Directly inspired from a diving watch made at the end of the 1950s, the Legend Diver Watch is a reminder that, in spite of its emblem – a winged hourglass – and its ties to aviation, Longines does not only cater to pilots.
Back in 1937, waterproof cases were already a field in which the brand was making a name for itself with the creation of the first chronograph in the world with water-resistant push-pieces. A few years later, between 1942 and 1943, the brand introduced the Longines H.S (Hydrographic Survey) for the British Royal Navy Frogmen. In 1958, Longines equipped the Skin Diver model with all the technical features of “modern” diving watches.
Longines Legend Diver Watch: two crowns for the queen of the seas
The original Longines Diver was launched in 1959. At the time, the watch benefited from a patented technology called “Compressor” or “Super-Compressor”. This specific model uses the increasing water pressure as the diver goes deeper to tighten a seal integrated to the case and to guarantee the waterproofness of the watch.
Another technical characteristic of this timepiece – which makes it stand out for its design – is that it comes with two crowns. This distinctive feature is owed to the calculation system of diving time. There is no external turning bezel on this model, but an inner turning bezel, calibrated for 60 minutes, which goes around the dial. Since it is protected inside the case, an additional crown is needed to operate it.
A huge difference
Back then, the Longines Diver also stood out because of its diameter of 42 mm, which must have seemed huge since cases at the time were rarely bigger than 38 mm.
The distinctive features of the diving time calculation system and of the oversized case played a part in making this atypical watch a real legend at Longines.
A Longines diving watch which is as popular as ever
One look at the secondary watch market today is enough to see that this model, which is still made by the brand with current reissue pieces, is one of the most sought-after Longines watches.
On online sites, such as chrono24 or in stores specialized in second-hand, prices often range from €10,000 to €13,000, and can go even higher for the most splendid vintage timepieces.
During auction sales, the watch is also very successful and you can always make a good deal if your timing is right. For instance, in March, at an Antiquorum auction in Hong Kong, a steel timepiece, with a tropical dial, was sold 70,000 Hong Kong dollars (€7,490). That’s for one lucky buyer!
The Longines Legend Diver Watch goes brown
After the steel model with the black dial – like the original – and the bronze model with the green dial, the winged-hourglass brand issues this year its best-seller in blue, but also, and more importantly, in a dazzling shade of brown.
Brown is not a very common colour in watchmaking. Otherwise, the dial is called “tropical” and it is mainly found in old, washed-out timepieces. In watches which have spent too much time in the sun and have seen better days.
In this case, the lacquered look really suits the old-fashioned style of the reissue watch. It gives a very beautiful graduated shading that gets lighter towards the centre. The lighter brown leather strap, with its older look and beige topstiches, perfectly add to the vintage appeal of the timepiece.
Vintage style, modern performances
While today’s Legend Diver Watch looks exactly the same as the original model, it benefits from the technical innovations of modern watchmaking.
The specific features and the 42 mm diameter are the same, the hands look identical, the case back is embossed with the same diver… However, performances are very different.
For instance, the waterproofness went from 200 m to 300 m, the sapphire crystal box obviously replaced the plexiglass, and the luminescent squares (previously tritium) are now made out of Super‑LumiNova.
As for the mechanics, the watch has an automatic movement with a silicon springbalance, as the well-known high-tech non-magnetic is used more and more by brands for the fragile parts of the calibers.
THE answer to THE question
Two screw-in crown: beautiful, original, but what for? The crown at 10 o’clock can operate the inner rotating bezel while the other, at 4 o’clock is used to set the time and date. This appealing and original feature is also a distinctive characteristic of the Super-Compressor watches.
Also read these articles about other reissue Longines vintage watches