Longines Heritage Diver 1967
In a previous post I listed the Longines Heritage Diver 1967 as one of my top three picks for someone looking for a high quality accessible luxury timepiece with enough street cred. The watch's bright red unidirectional bezel, reverse panda dial and the column wheel chronograph makes for a very reasonable choice.
So I decided to make it my first choice when shopping for a new watch. I visited the Longines boutique at Marina Bay Sands to have a closer look. This is my first impressions after seeing the watch in the metal.
The Longines Heritage Diver 1967 has a very distinct look. I was able to spot the bright red bezel from a mile away. Just like in the photos, the red bezel has a sheen that gives it a vintage vibe that's so hard to resist.
The rest of the dial was also up to expectations. The white sub-dials did make the hands a little hard to read though. The chapter ring presented itself in a bit of an off-white, which was great because you know that it'll age a little more than the sub-dials.
I mentioned the black date wheel used in the movement, and on closer look I really appreciated the effort by Longines to give the uneven "eyes" on the dial a little more prominence by silencing the albeit useful date window. White would have killed it, honestly (I of course am referring to the Black Heritage Monopusher Chronograph).
The case was well made and polished to a shine, its end links sitting snugly onto the rounded ends of the case. The pushers and the crown stuck out just right, and gave a certain amount of control for the user when he wants to use the chronograph or pull out the crown to adjust the time. The pushers are light to the touch, exactly like how I would expect a column wheel chronograph would be. I would imagine this watch to be a joy to manipulate without having to take it off the wrist.
One thing I really liked was the glass. True to its vintage inspirations, the flat top glass was stepped from the bezel, and looks truly authentic from the side. The sides of the glass sits at just the right height from the edge of the bezel and also above the dial to give it that much more depth. Bravo.
I'll start with the thing that bugs me most - the thickness of the watch. With in-house ETA providing the movements for one of their biggest brands (Omega being one other), you would think the Longines line of watches can come a little bit thinner. And it's not just the Longines Heritage Diver 1967 either - I had two other watches on my hand that evening and all three were pretty much on the thick side despite the two others being dress watches.
From the overly thick case, I will move on to the steel bracelet. The three link braclet has a brushed middle to the polished outside link, two trenches cut into the brushed portion to emulate the vintage feel. While this looks good on the press photos, the execution for the real thing appears to be a bit lacking. The differentiation between the brushed and polished parts is slight, and the trenches are a little too shallow for my liking. I was told that the rubber strap variation of the watch came at the same price, which is kind of odd to me, and that rules out the option of a price cut from not opting for a sub-par stainless steel bracelet.
Although it is understandable how you would want to retain as much vintage flavor as possible, I was a bit unsure about the use of the solid screw on case back for the watch. Sure, it's part of the diver series of the brand which traditionally features an embossed diver motiff, but with the decorated movement and brilliant blue chronograph column wheel, wouldn't it be a nice to have the diver motiff laser cut onto the display back instead?
Rounding up the list of downers for the Longines Heritage Diver 1967 is the rotating bezel. The first bit is a personal grudge of mine - unidirectional turning. While I admit that making watches dive-worthy is mighty important, makers of accessible luxury might consider a little allowance to allow their watches a little more practicality. I am a big fan of bi-directional turning, as it allows me to more easily use the watch to track the passage of time.
Another observation that I made also has to do with usability, this time with the actual turning of the bezel. The bright red bezel was made to flush with the stainless steel case, which makes using it a bit of a chore for me. If it were to be slightly protruded, I would have reworded and placed this paragraph in the previous section.
I went into the store with high expectations for the watch. The hype given to it by mainstream horology media was legendary and I had been waiting a while for it to reach Singapore shores. While the watch feels really well-made and sturdy overall, I have to say that it's in the details that will put me off buying.
The Longines Heritage Diver 1967 represents a turning of the watch market into one where the mid-level consumer and his average income can reasonably sway marketing and production decision, and it delivers on value and quality. But for someone looking for that sense of completion and absolute understanding of what constitutes a well-made watch, it falls ever so slightly short of what I would term a possible buy.
Not only must a watch look great, marques should also consider how it functions in the day-to-day. With cheaper Seiko Divers coming in high on functionality, looks and price, this Longines diver did leave me with a little more to be desired.
All in, I would still recommend the watch to someone looking for a great deal on a vintage-inspired piece that will last through the ages. It is no doubt a well-conceptualized piece that will more often awe than disappoint.
Longines Heritage Diver 1967
Longines Calibre L688.2 (ETA A08.231) column wheel chronograph
28,800vph with 54hrs reserve
300m water resistance
Central hour and minutes
12hr column wheel chronograph
42mm stainless steel case
Screw-on caseback with factory engraving
The watch was listed at S$4,770