Owned by the dreaded Swatch Group, the Swiss watchmaker Longines enjoys a privileged status when it comes to calibers that power their watches, with some calibers being designed (or at least modified to offer some unique functionality) by ETA exclusively for the brand. This new Longines Heritage 1940 (Ref. L2.767.4.13/53.2), however, is powered by a mass-produced job that is normally reserved for (a lot) less expensive timepieces although even brands of higher pedigree sometimes are not shy of using one.
Featuring the pretty standard 42 hours of power reserve and beating at a common frequency of 28,800 vibrations per hour, the Longines caliber L615.3 self-winding movement is based on the well-known ETA 2895-2 ebauche (we have seen its modified version, for example, in the last year’s beautiful Omega Seamaster 1948 London 2012 Limited Edition), which, in its own turn, is a version of the well-known caliber ETA 2892 with the traditional central seconds hand replaced with a small seconds display.
Still, it must be noted that when the machine is used by brands like Omega, it usually subjected to a lot more rigorous quality control procedure and is often “upgraded” to higher specs by using more expensive components, like more effective shock absorption systems, for example. They are also more thoroughly regulated at the factory to better keep time, so, when I say that such and such mechanisms are “also” used by Omega or Blancpain, it doesn’t usually mean that they use them on an “as is” basis. This L615.3, for instance, is built to higher specs than the usual run off the mill 2895-2 that you may find inside a watch like, say, Xetum Tyndall, but I am fairly positive that is simply not in the same league with the Omega 2202 caliber that powers the aforementioned Seamaster 1948 limited edition model.
Like many 180th Anniversary models that were recently presented by the brand, the new Longines Heritage 1940 features a vintage-inspired design that reminds me of deck watches from the first half of the 20th century. It looks like the design is swiftly becoming sexy again.
For better readability, the timekeeper is equipped with blued steel hands that look very contrast on its white lacquer dial (there is also a version with black dial and rhodium-plated hands, which is also very easy to read), a set of bold-looking Arabic numerals and a nicely executed slide rule-style minute track.
Although the watch is presented in a very small (by today’s standards) stainless steel body of just 38.5 millimeters in diameter, it sports a rather thick bezel that makes the dial smaller than it should be: just by looking at it I get a mild case of claustrophobia.
The setting crown, which is placed in the usual position at 3 o’clock, is also quite small and, what’s even more important, very thin. I am not sure whether it will be comfortable enough to operate if you don’t play the violin or a similar musical instrument that requires especially thin and sensitive fingers.
Well, besides these minor design mistakes I don’t see any other significant flaws in this model. This Longines Heritage 1940 seems to be a well-balanced, modestly proportioned and, what is the most important, a discreet watch: a feature, which is particularly relevant now when conspicuous consumption is clearly out of fashion. Also, at a price of just $1800, it is almost a steal.
Longines Heritage 1940 Small Seconds (Ref. L2.767.4.13/53.2) specification
Price: $1800 (MSRP)
Movement: Automatic, Longines caliber L615.3, (based on ETA 2895-2 ebauche), Swiss Made
Number of jewels: 27
Movement frequency: 28,800 vph
Power reserve: 42 hours
Functions: Hours, minutes, small seconds, date
Case: Stainless steel
Size: 38.50 mm
Dial: White or Black lacquer
Hour markers: Black
Hands: Stainless steel (blued or rhodium-plated)
Water resistance: 30 meters
Strap: Black alligator leather strap with steel buckle