Vintage, throwback, heritage. These are all words that have bombarded us regularly, and they can mean a variety of things. Most of it is simply marketing fluff, used to denote a particular look or design that may have no actual ties to history, and is simply made to look old (such as a forced patina on a case or “vintage-colored” lume). Then again, you do have brands coming to the table that do have some real history under their belts and can reference something from their own past rather than making stuff up. This what we can find in the just-announced Longines Heritage Military watch.
Based off of Longines cheap fake watches produced in 1918 (and currently part of their museum collection), the new Longines Heritage Military definitely looks the part, with clear lines going back to that original. This is most evident in the dial, with the 12 large numerals encircling things in a similar font. A welcome upgrade from the original is the Super-LumiNova that is utilized. We also have the running seconds subdial coming over from the original, albeit a good bit smaller. That’s not the only design tweak, though, and the next one is super unfortunate.
That honor would belong to the date window that they placed at 6 o’clock on the Longines Heritage Military. Why the designer thought that it would be a great idea to have the date window (a) cut into the subdial, (b) cut into the numeral 6, and (c) not be color matched to the dial, I will likely never know. What I do know is that it stands out, and not in a good way. The simplest solution here would have been to omit the date, which would hew even closer to the original. If, for some reason, it was deemed to be necessary, then it should have at least been color matched to the dial so it blends in better, and perhaps even shifted up more into the subdial to keep the 6 numeral whole.
So, yeah, I am definitely not a fan of that change. One change I do like on the new Longines Heritage Military is the handset. The original had the pomme-style, which fit that era. In a more modern watch, especially one as sporty-looking at this, they would be severely out of place. Here, the designer did a good job in picking out an older-looking style (slightly updated), that fit in thematically with the watch while improving legibility. While we’re on the subject of things I like about the Longines Heritage Military, I do also like the shape of the 44mm case, with a bezel that hearkens to the forbearer, and solid lugs sensibly replacing the wire of the original. As for the movement, it runs on a Calibre L615.3, which is based on the ETA 2895/2 movement. This gets the watch 42 hours of power reserve, so nothing to write home about but a solid movement.
On the whole, the overall look of the Longines Heritage Military series replica watch is not particularly bad. It has obvious roots in the history of the brand, and it carries the modernized vintage feel well. It is simply a shame that they spoiled what could have otherwise been a rather sharp dial with that unfortunate date window. Those not as dismayed about that particular design decision as I am can look to pick up your own Longines Heritage Military for $2,050. For the rest of us, here’s to hoping they make some adjustments in a future iteration of the reference.