Five Sporty Longines Watches That Won’t Break The Bank
Passion for flying, military history, or diving? We have you covered.
Originally published by Cait Bazemore on HODINKEE, January 21st, 2021
Through a history that spans over 175 years, Longines has developed an expansive catalog, and in that time, accessible sport and tool watches have been a notable area of emphasis. In the 1940s and ’50s in particular, Longines became a crucial supplier to military forces, namely the British Army and Royal Air Force as well as other Allied forces, proving the robust nature of the brand’s watches as indispensable tools. Today, Longines’ primary focus has shifted to civilian models, but the influence of the brand’s military past remains evident in both the design and quality of its modern watches. Today, we’re excited to introduce you to five new Longines watches from three different collections, all of which reflect the incredible quality and value that has become synonymous with the Longines name.
The first is the brand’s newest addition to its Sport collection, the Spirit line. While not part of Longines’ Heritage lineup, the Spirit line continues to draw from the brand’s past models with a distinctly retro and military-inspired look in three exciting colorways. In addition, we have the Longines Military Marine Nationale, a compelling example of a vintage re-issue. And last but not least, we have the brand’s latest variant within the popular Legend Diver collection, now in bronze for the first time and with the notable absence of a date display. Each of these impressive models is now offered in the HODINKEE Shop.
The Spirit Prestige Edition Watches
Initially launched in 2020, the Longines Spirit line joins popular watches like the Hydroconquest dive watch within the brand’s Sport collection. The all-new Spirit line contains a selection of several models, including the Spirit Prestige Edition watches we have here today. This set of three, 40mm three-handers with dials in sunray blue, matte black, and grained silver colorways expand Longines’ sport and tool watch lineage into the realm of pilot watches with a balance of vintage-inspired and contemporary elements.
Despite the elements that pull from the brand’s early pilot watches, like the design of the typeface and crown, the Longines Spirit Prestige Edition watches are thoroughly modern. In addition to traditional black, the brand has presented the unique option for a sunray blue or grained silver dial. This contemporary twist on the classic pilot watch design adds to the versatility of these watches whether you have a passion for aviation and pilot watches or not. The modern upgrades continue under the hood with a COSC chronometer-certified movement, Longines’ own L888.4 based on ETA’s A31.L11. This automatic movement comes equipped with a silicon hairspring and offers a power reserve of 64 hours as well as a date function conveniently located at three o’clock. For under $2,700, you’ll be hard-pressed to find another sport watch with a COSC-certified movement and date complication, a stainless steel bracelet, and the sweet-spot sizing of 40mm – the Spirit Prestige Edition watches truly check all the boxes.
The Military Marine Nationale
Aside from the proportions and movement, the new Military Marine Nationale is a nearly exact replica of the Longines ref. 5774 produced for the French Navy (aka Marine Nationale) following World War II. The original ref. 5774 featured a more modest case size, around 33mm, and a hand-wound movement, the brand’s historical caliber 12.68N. While Longines has given the modern watch larger, more contemporary proportions and an upgraded movement, it’s an otherwise striking homage to the 5774 with an accessible price tag of only $2,000.
The modern example features a highly wearable 38.5mm stainless steel construction, including a solid steel caseback. The dial boasts a sandblasted beige hue with a subtly grained surface, a lume-filled blue steel handset, and the minimal black text showcased on the ref. 5774: the Longines name and “Fab. Suisse” for “Fabrique Suisse” or “Swiss Made.” In addition, the dial features bold, black Arabic numeral hour markers framed by a black minute track marked in five-minute intervals. The typeface differs slightly from the original reference while remaining highly legible and true to the watch’s military roots.
Inside the Longines Heritage Military Marine Nationale, you’ll find the new L888 caliber that’s built exclusively for the brand by ETA. The basic L888 is based off an ETA A31.L01, features an anti-magnetic silicon balance spring, and offers a 64-hour power reserve.
The Legend Diver In Bronze
The original Legend Diver, first released in 2007, is a powerful – and popular – example of a vintage reissue done right. From the proportions to the legibility of the dial to the faithful spirit of this watch’s design, it ticks all the right boxes. With each subsequent iteration since its initial debut nearly 15 years ago, Longines has continually nailed the execution of a modern interpretation of one of its most loved dive watches from the past: the ref. 7042, one of the great vintage tool watches of the 1960s.
The Legend Diver in Bronze builds on the foundation of the original with a new case material and the highly anticipated removal of the date display – a first for the line since the date function was added in 2012, and a choice that helps brings this bronze model closer to the original ref. 7042. It also features the Super Compressor-style case of the ref. 7042, which has become a trademark of the collection, as well as the functional and stylish internal rotating bezel for measuring elapsed time underwater. To complement the warm bronze construction, Longines equips the new Legend Diver with a green dial. This provides the perfect backdrop for the bronze-colored markers and hands, finished in a sandblasted rose tint to coordinate with the case material.
Powering the Legend Diver in Bronze is the same caliber L888 self-winding mechanical movement seen in the Military Marine Nationale. Longines recently updated the movement of the Legend Diver with this new L888 caliber, which is built exclusively for the brand by ETA. Where the watch was previously powered by the ubiquitous ETA 2824-2, the upgraded Legend Diver has received this unique design that’s based off an ETA A31.L01 and, once more, offers a 64-hour power reserve. With this advanced movement, the Legend Diver in Bronze comes in at $3,000.
Discover The Newest Longines Watches To Hit The HODINKEE Shop
Whether your passion is flying, military history, or diving, you’re sure to appreciate the latest selection of Longines models in the HODINKEE Shop. Perhaps you’ve been a fan of Longines and long-awaited the perfect pilot watch to enter their collection. No matter if you opt for the more classic black iteration or one of the more uncommon sunray blue or grained silver colorways, the Spirit line goes beyond strictly utilitarian styling and makes for the ideal everyday wrist companion.
If you’re looking for a true military-inspired model, you’ll be hard-pressed to find one as authentic as the Military Marine Nationale. Or maybe the Legend Diver has always caught your eye, but you’ve been holding out for the removal of the date display. Perhaps you’ve simply been looking to expand your collection to include the bronze trend. Either way, the Legend Diver in bronze is a great choice for someone who loves the look and feel of a vintage timepiece but requires a robust modern option that can stand up to the rigors of daily wear. Head over to the HODINKEE Shop to choose the Longines watch that best suits you.