In the past couple of years, Longines has been very effective in re-altering a portion of its most heavenly vintage watches. This incorporates, obviously, the Legend Diver , yet additionally the as of late launched Skin Diver , the Avigation Big Eye or the Lindbergh watches . Altogether, these create a strong, intelligible “Heritage” assortment. Probably the latest addition is pushing the idea even further… Vintage-motivated and faux-aging to the max is what you’ll get with the Longines Heritage Military, a re-release of the RAF-issued 6B/159 watch.
Background, the RAF 6B/159 watch
Longines is a brand with an important military background and conveyed watches to various armed powers around the globe. There were pilot’s watches, obviously, yet additionally field pieces – more relevant in the current setting. Longines was, in fact, part of the twelve brands that manufactured watches for the British Ministry of Defense. Essentially, the Dirty Dozen is a bunch of military watches – known as WWW’s (Watch, Wrist, Waterproof) – that were created for the British Military under the auspices of the MoD, during World War II. This wasn’t, be that as it may, the lone watch made for British forces.
Another watch made by Longines for British Royal Air Force Pilots (RAF) was the Longines 6B/159 Ref. 4830. Delivered from 1938 until the 1960s, this basic 3-hand watch was introduced in a 32mm steel or chrome plated case with a typical 1940s configuration (alleged Calatrava case) and bound spring bars. Some similarly planned watches can be found at Omega. The RAF-issued Longines 6B/159 was furnished with the hand-wound caliber 12.68N and featured a white/cream dial with black Arabic numerals and a railroad minute track. Time was indicated by blued steel hands.
Altogether a basic, reliable and profoundly readable piece that addressed an ideal example of WWII military pieces. The particularity of this model was that it came with an original light-shaded dial – most military watches had black dials with radium-painted markers. Shockingly for a pilot’s watch, the Longines 6B/159 didn’t feature luminescence.
The new Longines Heritage Military
What Longines has finished with its new Heritage Military isn’t simply a vintage-motivated watch or a cutting edge piece that features a portion of the plan components of the RAF-issued 6B/159… it is a genuine duplicate of the old model, with updated extents (and obviously, current mechanics and materials). We can’t talk about resemblance anymore, it goes past that. While researching this article and attempting to discover images of the old model, I continued having to ask myself… Was it the original RAF watch I was looking at or was it the new model? Really, this Longines Heritage Military is astonishingly realistic – maybe altogether too much, yet more on that later.
As you would expect, this new-old watch doesn’t retain the small diameter of the original piece anymore – a 32mm diameter would certainly be historically relevant, however unfortunately almost unimaginable commercially speaking. In any case, the Longines Heritage Military depends on reasonable extents, with a case that measures “only” 38.5mm across – which would have been a curiously large watch in 1940 however today is viewed as a rather small piece. Thickness is also reasonable, at 11.7mm, bringing about even proportions.
The shape of the case is also very near what was utilized in the RAF-issued watch, a shape that is typical to 1930s – 1940s military watches, or what was also known as a Calatrava case, in reference to the plan presented by Patek in the early 1930s, which made it to various watches later, including utilitarian field-issue pieces. This shape is characterized by a three-part case with a central part that remembers the hauls and a flat bezel for top. The Longines Heritage Military retains this plan, with a brushed central “container” with short, strong carries with rather sharp angles. The caseback, engraved with various indications, is strong steel. The large crown has a light diamond plan and is easy to operate.
Unlike the vintage RAF-issued 6B/159, the Longines Heritage Military is furnished with an advanced automatic development – and not a hand-wound caliber anymore. This certainly is, along with the sapphire crystal and the increased diameter, the major admission to advancement here. I would have wanted to see Longines diving in ETA’s catalog and utilizing a 2801 or a 7001, two of the hand-wound developments easily accessible inside the Swatch Group. It’s not really an issue however because the Caliber L619/888, based on the ETA A31.L01 that prepares the Heritage Military, is an extremely fair motor, with a comfortable force save of 64 hours and a recurrence of 25,200 vibrations each hours. It isn’t noticeable through an irrelevant sapphire caseback – valid statement – and it just displays the hours, minutes and seconds – surprisingly better point, as there’s no date!
The main talking purpose of the Heritage Military lives in its dial and hands. This is the place where Longines was genuinely propelled by the historical model, to the point of recreating some “faux-aging points” on the dial. The base is a gleaming cream tone with a marginally greenish tone. The railroad minute track, the large Arabic numerals, and a straightforward brand name – no logo – are all imprinted on the dial. All of that is historically relevant. Same goes for the hands, which are shaped like the original and made of blued steel. Altogether, an attractive dial.
We’ve seen the utilization of faux patina on files and hands – presently a beautiful standard practice on vintage-reissued watches – to copy the aging cycle on tritium or radium. All things considered, the main issue on the RAF-issued Longines is that the original watch didn’t feature radiant material… How was Longines going to give this watch a vintage feel? The idea was to recreate the aging interaction that happens on the dial by spraying some black paint. Accordingly, the dial is sprinkled with black dabs. I should say, it is quite persuading and resembles an old watch. Note that each watch is unique, as this spraying interaction is finished by hand.
On the wrist, the watch is even and really desirable. It has some presence in spite of its small diameter and the overall look is quite cool. The Longines Heritage Military is worn on a green upset leather strap, which then again adds to the antique look of the watch – for once, I should applaud the exertion made by the brand to offer a really gorgeous and intelligent strap.
What ends can we reach about the Longines Heritage Military? Most importantly, this piece isn’t a case concentrate in plan innovation… It is undoubtedly extremely, near the original watch. So close that this is the very reason why it has such inconceivable charm.
When it was first introduced a year ago, I was skeptical about this sprinkled dial, thinking that the “faux-aging process” had gone excessively far. Be that as it may, once it’s strapped on the wrist, it really works! Indeed, some will believe that it summarizes the lack of creativity as of late found in the watch business; yet others will basically cherish this watch. All in all, it is a persuading piece – for what it is: a vintage-enlivened watch. And such watches have their professionals and cons.
Price and availability
The Longines Heritage Military (ref. L2.8188.8.131.52) is currently available at retailers and is a non-restricted version watch. It is estimated according to Longines’ strategy, meaning a rather accessible cost of EUR 1,860.