Original vs. Reissue: Longines Legend Diver

Reinventing the Old with the New

Vintage reissues have become an increasingly popular offering in the modern market. Whether commemorating an anniversary or reviving a beloved edition, brands are making vintage reissues a regular part of their catalogs. For some vintage purists, these reeditions can be polarizing. However, many would argue that reissues combine the best of both worlds. They have the charm of the past with the best new materials and technical advancements the market has to offer. Every so often, there’s a reedition that pleases both sides of the fence – a model that hits that sweet spot. It truly captures the essence of its vintage predecessor. It also has just enough modern touches to appeal to the contemporary collector. One such example is the Longines Legend Diver.

The Original Longines Legend Diver

The roots of the Longines Legend Diver date back to the 1960s during the heyday of amateur and professional diving. The brand’s dive watch efforts began with the Nautilus Skin Diver in the late 1950s. By the next decade, the sport of diving was continuing to increase in popularity. In turn, the demand for dive watches grew. The next moment in the Legend Diver’s origins came in 1961 with the creation of the twin crown Super Compressor. This revolutionary design offered a new approach to the dive watch. It featured a unique internal bezel housed under a thick, domed, acrylic crystal.

Some of the most famous models showcasing the distinctive Super Compressor are the Jaeger LeCoultre Polaris and the Longines Reference 7042. Upon its debut, the Ref. 7042 quickly gained a cult following. While other dive watches of the era boasted bright colors and uniquely sporty shapes, Longines offered something different. The Ref. 7042 was more refined and struck a perfect balance between design and functionality. Over three decades later, Longines used the Ref. 7042 as inspiration for a new collection: the Legend Diver or LLD. They debuted the first model in the line in 2007 as part of the Heritage Collection.

The Longines Legend Diver Reissue

The new incarnation of the Ref. 7042 has seen a number of editions since its initial release in 2007. Each has maintained the original model’s unique signature feature – the Super Compressor design. Many have also preserved its oversized 42mm proportions. However, Longines has also introduced a smaller 36mm variation geared toward women. In addition, there have been a number of other updates within the collection over the years. One notable example is the 10th anniversary edition released in 2017. This model debuted the addition of an all-new Milanese bracelet to the line. Longines has continued to incorporate this bracelet style in other iterations, such as the latest edition. At Baselworld in 2019, the brand introduced an all-black, PVD coated version of the LLD with a rubber Milanese strap. Along with the new colorway, the PVD coated LLD incorporates the brand’s exclusive L888 Caliber with a 64-hour power reserve. This is an upgrade from the original Longines Caliber L633, which only offered a 38-hour power reserve. 

Choosing the Best Model for You

The LLD is one of few models on the market where you can’t go wrong with the original or reedition. Some of the latest models, like the PVD variation, are arguably more avant-garde and trendy than the original. However, you can still get a vintage reissue that captures the charm of the Ref. 7042. When it comes to choosing an original LLD in the pre-owned market versus a LLD reissue, it’s a tough call. Vintage models are inevitably going to come with wear and tear. You might also find that other technical features, like water resistance, may fade with age. However, authentic vintage models are rare. On the other hand, a vintage reissue that so closely matches the original also has its own merits. There are enhanced technical features and design options. It really comes down to your personal preference.

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