Every watchmaker has its own area of expertise, refined over decades or even centuries. Some are known for their dive watches, others for dressier pieces with exquisitely decorated movements. In the case of Longines, which has been making mechanical watches in St-Imier, Switzerland since 1832, its greatest strength is creating new pieces that combine vintage design with modern reliability. Drawing from a deep archive of historical references (which include the world’s first wrist chronograph and the world’s first GMT movement) the Longines Heritage models update these classic designs with modern case sizes and movements, making them the best of both worlds.
Longines Conquest advertisement from 1955.
Longines started experimenting with waterproof cases in the late 1930s. By the 1960s, it had a solid line of dive watches for weekend warriors and professional frogmen alike. This one is a direct descendent of 1964’s Super-Compressor Diver’s watch, which featured a rotating internal bezel (adjustable via the second crown) and was waterproof to 200m. The Legend Diver has all of the unique style of the original, with the added benefit of 300m of water resistance and a silicon balance spring for added accuracy. $2,900
Back in 1954 when Longines established its Conquest line, it was the gold standard for style and accuracy. Sixty-five years later, the Conquest Heritage — adapted for modern tastes with a 40mm case and automatic movement — represents all of the luxurious understatement of that bygone day. It’s not the kind of watch you wear every day, but it is the kind of watch that makes every day you wear it feel like a little more of an occasion. $2,900
In 1955, Longines put out a company-wide call to name its newest creation: a wristwatch combining the latest advances in accuracy with a sleek, space-age design. The winner, “Silver Arrow,” was inspired by the silver Mercedes-Benz race cars that were dominating motorsport circuits in Europe at the time. Like the original Silver Arrow, this recreation features a box-shaped crystal and silver opaline dial with striated indexes and sword-shaped hands, plus the modern addition of SuperLumiNova for improved low-light visibility. $2,700
Heritage Classic Chronograph
One of the best things about vintage watches is the huge range of interesting dial designs and configurations to be found. This is a great example of one of those archival treasures, with a “tuxedo dial” inspired by 1930s Longines models. Unlike early chronographs which were manually wound, this one features an automatic movement with a 54-hour power reserve, making it ideal for everyday wear. $3,950
Sometimes less really is more. The Longines Heritage 1945 proves this, packing a ton of detail into a simple three-hand watch. At first glance, it combines the sturdiness of a steel case with the warmth of a brushed copper-toned dial and distressed leather strap. Other details, however, like the blued steel leaf-style hour and minute hands and baton-style small second subdial add even more refinement. Alternating Arabic numerals and silvery cabochons (respectively traced and stamped onto a convex dial) complete the design. $2,350