Longines’ Heritage collection, the brand’s playground for vintage re-editions, has become a reference for anyone looking for a retro-styled watch. Well-executed and loyal to the originals, the watches in the Heritage collection also come with relatively accessible prices. There’s a wide choice in this collection, ranging from elegant models to more instrumental watches or military-inspired pieces. Most of them deserve attention, but one, in particular, stands out for us at MONOCHROME, and that is the Heritage Classic Sector Dial. First launched in a serene silver edition, it now returns with a striking black dial and cool BoR bracelet, and we gave it a test on the wrist.
Knowing the extent of the brand’s vintage collection, the Longines Heritage could be an endless story. There are hundreds of models, from historically important pilot’s watches to handsome chronographs or attractive dive watches. And Longines is well aware that it is sitting on a gold mine, and its vintage reissues have been extremely popular for about 10 years now. This is the raison d’être of the Heritage collection, which revisits glorious watches of the past in modernised packages that are visually faithful to the original but built with contemporary manufacturing processes. Basically, the look and feel of the past with modern reliability and the desired peace of mind needed for daily wear.
There are countless watches to choose from in Longines’ Heritage collection. One of our favourites is the Sector Dial, a watch inspired by a 1934 watch owned by the brand’s museum and known as the Calatrava watch with a flat coin-shaped bezel, straight lugs and a two-tone dial with bold markers and divisions. I admit having a soft spot for these sector dial watches that feature the most emblematic design cue found in pre-WWII watches. Elegant, with a touch of Art Deco yet still modern and architectural, this specific dial layout manages to make the simplest 3-hand watch far more lively and detailed.
The first edition of the Longines Heritage Classic Sector Dial came with a silver-toned dial and blued hands. Discreet yet well animated, there was a certain serenity in this dial, something quiet and restrained, and highly retro too. The new black edition, despite being historically relevant (there is a precedent in the museum for this dial), feels far less vintage-ish and has a more striking look. Surprisingly, the added contrast between the case and the dial, but also between the dial and the elements of the display, makes this new edition of the Heritage Classic Sector Dial more contemporary, more architectural, more industrial in a way. It is a surprisingly graphic watch with a sort of old-school avant-garde spirit.
The case of the new Black Sector Dial retains the same proportions and construction. This means a reasonable 38.5mm diameter, with a height of about 11.5mm (including the highly domed sapphire crystal). The shape of the case is typical of 1930s Calatrava-styled watches with a flat stepped bezel on top of a central case with extended lugs – a design inaugurated by Patek with the 1932 Calatrava reference 96. The whole case is made of stainless steel with almost all the surfaces brushed, reinforcing the industrial, relatively instrumental look of the watch. The case is neatly executed, as always with Longines – even though nothing feels particularly impressive. Water-resistance is rated at 30 metres, and the crown is a classic push-pull deal.
On the wrist, the relatively compact diameter, which has been increased compared to the vintage edition but remains fairly restrained in today’s market, makes the watch comfortable and easy to wear. The lug-to-lug dimension, just below 47mm, is also pretty pleasant.
As you can see, there are actually two references launched by the brand. First is a classic leather strap option, made from cognac-coloured calf leather and closed by a pin buckle. More importantly, Longines presents a new steel bracelet with a very cool beads-of-rice design with straight end links. Many owners of the silver dial edition chose to acquire an aftermarket BoR bracelet to enhance the 1930s look of the watch. And now Longines brings its own OEM model, with alternating brushed and polished links and a folding clasp. Supple, flexible and well-executed, it really complements the look of the watch and adds that retro/sporty touch that was missing in the first place. In my opinion, this is the best choice.
As for the dial of this new Longines Heritage Classic Sector Dial Black Edition, nothing has changed apart from the colour – obviously. This means that there’s still this classic two-tone layout, with a matte black central area and a circular-brushed hour chapter ring, executed in charcoal grey. Longines also retains the central crosshair and sub-dial at 6 o’clock, implying that the two most discussed elements of this watch – the partial “6” marker and the line crossing the Longines logo – are still present. Personally, I don’t mind either. All printings are done in white, and the silver-coloured hands are polished, resulting in great contrast and instant readability – at least in daylight as there’s no lume on this watch.
Under the polished caseback with engraved logos and specifications is a well-known automatic movement, the calibre L893. This engine, based on an ETA 2895-2 architecture (the small seconds version of the 2892), is exclusive to Longines and comes with multiple upgrades to make it a highly competitive offer. The whole kinetic chain has been reworked with a slightly reduced frequency (3.5Hz or 25,200 vibrations/hour) and elongated power reserve (72 hours). It is also fitted with an anti-magnetic silicon balance spring. Note that this movement has been developed specifically for the Heritage collection, with the small seconds sub-dial shifted downwards to respect the original proportions of the vintage models.
Availability & price
The Longines Heritage Classic with Black Sector Dial (ref. L2.8126.96.36.199 on a leather strap and L2.8188.8.131.52 on a steel bracelet) is now available from Longines’ website and retailers. It is priced at EUR 1,920, CHF 1,900 or USD 2,150 on a leather strap and EUR 2,120, CHF 2,100 or USD 2,350 on a steel bracelet. Longines also offers a 5-year warranty.
For more details, please visit www.longines.com.