Longines successfully taps into the current vogue for retro reissues
It’s not every day that a watch writer gets to be part of the story but that’s exactly what happened with US watch website Hodinkee’s founder Ben Clymer. A year before the Longines Heritage 1945 wowed the crowds at Baselworld, Ben was contacted by the brand after it saw his Instagram post of a time-only vintage Longines with a distinctive salmon-coloured dial and small seconds sub dial. Ben was asked if the Longines museum could take a look at his watch; a request with which he obliged.
Hodinkee’s founder Ben Clymer’s original vintage Longines watch – the inspiration for the Longines Heritage 1945
Fast forward to Baselworld 2017 and Ben was told that he might see something he liked at his press appointment. What he was presented with was this Longines Heritage 1945, or as Ben put it in his post on Hodinkee: “It’s my watch. Only new”.
Having a closer look
While it is hard, having heard this watch’s origin story, to avoid making comparisons, it is only fair to consider it on its own merit before mentioning what’s changed. Taken at face value, this is a timepiece that perfectly taps into the current vogue for retro reissues.
Longines Heritage collection has always been a repository for some absolute classics from the brand’s back catalogue. There’s the Lindbergh Hour Angle Watch – a reboot of a famous watch that was developed for the US pilot Charles Lindbergh in 1931 – the Longines Weems Second-Setting watch, which is a tribute to the navigation system devised by Captain Philip van Horn Weems and the Longines Twenty-Four Hours, which was originally designed for Swissair pilots in the 1950s.
This Longines Heritage 1945 sits at the more pared-back end of this collection and indeed the entire brand’s back catalogue. The six Arabic numerals are in a neat, sans serif font, while the other six are represented by small dots. The blued hands provide an elegant counterpoint to the brushed champagne dial and the rugged, scuffed leather strap look straight out of an officer’s tool kit.
It is a design that feels practical, solid; a real everyday wearer that looks as if it can withstand the knocks of daily life. There’s nothing not to love about it which is why it was Shortlisted for Watch of the Year under £2,000 in the Eve’s Watch Awards 2017 in association with Urb-it.
The 38mm case has been upped to 40mm, the movement is automatic rather than manual wind and the dial colour is more champagne than salmon. However all the vintage elements are in there that made Ben’s original watch such a cool-looking piece.
You can easily see why Longines wanted to get its hands on it and tweak it to appeal to modern audiences. One big box tick here though is that Longines resisted the urge to add a date; something it did with the 2016 reissue of its Legend Diver to mixed reviews.
On the wrist the Longines Heritage 1945 is a beautiful watch that is wonderfully simple but with enough detail for you to wear it every day and still notice new things that will just make you love it more.