HANDS-ON: The Longines Ultra-Chron revives the first-ever hi-beat diver from 1968 HANDS-ON: The Longines Ultra-Chron revives the first-ever hi-beat diver from 1968

HANDS-ON: The Longines Ultra-Chron revives the first-ever hi-beat diver from 1968

Zach Blass

Heritage revivals are all the rage right now, and the manufacture that really kicked off the trend was Longines – the entire heritage collection range is devoted to digging into their rich archives and resurrecting their historic designs. From the Heritage Military to the BigEye Avigation Chrono to the Legend Diver (among others), their heritage designs have enjoyed tremendous success over the years. Today, we have a new installment into the heritage collection: the hi-beat Longines Ultra-Chron.

The case

Longines Ultra-Chron

Longines has long invested in hi-beat technology. They outfitted hi-beat calibres into their watches as early as 1914 in a pocket watch and were the first to include a hi-beat movement for a wristwatch in 1959. But in 1968 they also released the first dive watch to use a hi-beat movement. The new Longines Ultra-Chron finds itself in a cushion-shaped, stainless-steel case 43mm in diameter that’s 13.6mm thick. While 43mm may seem large, its saucer-like cushion shape is far more wrist-friendly then its diameter suggests – believe me, I have a tiny wrist and it wears well on mine. Its case, on its top and sides, features a rich satin brush, with the shoulders of the lugs featuring a mirror-polished bevel. Surrounding the dial, you have a highly scratch-resistant bezel with a sapphire insert. The black bezel incorporates a full timing scale, with red hashes throughout and white numerals and triangle lume plot.

The dial

Longines Ultra-Chron

The dial matches the colour scheme of the bezel, with a black dial that utilises a rhodium-plated central hours hand and a red central minutes hand. The grained texture of the dial creates the time-capsule vibe that buyers love about heritage designs, creating vintage sensibilities for the modern watch. Also further driving home the heritage nature of the novelty is its applied “Ultra-Chron” logo at 6’, perfectly mimicking the style of the logo found on the original diver. Rhodium-plated applied indices convey each of the hours, and each, like the central hours and minutes hand, are filled with SuperLuminova® for visibility in darkness. Now the dial purists watching this will likely have already noticed, but missing from the dial, in line with the original, is a date complication – keeping a clean, symmetrical layout and aesthetic.

The straps

Longines Ultra-Chron

There are two configurations you can purchase the Ultra-Chron in. The first, which would be my pick, includes a stainless-steel bracelet. The second option is a brown leather strap instead of the bracelet. A third option exists where you can purchase either the bracelet or leather strap, which comes in a special wooden presentation box along with recycled black NATO strap with a central red stripe. Personally, I am a bracelet guy and, considering it is a dive watch, don’t particularly love the idea of wearing it on leather. But if leather is your jam, considering getting the additional NATO strap so you’re covered off for any aquatic adventures you might have planned. A strap-tool comes with each of the wooden box options allowing you to switch between the respective pair of straps.

Longines Ultra-Chron

The movement

Inside the watch, underneath the engraved solid caseback, is the automatic Longines calibre L836.6 – a 36,000 vph, or 5Hz, hi-beat calibre with an anti-magnetic silicon hairspring and a power reserve of 52 hours. The calibre is also highly accurate, certified by TIMELAB as a “ultra chronometer”. This means the movement is tested to run within +6/-4 seconds cased, over a 15 day period under three different temperatures: 8, 23, and 38 degrees celsius – ultimately meeting the ISO 3159 standard.

Longines Ultra-Chron pricing and availability:

The Longines Ultra-Chron is available now for purchase via authorized dealers, Longines boutiques, and

Brown leather strap $4,800 AUD

Brown leather strap in a special wooden box with a NATO strap $5,275 AUD

Stainless steel bracelet $5,200 AUD

Stainless steel bracelet in a special wooden box with a NATO strap $5,600 AUD