Whenever a watchmaking brand has an icon in the books, it tends to protect it with great care and introduce new colours and small technical updates to keep things fresh. Such is the case with the, dare we say it, legendary Longines Legend Diver. A watch modelled after an important diver from the late 1950s, and now a true cornerstone model in the brand’s portfolio. And we’re quite happy with the way Longines has taken a more creative route in recent years, playing around with gradient dials and different materials. One thing was very much missing, though, which finally sees the light of day: a slightly more compact version, filling the gap between the rather large 42mm version and the feminine 36mm models. The Longines Legend Diver, regardless if we’re talking about the time-and-date or, more importantly, the no-date version, has always been a fairly large watch on the wrist. Not anymore, as we can finally share with you the brand new, largely revised Longines Legend Diver 39mm No-Date.
The present-day Longines Legend Diver is a recreation of ref. 7042, introduced in 1959. This iconic dive watch was a so-called compressor dive watch. Compressor dive watches have a clever gasket-and-spring system that compresses as the water pressure builds, effectively upping the water resistance as you go down. This has a limit, of course, and with modern technology and materials, the concept is somewhat outdated. However, the style of a compressor diver has not faded into history, as plenty of watches still offer a dual crown design with an internal rotating diving bezel, Longines included.
For years, we’ve had the choice between the 42mm Legend Diver (first without date, then with date) and the feminine Legend Diver at 36mm, but not anymore. Longines places the new 39mm Legend Diver right in the middle of the other two sizes. The design of the case has been slightly revamped, with a brushed and polished finish as a result. With the reduction in size and a redefined case shape, the lug-to-lug distance also gets cut, dropping from a massive 52.4mm to a far more acceptable 47mm. On the right side, we still get the signature double-crown setup for adjusting the time (bottom crown) or adjusting the inner rotating bezel (top crown). A domed box-shaped sapphire crystal covers the dial, while the movement is shielded by a closed caseback. And it’s reassuring that despite the more compact size, the Legend Diver has retained its 300m water resistance.
The design of the dial is left untouched and comes in a traditional black or more modern blue lacquered finish. It is split into two parts, with the sloped bidirectional rotating bezel acting as a dive counter, obviously. The inner section of the dial has raised Arabic numerals (ever so slightly) mixed with elongated markers and luminous squares and rectangles. Longines redesigned the hands, although they closely resemble the original ones. The arrow-shaped hour hand now has a full luminous insert instead of just the tip. The minute and seconds hand also have a new shape and a touch of Super-LumiNova. And perhaps best of all, there’s no date window.
Not content with just updating the visual elements of the Legend Diver, Longines also introduces an updated movement. The automatic calibre L888.6 comes with a bigger power reserve of 72 hours instead of the previous 60 hours that the L888.5 in the 42mm time-and-date Legend Diver had. It runs at a rate of 25,200 vibrations/hour and is a COSC-certified chronometer. It’s also fitted with a silicon balance spring to combat magnetic fields. As mentioned, the movement itself is hidden behind a solid caseback with a stamped image of a diver, which is always oriented correctly now.
This new intermediate-size Longines Legend Diver 39mm No-Date comes on a steel beads-of-rice bracelet or a choice of straps. The black dial is available on a vintage-styled brown leather strap with a steel pin buckle, while the blue dial variation can be worn on a blue NATO-style textile strap with a steel pin buckle. Regardless of colour, it retails for EUR 3,300 for the blue model on a fabric NATO strap and EUR 3,550 for the two versions on a steel bracelet and the black dial with a leather strap. As a comparison, the original 42mm model on a leather strap is still available at EUR 2,600.
For more information, please visit Longines.com.