Longines’s cult-favourite Legend Diver has received a period-correct makeoverJamie Weiss
I’m just going to go ahead and say it: the Longines Legend Diver is my favourite watch in Longines’ current range. It’s got the perfect combination of old-school looks and modern tool watch functionality – it might be a proper dive watch but it’s got a dressy, demure vibe that I think is utterly compelling. Since its introduction (or really re-introduction) in 2007, Longines has subtly tweaked the Legend Diver a few times over the years, but 2023’s update represents perhaps its most substantial yet, with this retro piece made to be even more faithful to the original Longines Diver ref. 7042 of 1959 from which it takes its inspiration.
The first big change the Longines Legend Diver has received is that it no longer features a date window. Over the years, Longines has introduced, then taken away the date window on the Legend Diver – but the original Diver ref. 7042 didn’t have one, so 2023’s update restores that design purity, which will no doubt please many enthusiasts.
Two dials are available for the new Longines Legend Diver, blue and black, both of which are made from a rich lacquer and feature white numerals, indices and Longines logos, as opposed to the faux-aged appliqués of previous models. Up until now, the Legend Diver range only included a blue dégradé dial option (which was pretty nice, mind you), but a full blue lacquer dial will no doubt be received warmly by Longines fans.
The other news item here with the Longines Legend Diver is a new case size. These two black and blue Legend Divers feature a Goldilocks 39mm size diameter, which sits smack dab in the middle between the 36mm and 42mm models in the preexisting range.
Interestingly, the ref. 7042 featured a 42mm case size, so shrinking it down to 39mm is more of a modern concession towards consumers looking for smaller case sizes. However, 39mm feels more retro, so while it’s not historically faithful, it kind of makes sense for this watch. At 12.7mm thick, it’s not strictly speaking that thin (the crystal is responsible for much of that height) but it wears pretty thin, slipping easily under my cuff.
The Longines Legend Diver’s fundamental case design remains mostly unchanged, with the exception of its case sides, which are now brushed, where previously the watch’s entire case was polished, and its lugs, which are now shorter and less angular.
Its two cross-hatched crowns – one for adjusting the time and one for operating the internal compression-style diving bezel – are also slightly shorter, with more pronounced ‘caps’. A noticeably boxed sapphire crystal with black metal plating and multiple layers of anti-reflective coating complete the package. The Legend Diver also remains water-resistant to 300 metres.
Under the hood beats Longines’ calibre L888.6. The L888 is a Longines-exclusive version of the ETA 2892-2, one of ETA’s premium range of movements, with the .6 being the latest version of the movement, which makes its debut here with the new Longines Legend Diver.
The L888.6 variant is COSC-certified, lacks a date window and boasts a silicon balance spring, which helps the movement offer magnetic resistance ten times greater than the ISO 764 benchmark standard. With a 72-hour power reserve, this is an extremely competent, reliable movement – there’s really not much one could complain about here.
Previously, the Longines Legend Diver’s sole steel bracelet option was a Milanese band – which, while it suited the aesthetic of the Legend Diver, wasn’t to everyone’s taste. Thankfully, 2023 has seen Longines introduce a super-slinky beads of rice-style steel bracelet for the Legend Diver, which still looks old-school but is extremely comfortable. It’s amazing how having integrated end links makes the Legend Diver look all that more premium.
My one criticism about the bracelet (and really about the Longines Legend Diver in general) is its lack of tool-free micro-adjustment. While it does have five positions for tool-assisted adjustment, not being able to change its length on the fly seems like a needlessly retro touch, particularly when so many comparable dive watches on the market at this price point do have tool-free micro-adjustment. However, the clasp itself works nicely and feels premium.
Alternatively, the Longines Legend Diver now also comes with an aged leather strap option. You probably wouldn’t want to swim with the leather strap, but it helps make the Legend Diver feel even more dressy than it already is. A conventional NATO strap is also available from Longines for the watch.
Adding a new 39mm case diameter to the range strengthens the Longines Legend Diver’s insane value proposition, as does its subtly more refined movement and svelte new steel bracelet. Personally, I didn’t mind the date window on the Legend Diver, but I will admit that removing it lets its handsomely symmetrical compression bezel design really shine. No word of a lie, this is a serious candidate for the next watch in my collection…
Longines Legend Diver pricing and availability
|Reference Number||L3.718.104.22.168/6 (black dial)
L3.722.214.171.124/6 (blue dial)
|Case Dimensions||39mm (D) x 12.7mm (T)|
|Case Material||Stainless steel|
|Water Resistance||300 metres, screw-down crown, tested with +25% overpressure as per ISO 6425|
|Dial||Blue or black lacquer|
|Straps||Steel beads of rice bracelet, brown leather, NATO strap|
|Movement||Longines L888.6, ETA 2892-2 base, automatic, silicon balance spring, COSC|
|Power Reserve||72 hours|
|Functions||Hours, minutes, seconds, internal timing bezel|
|Availability||Available now for enquiries|