Longines Legend Diver: A Look at the Popular Vintage-Inspired Dress Diver

Jul 20, 2020
Longines Legend Diver: A Look at the Popular Vintage-Inspired Dress Diver

For fans of vintage watches, sometimes reissues can be hit-and-miss. You’re excited to see a favourite vintage piece being reimagined with all the familiar features that you love without the fragility of the vintage original. At the same, you always feel that there’s something lacking with the new edition. Somehow, this isn’t the case with the Longines Legend Diver.

The recent re-editions of this beloved classic stay true to the original without losing their value on their own. It’s not surprising in a way, given that Longines has been upholding the virtue of heritage reissues successfully. Among them, of course, is the Longines Legend Diver.

Inspired by a ‘60s Diver

The inspiration behind the Longines Legend Diver is none other than one of Longines’ iconic divers — the Super Compressor Reference 7042. The 7042 features the legendary Ervin Piquerez SA (EPSA) case, a patented ‘fluid-tight’ watch case. It comes in a 42mm diameter with 100m water-resistance, and it is powered by the automatic calibre 19AS.

front view of Longines Diver Ref. 7042 watch

It has two crowns at 2 and 4 o’clock positions; the former is used to turn the internal bezel. The Super Compressor 7042 has a sleek and streamlined look, compared to your regular dive watches with external bezels. Hence, most watch enthusiasts call it a ‘dress diver’.

To the delight of the 7042’s fans, Longines launched the Longines Legend Diver in 2007. And just like the 7042, it comes in a 42mm stainless steel case with twin crowns, a nice engraving on the caseback, and a sleek, dress diver look. Two years later, in 2009, Longines came up with Legend Diver versions that feature a nice date window at 3 o’clock for a more modern touch.

And for some reason, the brand decided to discontinue the no-date versions, to the dismay of its fans, who thought that the no-date versions are a lot more faithful to the original. Nonetheless, the Legend Diver with Date becomes a crowd favourite.

Longines Legend Diver Watch on wrist
Photo from Longines

Longines Legend Diver: A Stylish Dive Watch

Unlike your usual bulky and very sporty-looking dive watches, the Longines Legend Diver is sleek and stylish. Just like its predecessor, it’s a dress diver that you can get away with wearing with your favourite suit for more formal-casual events.

The Dial

With a black lacquered dial, the Longines Legend Diver has one of the most interesting faces among dive watches. Despite its additional markings for its internal bezel, the dial remains sleek and clean. The colour variations are also kept to a minimum to keep the look uncluttered. The cream and silver tones against the black dial almost look monochromatic with a touch of vintage vibe.

dial of Longines Legend Diver watch

It features 6, 9, and 12 Arabic numeral markers, while the rest are thin indexes. At 3 o’clock you’ll find the controversial small date window; controversial in a way that some people like it and some people don’t. The luminous minute and second hands are also very thin, with the exception of the hour hand which features an arrowhead to allow for maximum readability. The polished hands give a better contrast against the dial, making it more legible from all angles. Only the Longines logo and the word ‘Automatic’ in a nice, cursive font, which is faithful to the original, adorn the dial. All these are protected by a domed sapphire crystal for maximum scratch-proof quality.

When it comes to its lume, however, this watch receives complaints that it’s not strong enough for a dive watch. The hour markers, the chapter ring triangle, as well as the hour and minute hands, are all coated with Super-LumiNova.

The Movement

At the heart of this vintage re-issue — tucked away within a solid caseback — ticks the reliable ETA 2824-2-based movement. It has 21 jewels and beats 28,800 per hour and boasts a power reserve of 42 hours! It also has hacking features — which allows for precise time setting, as well as hand-winding capacity — to let you charge the watch by turning the crown manually.

Some enthusiasts complain that Longines could have done better with the movement. But others are also quick to defend it, saying it is reliable and does the job well. The quick-set date feature is another plus to the watch, as well as its cost. By using the reliable ETA 2824-2 movement, the Longines Legend Diver is able to pare down the cost.

For a Swiss dive watch with a solid 300m water resistance, the Legend Diver is way affordable, compared to its contemporaries bearing in-house movements. What’s more, the ETA 2824-2 has a proven history of being a reliable and accurate movement. Later on, however, Longines decided to equip the latest models with the automatic Calibre L888, which is based on the ETA A31.L01 movement.

The Case

At 42mm, the case of the Legend Diver is considered big by some. But for a diver, it’s just the perfect size. It has longer lugs complemented by the two crowns at 2 and 4 o’clock positions. Although the lugs are bigger than usual, they are angled downward; hence, they still feel comfortable on the wrist. Another thing that’s special about the Legend Diver is that it features an internal bezel or internal turning diving flange, allowing for a more streamlined look of the watch.

case back of Longines Legend Diver watch

The Longines Legend Diver also has a screw-down crown and caseback, which makes it possible for the watch to enjoy 300m of water resistance. If you flip the watch over, you’ll find the solid caseback decorated with a skin diver engraving — another signature style of the Legend Diver.

The Strap/Bracelet

Now, on the strap. Many people find the strap interesting because it is padded. This could be one of the reasons why it sits comfortably on the wrist. Although it is synthetic, it has a nice felt-like cloth for its inner lining with contrasting stitching, giving it a bit of style. This is the reason why the watch stays put and has no sweating complaints from wearers. It also features the Longines signature buckle with cross-hatching and the winged hourglass logo.

Because it is stiff when it’s new, some people are quick to swap it for other straps — stainless steel or rubber —  without realising that if they give it some time, the strap will actually become soft and comfortable over time. Nevertheless, the strap is also one of the hit-and-miss features of this watch. Some people don’t like it, some people love it.

The Legend with No Date

As mentioned above, introduced in 2007, the first re-issue of the Longines Legend Diver has no date function. It was only in 2009 when Longines added a version with a date complication. By 2012, the brand stopped producing the no-date version, making it more in demand among watch enthusiasts and collectors.

side view of Longines Legend Diver watch with no date function

Some people prefer it over the new version with the date function because it is more faithful to the original and the dial is cleaner and more symmetrical.

Just like the latest versions, the Longines Legend Diver with no date comes in a 42mm stainless steel case with a black lacquered dial, inner bezel, mixed hands, and twin crowns. Instead of a date window, you have the Arabic numeral at 3 o’clock. It runs on the automatic ETA 2824-based movement and has a 300m water-resistance.

The 36mm Legend Divers

In 2018, Longines released a line of Legend Divers in 36mm versions for those who prefer their watches smaller, as well as for the ladies who opt for more sporty watches.

Last year, the brand introduced a simplified line with versions that come in the classic black dial, as well as a new gradated brown dial and mother of pearl dial. Longines decided to discontinue the more colourful versions introduced in 2018, including the burgundy, teal, and purple dial. All the watches retain the signature luminous Arabic numerals and indexes, polished hands, internal bezel, and a date window at 3 o’clock. They also have the standard 300m water resistance, sapphire crystal, twin crowns, and screw-down caseback with engraving. However, this time, the watches are equipped with a different movement than the 42mm versions. The 36mm versions are powered by the automatic Calibre L592 (based on ETA A20.L11) with a power reserve of 40 hours.

front view of Longines Legend Diver 36mm Black Dial watch
Photo from Longines

Black Dial 

Lending these Legend Divers a 20th Century vibe, the 36mm models with a classic black dial comes in a stainless steel case and a choice of either a Milanese stainless steel bracelet or a black synthetic leather strap.

front view of Longines Legend Diver 36mm Brown Gradated Dial watch
Photo from Longines

Gradated Brown Dial

The gradated brown dial versions come in either a stainless steel Milanese bracelet or a brown leather strap. The dial is meant to have the vintage ‘tropical’ vibe of real vintage watches due to continued and prolonged exposure to sunlight and other elements — hence, the gradated brown look.

front view of Longines Legend Diver 36mm Mother of Pearl Dial watch
Photo from Longines

Mother of Pearl Dial 

For the ladies who lunch and dive, the mother of pearl dial versions come in either a Milanese stainless steel bracelet or white leather strap. Either way, the design looks clean and elegant in and out of the water.

Suggested Longines Legend Diver 42mm Watches

front view of Longines Legend Diver Ref. L37744500 watch

1. Longines Legend Diver L37744500

The 42mm stainless steel case with a scratch-resistant sapphire crystal, a black lacquered dial, an internal bezel, and a black strap complete the signature look of the Legend Diver L37744500. The look is complemented by a screw-down caseback with engraving and a 300m water-resistance. The black dial features Super-LumiNova-coated Arabic numerals, indexes, and a date window at 3 o’clock. It runs on the automatic Calibre L888 movement, boasting 25,200 vibrations per hour and 64 hours of power reserve!

front view of Longines Legend Diver Ref. L37742509 watch

2. Longines Legend Diver L37742509

With the Legend Diver L37742509, the 42mm case comes in a stainless steel case with a black PVD coating. It is likewise protected by a scratch-resistant sapphire crystal and a screw-down caseback, boasting a 300m water-resistance. The black lacquered dial features the signature painted Arabic numerals and indexes with silvered polished hands, an internal bezel, and a date aperture at 3 o’clock. Powered by the automatic Calibre L888 movement, it boasts a power reserve of 64 hours. To complete the all-black ensemble, this diver has a black rubber strap with a double safety folding clasp. This one is truly a sexy, dressy diver.

front view of Longines Legend Diver Ref. L37744506 watch

3. Longines Legend Diver L37744506

Want a dress watch that doubles as a dive watch? Then the Longines Legend Diver L37744506 is for you. At 42mm, this is, of course, a tad bigger than your typical dress watch. But since it’s primarily a dive watch, you have a valid excuse for the slightly bigger size. The stainless steel case, black dial, and a matching stainless steel Milanese bracelet keep the watch looking elegant and sophisticated that you would never be able to tell at first glance that it is a dive watch. It has the standard black lacquered dial featuring the signature Arabic numerals and indexes, date window at 3o’clock, and the internal turning diving flange — all protected by a scratch-resistant sapphire crystal. It runs on the automatic Calibre L888 movement with 64 hours of power reserve. To top it all off, it has a water-resistance of 300 metres!

A Suave Dress Diver

Because it has a more dressy style, the Longines Legend Diver is suitable in and out of the water. Some people can even get away with wearing it with a suit, ala James Bond. Indeed, it is a stylish, very capable dive watch with a real vintage vibe. What’s not to like about it?

 

In the market for affordable yet quality pilot watches? Check out our feature on the Seiko Flightmaster here

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