The brand with the Winged Hourglass has many emblematic models in its collection, most of them being found in the praised Heritage line. Yet, few can rival the longevity and beauty of the Longines Legend Diver, one of the watches that defined the vintage-inspired collection of the brand and that is still a strong pillar in the portfolio. Since its introduction in 2007, this compressor-inspired watch has undergone several updates, visual or mechanical, and even went bronze, full black-coated or gold recently. For 2021, the collection is enlarged with colourful dials. We go hands-on with the new Longines Legend Diver with Gradient Blue or Gradient Brown dials.
The Longines Legend Diver, or LLD for its fans, has been modelled after an important vintage watch that Longines created back in the late 1960s, when professional and recreational dive watches were a growing trend, and when this specific type of case architecture was seen as a great alternative to the standard construction for dive watches. The LLD is a faithful recreation of a dive watch created by Longines in 1959, the Ref. 7042. This watch was typical of the compressor concept, with twin crowns and an internal rotating bezel, but also an oversized case and an elegant black dial with painted Arabic numerals and elongated minute markers.
In 2007, Longines relied on this handsome design to create a watch that will become one of the most important models in its ever-growing Heritage collection, the Longines Legend Diver. First a no-date watch, it featured a glossy black dial that was almost a 1:1 reproduction of the original watch, a 42mm steel case with 300m water-resistance, the same compressor architecture with internal rotating bezel and overall, a design that will be immediately seen as a success. In 2012, Longines decided to add a date to its LLD, which made the no-date model even more appealing. Several variations around the concept have been introduced, such as 36mm editions or a black PVD-coated model with a textured rubber strap. Also, the standard ETA movement has been upgraded with more modern mechanics, with anti-magnetic properties and extended power reserve.
The new gradient Longines Legend Diver
As of now, the Longines Legend Diver is a watch that we’ve mostly seen in black – whether in classic steel or with a PVD-coated case. The brand has done, however, several attempts for colourful editions, with a tobacco brown or a white mother-of-pearl version of the downsized 36mm model. Also, the recent bronze edition paved the way for colours, featuring a (handsome yet relatively discreet) gradient green dial. But as for the 42mm stainless steel version, it was until recently black… or black.
Things change, as the Longines Legend Diver collection is enlarged this year with two new watches, part of the permanent portfolio (non-limited editions), with colourful gradient dials in blue – a classic of the dive watch world – and a bolder but still rather relevant brown option.
First, what remains. The case for these new gradient LLDs is untouched. This means a fairly large watch with a 42mm diameter, made of polished stainless steel. The LLD is a watch with a true personality, due to the special architecture of its case. Framing an ultra-domed sapphire crystal is a thin bezel, making this an elegant and restrained diver’s watch, due to the absence of an external bezel. The right side of the watch is equipped with two crowns, both with a grid pattern, one actuating the rotating bezel and the other one used to adjust the movement. Proportions of the watch are to be taken into account, as the height is substantial at 13.5mm and the lug-to-lug measurement, well over 50mm, can’t go unnoticed. Still, the case is cleverly constructed, with most of the height absorbed by the domed caseback and crystal, and the caseband remaining fairly thin.
No evolutions regarding the specifications. Thanks to the screw-down crowns and caseback, the watch is water-resistant to 300m and offers strong diving credentials – even though the compressor architecture isn’t the most practical of them all and is today more a design statement (a very nice design for sure…) The back is decorated with a diver’s emblem. Despite the large case, the vintage feeling is strong and the watch exudes this unique 1960s feeling that has always been the main argument of the LLD. The overall built quality is, as you’d expect from Longines, fully satisfying.
What really matters for these 2021 editions are the dials. As for the basics, no major evolutions. All the elements – fonts, tracks, markers, logos and hands – are identical to the classic black-and-steel model, and so is the glossy surface of the dial and its internal bezel – not the most practical in real life, as it brings quite some reflections, but still it does look quite cool. Also, and maybe sadly for some, the date window is still present. The bronze model, which got rid of the date, gave us some hope. But these new colourful steel editions stick to the time-and-date display. For the rest, we find back the elongated markers, the 12-6-9 Arabic numerals and the typical hands, with arrow hour and baton minute hands. The amount of SLN is quite limited on this dial though, once again confirming the casual, and not professional vocation of the LLD.
For 2021, two new colours are introduced, both with a so-called lacquered gradient or smoked style. The centre part is vividly coloured while the periphery gradually turns darker to end up black for the internal rotating bezel. Two options are offered. First is a classic blue dial, which feels right in place in this diving context. The second one, a more daring option, is a brown dial. Combined with the warm-coloured indexes and hands, it gives the watch a sort of faded, patinated look that reinforces the vintage style of the model. Quite attractive indeed.
Inside the case of these new Longines Legend Diver models is the proprietary calibre L888.5 (base ETA A31.L11). This time-and-date automatic movement is based on the architecture of the ETA 2892, however, the brand has applied multiple upgrades. While the frequency is now 3.5Hz, the power reserve has been extended to 64 hours. Also, the regulating organ is fitted with a silicon balance spring offering anti-magnetic properties and long-term accuracy. This allows the brand to offer a 5-year warranty.
To complement the dials, these new Longines Legend Diver are worn on matching straps – both 22mm in width. The blue edition comes on a blue structured leather strap with steel pin buckle. The gradient brown edition is fitted with a vintage light brown leather strap with steel pin buckle.
Availability & Price
Both colourful editions of the Longines Legend Diver – ref. L3.7220.127.116.11 in blue and ref. L3.718.104.22.168 in brown – are now available from retailers and from the brand’s online boutique. As said, they are part of the permanent collection and aren’t limited. They are both priced at EUR 2,240, CHF 2,260, GBP 1,750 or USD 2,300.
For more details and orders, please visit longines.com.