Longines has opted for a highly domed box sapphire crystal that combines the warmth and charm of Plexiglas with the scratch-resistance and clarity of sapphire. Though the case is bronze, the caseback is crafted from titanium and features a re-creation of the original deeply embossed spear diver. To ensure legibility, no matter the time of day or the depth of the dive, the hands and hour markers are coated with Super-LumiNova.
The dial of the bronze Longines Legend Diver retains the styling of the rest of the line, including an internally rotating bezel, Arabic numerals at 3, 6, 9, and 12, and a distinctive and extremely legible handset. What truly sets this model apart is the deep emerald-green lacquered dial, which darkens to black toward the periphery. The dial is gorgeous; combined with the gilt hands and markers and framed by the bronze case, the effect is captivating and evocative of a bygone era.
The Longines Legend Diver is powered by a Longines Caliber L888.5. This bespoke movement is made exclusively for Longines through Swatch Group partner ETA and is based on the ETA A31.L11 automatic movement. This is no standard off-the-shelf movement — it features a silicon balance spring, 64-hour power reserve, and a beat rate of 25.2kbph.
The Longines Legend Diver ships with both a leather and fabric strap, allowing the watch to be dressed up or down with ease. The leather strap is a rich cocoa-brown with minimal stitching that plays off the warm tones of the bronze and adds a touch of class. The Army-green NATO, on the other hand, is designed to complement the green tones of the dial and is right at home on land or in the water. Both straps include a signed bronze buckle, completing the look.
While the release of the Longines Legend Diver feels like a true reissue of the original reference 7042, staying true to both the design and aesthetics of the original, the bronze case and green dial feel like a re-imagining of a classic, with a warmth and charm all its own. The bronze Longines Legend Diver is priced at $3,000 USD; for more information, be sure to visit the brand’s website.
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