The Swatch Group is one of the largest organisations in the lucrative world of horology. Over a period of many years they have acquired many watch component manufacturers including ETA SA. Currently ETA SA is a main supplier of mechanical movements (either assembled or as an ébauche) to many watch labels. In the next few years Swatch have made the controversial decision to cease trading to third parties. To many independent watchmakers this potentially has wide reaching implications that could have a serious impact on their business.
Within their vast portfolio The Swatch Group also own many prestigious watch labels, which are marketed at all price points. These companies include Breguet, Harry Winston, Blancpain, Glashütte Original, Jaquet Droz, Rado, Omega and Longines. Although I have featured a few brands within the group this is the first time I have written about Longines on Total Watch Reviews. Interestingly they have a history dating all the way back over 180 years. In 1832 Auguste Agassiz established the company in the idyllic location of Saint-Imier in Switzerland. To most people Longines is probably most associated with its Aviators and sports inspired watches. Amongst their many achievements they acted as the official timekeeper at the 1896 Olympics and designed a pilot watch for Charles Lindbergh. Since 1988 Walter von Känel has assumed the role of president for the business.
Although Longines produce many attractive watches one of my favourites is the Heritage Diver Chronograph. Prior to receiving this timepiece I had only seen images on the internet and in magazines. My first impression of the watch when it finally arrived is very positive. With a diameter measuring only 43mm (excluding the crown and pushers) the timepiece is well proportioned. I feel these dimensions should also appeal to a wide variety of buyers including the rapidly expanding unisex market. Generally I found the watch sat very comfortably on my wrist and I didn’t experience any friction from the lugs. Essentially this is down to the wonderful retro cushion case and choice of 316L stainless steel in production. Realistically the timepiece could be worn for both formal and casual occasions.
Visually the Heritage Diver Chronograph has a really stylish retro appearance that is clearly inspired by watches from the 1970’s. What makes the timepiece so cool is the brushed steel case and Dodecagonshaped (12 sided) slim line bezel. The black sunray semi-glossy dial perfectly contrasts with the raised Super-LumiNova coated indexes. I love the sporty silver sub counters (located at 3 and 9 o’clock) displaying the chronograph function. Other interesting details include the elegant hour/minute hands, large date window (at 6 o’clock), oversized crown and pushers. Overall I feel the design is successful and the finishing is first rate.
Beneath the robust exterior lies a modified self-winding mechanical movement sourced from ETA SA. The CaliberL651 (ETA 2894/2 base) comprises 37-jewels and oscillates at a frequency of 28,800 vibrations per hour (4Hz). Functionally the Heritage Diver Chronograph features hours, minutes, small seconds, date and chronograph facility. The watch also has a power reserve of 42 hours and is water resistant to a depth of 30 metres.
The Heritage Diver Chronograph has a textured black rubber strap with matching steel double security folding clasp. Priced at: $3,750.
For more information visit the company’s website: http://www.longines.com