Longines Heritage Diver Chronograph Automatic (Ref. L2.796.4.52.9) Swiss

The new Longines Heritage Diver Chronograph (Ref. L2.796.4.52.9) takes you in the same direction as their earlier cushion-shaped models: the gorgeous 1970s. If you have always wanted a watch in a “cushion” or, perhaps, “tonneau” body, but always thought that Panerai and TAG Heuer chronographs look a bit too tiring with their deliberately repetitive, run-of-the-mill design, this new model is surely the one to consider.

With its new Heritage Diver collection, the Swiss watchmaker makes yet another attempt at re-introducing to general public a number of their iconic timepieces from the days past. Probably based on their gorgeous Nonius chronograph model that the company has started selling in late 1960s, this is definitely not a re-issue in true meaning of the word: it is not only powered by a different caliber, but also features a slightly different dial. However, the new version of the old watch looks so great that, to my opinion, it must be considered by any serious fan of the brand.

Longines Heritage Diver Chronograph Automatic (Ref. L2.796.4.52.9) wristwatch

Compared to the original watch, the new Longines Heritage Diver Chronograph Automatic (Ref. L2.796.4.52.9) offers only minor differences that make the model slightly less “authentic”, but, well, more “historic” in the eyes of a normal buyer.

The first of all, the timepiece is now equipped with a self-winding Caliber L651.3 movement, which is based on the good old ETA 2894-2 ebauche (unlike many independent watchmakers, Longines being a subsidiary of the Swatch Group has an unlimited access to all the finest mechanisms that are produced by the conglomerate).

Longines Heritage Diver Chronograph Automatic wristwatch (Ref. L2.796.4.52.9, front)

The dial is also different. Still as black as a moonless night in tropics, it now features a trendy bi-compax layout (a small seconds indicator at 3 hours and a 30-minute chronograph totalizer at 9 o’clock) with the third sub-dial at 6 o’clock replaced with a more useful (but also quite small: a bull’s eye lens would really be useful in this particular case) date window.

The rest seems to be the same, which is great.

The stainless steel case still measures the same healthy 43 millimeters in width (the gadget measures around 45 millimeters in length, give or take) and is equipped with the same pair of polished chronograph push-pieces and a features a screw-in setting crown that seems to offer a tad more elaborated finish than the vintage model. The extra crown at 10 o’clock that allows you to manipulate the bi-directional rotating inner flange with luminous diving scale and a minute track is also on its rightful place.

Longines Heritage Diver Chronograph Automatic wristwatch (Ref. L2.796.4.52.9, front, black satin dial)

Oh, and the case is now machine-brushed. Accented by a mirror-polished dodecagonal bezel, it looks better than most of “tool” diving watches out there.

Defiantly classic and lovingly recreated, this is a very elegant timekeeper for a person that doesn’t plan to use it as a tool and plans to wear it with business attire more often than with a neoprene suit. Rated for 300 meters of water resistance, this is a jack of all trades that seems to master all of them.

If the 2013 Tudor Heritage Chrono Blue is either too small or too last year for you, this new Longines Heritage Diver may be a very nice watch to consider getting as diving season approaches its peak.

See also: Longines Heritage 1973 Chronographs (refs. L2.791.4.52.0 & L2.791.4.72.0)

Photos: Longines

WWR preliminary verdict

Originality 5/5
Build quality: 5/5
Usability: 5/5
Legibility: 5/5
Value for money: 5/5

Longines Heritage Diver Chronograph Automatic (Ref. L2.796.4.52.9) watch specification

Price: $3750 (MSRP)
Movement: Automatic, caliber L651.3 (base ETA 2894-2), Swiss Made
Number of jewels: 37
Movement frequency: 28,800 vph
Power reserve: 42 hours
Movement decoration: No data
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, date, chronograph, rotating inner bezel with diving scale
Case material: Stainless steel
Bezel material: Matches case
Crown material: Matches case
Case shape: Cushion
Bezel shape: Dodecagonal
Case size: 43.00 mm
Case height: No data
Lug width: No data
Dial: Black Satin
Numerals: None
Hour markers: Luminous, green Superluminova, rhodium-plated
Hands: Luminous, rhodium-plated
Water resistance: 300 meters
Strap: Black rubber strap with diving buckle in steel
Crystal: Sapphire, antireflective
Case back: Solid

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