2022 marks the 190th anniversary of Longines. The Swiss marque stands as one of the oldest brands in the industry, and its distinctive flying hourglass emblem holds the distinction of being the world’s oldest continually used trademark. 190 years of continuous operation is a milestone well worth celebrating, and to celebrate one final time, Longines caps off a year of intriguing releases with one of its most charismatic offerings for 2022. Few brands capture the spirit of vintage-inspired watchmaking as well as Longines, and for its last release of the year, the brand offers its own stunningly handsome take on the incipient prewar-inspired chronograph trend quietly building steam across the watch industry. The new Longines Record Heritage is a smartly finished, finely balanced, and impressively versatile chronograph design, deftly blending the dressy elegance of the ‘40s together with a highly capable COSC-certified chronometer movement.
In keeping with the clean forms of the ‘40s chronographs it aims to emulate, the 40mm-wide stainless steel case of the Longines Record Heritage is a simple design executed well. The overall shape is classic old-school sports watch, with slim tapering lugs, a narrow, sloping polished bezel, and charismatic polished oval pushers. As is usually the case with simple, straightforward designs, the devil is in the details here, and Longines delivers solidly on that front. The use of polishing across all the Record Heritage’s upper surfaces (including both the bezel and the top sides of the lugs) gives the case a bright, dressy feel on the wrist. The horizontal brushing along the case sides is fine and even, helping to visually break up the substantial 13.8mm-thick profile. Although these dimensions certainly make it somewhat larger than its prewar ancestors, the Record Heritage is solidly compact and wearable on the wrist, especially compared to other recent designs in this vein. The largest contributing factor to this is a tweak to an element Longines fans have been eagerly waiting for: the lugs. Enthusiasts have debated over Longines’s long lug designs for years, and the subsequent oversized stance these lugs tend to give on the wrist has changed the character of many vintage-inspired Longines models. Although the Record Heritage’s lugs are by no means the shortest around, these are a substantial step toward a more compact, vintage-appropriate wearing experience. These more balanced dimensions also help the Record Heritage to straddle the line between dressy and sporting styles, which works to make the watch a solid candidate for daily wear. Longines caps the case with a sapphire display caseback to showcase its decorated movement. Unfortunately, this and other elements leave the Record Heritage with a below-average 30 meters of water resistance.
Compared to most of its competitors in the quietly growing ‘30s/’40s-inspired chronograph sector, the Longines Record Heritage offers a remarkably clean and restrained dial design. Longines is no stranger to matte black dials for vintage-style pieces, and the smooth, even finish of the Record Heritage’s dial gives it a clean, classical look without giving the impression of patina. With that said, the dial still offers plenty of visual warmth, thanks to gilt dial text for its subdial scales, logos, and the twin outer rings of the tachymeter scale and chronograph seconds track. While keeping the ‘40s feel of the design intact with their charming visual complexity, these outer scales also compress the rest of the dial design into a smaller area, further enhancing the compact feel on the wrist. It’s the gold-tone dial hardware that truly catches the eye, however. The mix of applied Arabic numerals and wedge indices is bright and attractively old-school, as is the elegantly slim leaf handset. Gold-tone accent rings surrounding the twin recessed subdials give the Record Heritage a slightly flashier look on the wrist, while naturally drawing the eye towards the crucial information there. Longines opts to finish these subdials with azurage, lending the mostly matte design a bit of dynamism in changing light as well. Although the overall layout is elegant, refined, and impressively visually balanced, the Record Heritage’s legibility may be a point of contention among enthusiasts. The finely printed chronograph seconds scale, the slim tips of the leaf handset, and the total lack of luminous material all work to make this design potentially challenging to accurately read at a glance.
Longines powers the Record Heritage with the exclusive L895.4 automatic chronograph movement. Although the L895.4 movement is ultimately based on an ETA 2892-A2 platform, the L895.4 is a newly modified iteration produced only for Longines by ETA courtesy of its Swatch Group connections. The L895.4’s finishing compares favorably to others at this price point, with clean, tight perlage across the bridges and balance cock, along with a handsome signed cutout rotor featuring Côtes de Genève. In addition, the L895.4 is a true COSC-certified chronometer, and over the course of our review period, the watch performed within this rigid standard at an average of +5 seconds per day. An impressive 59-hour power reserve at a 28,800 bph beat rate completes the package.
Longines pairs the Record Heritage with two strap options. The first is an intricate multi-link stainless steel bracelet, but our review sample arrived on the saddle-brown leather strap. On paper, this is a classic and versatile choice, with an even matte texture and clean off-white contrast stitching. In practice, while it is a simple and versatile look, the strap is decidedly stiff and will likely require a lengthy break-in period to fully conform to the wrist without discomfort and pinching. That said, the clean, classical overall look of the Longines Record Heritage should allow this to pair with a wide variety of straps for a more custom feel.
By combining a classically handsome ’40s-inspired design, a solidly wearable case, a chronometer-grade movement, and an impressively versatile ethos, the Longines Record Heritage creates a fittingly compelling send-off for the brand’s 190th-anniversary festivities. The Longines Record Heritage is available now through authorized dealers. MSRP for the Longines Record Heritage stands at $3,000 USD as of press time. For more details, please visit Longines’ website.
>Model: Record Heritage
>Price: $3,000 USD
>Size: 40mm-wide, 13.8mm-thick
>When reviewer would personally wear it: As a business-appropriate daily wear, or as an accent piece to a weekend outfit.
>Friend we’d recommend it to first: Enthusiasts looking for a chronograph that can be used for dressier occasions, or vintage chronograph fans looking to escape the style bubble of the ‘60s and ‘70s.
>Best characteristic of watch: Handsomely finished, well-balanced dial, wearable proportions, excellent movement performance.
>Worst characteristic of watch: Strap is uncomfortable with a long break-in period, potentially stiff competition from its Swatch Group sister brands, minuscule water resistance.