Founded in 1832, Longines is among the oldest registered watch brands in the world. It’s no wonder that the company has a sizeable portfolio of faithful reissues in its Heritage collection. Look no further than the Avigation BigEye, Legend Diver or Type A-7 for recent examples. The Longines Heritage Military 1938 is the latest piece to join the collection with a design faithful to the 1938 original, albeit with a few modern touches. First produced at the cusp of World War II, it features all of the hallmarks of a wartime piece.
The stainless steel case has a contemporary diameter of 43mm: surprisingly, that was the exact size of the 1938 original as well! It was certainly ultra-oversized for the time. The case has a mix of polished and brushed elements, and the crown features the same “sea urchin” shape as the 1938 piece (and is just a hair thicker). Think of it as an onion crown that’s been stepped on. It doesn’t screw down and the watch is water-resistant to just 30 metres, but that’s fitting for the era. A modern sapphire crystal with multiple anti-reflective coatings is surrounded by a thin polished bezel that gives the dial an expansive presence. Two 20mm straps are offered with the watch – a patinated charcoal grey leather and cognac-coloured NATO-style leather. A replacement tool is also included.
The matte dial contrasts well against the bold Arabic numerals coated with cream Super-LumiNova, providing a faux patina. The numerals butt up against the outermost railroad track as seen on the original dial, not migrating inward for a more modern approach. A large seconds sub-dial sits at 6 o’clock and is a bit smaller in diameter than its original counterpart, but features the same vintage serif font. Longines, fortunately, didn’t add a date window as seen on a comparable piece released in 2013. The baton-style, polished rhodium-plated hands have Super-LumiNova inserts that closely match the original’s aesthetic.
The large diameter allows for a vintage (although not period correct) hand-wound ETA 6498-2, which has been modified and relabeled the Longines Calibre L507.2. It has 17 jewels, beats at 21,600vph (3Hz) with a 53-hour power reserve. Functions include central hours, minutes and sub-dial seconds at 6 o’clock. The ETA 6498-2 is an upgrade from the 6498-1 that beat at a lower 18,800vph (2.5Hz). Both are essentially pocket watch movements with a large 36.6mm diameter.
The Longines Heritage Military 1938 is a limited edition of 1,938 watches and priced at USD 2,450 or EUR 2,320. More details at www.longines.com.