Longines is a storied Swiss watchmaker whose former CEO once caused me to pay luggage weight overages when flying back from Europe. When I took an interest in some of the brand’s history, he proceeded to give me an excellent book that details all the unique mechanical movement calibers Longines has developed over its long history, and the book weighed so much that it pushed my checked bag over the weight limit. Today, Longines is owned and operated by The Swatch Group, but it consistently pays homage to the history that made it special. Each time I look at that weighty Longines movement book, I think amusingly of  Walter Von Känel’s sense of humor. Now, let’s focus on the matter at hand, which is a review of the Longines Heritage Chronograph 1940 timepiece (Ref. L28144760). Released as part of the larger Longines Heritage collection, this was one of many timepieces that remembered the Longines of old, apparently circa 1940.

On the dial, the movement offers the time along with a 30-minute chronograph. The spacing of the subdial as well as the length of the hands are a testament to the fact that unlike the ETA Valjoux 7750, the A07.231 was clearly designed with large watch cases and dials in mind. If you like chronographs, then this is the watch for you, especially if you like playing with chronograph pushers: The biggest visual quirk in this piece is the arguably too-large rectangular pushers that jut out from the right side of the case flanking the crown. I don’t actually know what “original” 1940-era timepiece Longines was paying homage to in this case, but I am guessing it also had big pushers. On the vintage model, those big pushers might have helped with ergonomics in a way that isn’t necessary on this larger, modern watch. Love them or hate them, the bigger chronograph pushers do help offer a big dose of personality in what might otherwise be seen as a simple, retro-revival sporty/dress mechanical timepiece.

Advertising Message

I like to think of the Longines Heritage Chronograph 1940 as a sports watch dressed like a formal business watch. The 41mm wide steel case size isn’t all that big, but the case is close to 14mm thick. That, plus the long and pointy lugs, make the Heritage Chronograph 1940 wear like a larger watch. There is also the dial that is relatively deep when viewed through the slightly domed AR-coated sapphire crystal. If you ask yourself why the dial is set so deep the answer is because of the hands (which are set high because there are four layers of them). The hands themselves are an interesting choice. Needle style for the hour and minute hands, and there are a total of four different styles of hand on the dial. Little details such as the different hands on the two subdials are what make products like this interesting and worth a look.

While it isn’t for everyone, the dial on the Heritage Chronograph 1940 is actually quite interesting in how it is constructed. It is anything but the standard “hey look it feels like a real old watch” aesthetic we see far too often. The dial itself it two layers with the main dial having a silver-toned color with a vertically brushed finishing. The subdials are slightly recessed, lighter in color, and given a slight snailed pattern if you look closely. Hour markers are applied gold-toned beads, which match the hands, all sized with proper lengths. The result is a distinctive look as well as a watch that despite not having any luminant at all offers pretty decent legibility even in low-light conditions.

To a degree, I feel that the dial of the watch and the case don’t always go together in perfect harmony, or perhaps it is the fact that a dial like this might look interesting in a variety of cases. I happen to see it better placed in a case that is more curvy and probably a bit thinner. An open-mindedness for quirkiness in timepieces will help anyone be a fan of this product. This isn’t going to be the last retro-style watch people get, nor will it be a collector’s only chronograph, but if you are searching for a sports watch dressed to look like something fun from the past, the Longines Heritage Chronograph 1940 is a solid choice. Don’t miss the heritage Longines logo-style on the crown.

Advertising Message

Longines’ relationship with ETA (a movement maker also owned by the Swatch Group in Switzerland) offers a lot of special privileges. In short, the brand can offer a particular level of movement finishing as well as unique movement executions at prices that you’d normally never see at most other brands. At under $3,000, the Heritage Chronograph 1940 contains an automatic column-wheel chronograph movement with a healthy amount of attractive perlage finishing. The product might have “Heritage” in the name, but this is actually a relatively modern movement. Longines calls the movement inside of the Heritage Chronograph 1940 the caliber L705.2. The movement is also known as the ETA Valgranges A07.231. It was originally designed to fit in larger, more modern-sized watches and to perform well. The L705.2 operates at 4Hz (28,800 bph) with 48 hours of power reserve. You can view the automatic movement through the rear of the case through the sapphire crystal window. I also appreciate that they put the model name right on the caseback.

Attached to the polished steel case (water resistant to 30 meters) is a black alligator strap. I feel that a major upgrade for this watch would have been to use a fitted strap that doesn’t leave a gap between the end of the strap and the case. Even a curved end of the strap that would have better matched the contours of the case would have been a nice look. No doubt motivated collectors can achieve this by privately ordering a custom strap. Oh, and if you haven’t yet entered the world of making your own custom straps to go with particular watches, then you are missing out on a rewarding experience if you can stand the cost, research, and trial and error of working with the right supplier. I’ve done so very sparingly myself.

Longines delights collectors by regularly coming out with new models in the Heritage collection that are often very appealing. They also aren’t usually limited-edition models, though Longines does produce them in limited quantities. (There is actually a Longines Heritage model from several years ago that got away after it was all sold out and now I’ve waited around for one to become available myself.) While the Longines Heritage Chronograph 1940 (Ref. L28144760) is no longer produced by the brand, it is available new from select retailers for $3,450 USD. For more information on the Longines Heritage watches, please visit the brand’s website.

Necessary Data
>Brand: Longines
>Model: Heritage Chronograph 1940 reference L28144760
>Price: $3,450 USD
>Size: 41mm wide
>When reviewer would personally wear it: Likely when attending an event that celebrates vintage cars or other heritage industrial design that combines functionality with aesthetics.
>Friend we’d recommend it to first: Retro watch-style enthusiasts seeking modern-made yet quirky chronograph for general wear purposes.
>Best characteristic of watch: Attractive and legible dial. Nicely finished and capable movement.
>Worst characteristic of watch: Case has some proportion issues related to some elements arguably being too large in size. Little information was made easily available by Longines as to what in 1940 inspired it.

Advertising Message

Subscribe to our Newsletter