Longines Heritage Diver 1967 reviewed
Oh boy, was I excited for this one.
I love retro divers. It started with the Longines Legend Diver, which I discovered in 2012. I visited my local Authorized Dealer to try it on for the third time and my sales guy explained to me the meaning of the Longines logo (more on that later). Well, I was hooked at that point and I bought the Longines Legend Diver WITH a date display. I later let that piece go but ended up buying the Legend Diver with NO date. I have used my Legend Diver in the ocean, in the pool, on the beach and in the boardroom. I really don’t like vintage watches. But I love the style of the 1960’s divers and a brand new “retro diver” really appeals to me. There are many nice examples and they are sporty and elegant at the same time.
When I was offered a chance to wear the brand new Longines Heritage Diver 1967 (L2.808.4.52.6) for a couple of weeks, I was all like, “Awwwww yy yy yeah!” The Heritage Diver 1967 made a splash (pun intended) at Basel in 2015. In many ways, I saw it as the bigger, more muscular brother of my Legend Diver. But before we get into that, let’s chat about Longines just a little bit.
Longines is an old company, with a rich watchmaking history. The Longines logo is said to be the oldest patented logo on Earth. The sands of time with wings supposedly means, “Le temps s’écoule, le temps s’en vole”, which means times fades away; time flies. This is so incredibly cool that it became a factor in my first Longines Legend Diver purchase. I have no problem admitting it — I just love this marketing stuff. I eat it up with a spoon. Let’s face it — when you spend a few grand on a useless toy for your wrist, you are also buying the image, the brand, and the lifestyle. In recent years, Longines have introduced a number of vintage-inspired retro timepieces. The Heritage 1935 stands out, as does the Heritage Military, just to mention a few. But I think the coolest of all is the Heritage Diver 1967. And I got to try it out…
The Heritage Diver 1967 (which I will call the HD67) is available with a leather strap, a rubber strap, or stainless steel bracelet. I was offered the version on a bracelet. I don’t want to focus too much on the style and visual details because you can look at the photos. But let’s point out a few features as we see how it fits on the wrist. I have a very large wrist at 7 3/8 inches, and this Longines is 42 mm, which was a concern for me. One of the most serious collectors, I know, always says that 42 mm is a perfect size — large enough to be impressive, but small enough that it will never go out of style. Unless it’s on MY wrist! However, the Heritage Diver is a retro piece and watches were smaller back in the 60’s. So the 42 mm size works well for me in this case. Plus, it’s 16 mm thick! That’s massive! And it gives the HD67 a real presence on my wrist. When I look down at the HD67 on my wrist, I see this huge piece of shiny, polished stainless steel strapped on down there and it feels masculine and macho. I love it. It’s beefy and feels rugged. After a week on my wrist, I found the size and proportions of the HD67 absolutely perfect. It fit under all of my dress cuffs (but not French cuffs), it was comfortable, and the crowns and pushers never once caught on my wrist. It is quite a heavy piece, but I got used to it and never felt it on my wrist most of the time.
On the bracelet, the Heritage Diver looks elegant and even dressy. The bracelet looks quite old-fashioned and adds to the retro feel. It definitely leans on the dressy side with its high polished parts. Look at the clasp! Isn’t that gorgeous? The bracelet has a built-in extension which allows you to lengthen it on hot days or during activity. I must say that, at first, I disliked the bracelet because it just looked too old school. But after wearing the HD67 with suits and blazers and dress shirts, I began to enjoy the shiny bracelet. For sure it is comfortable and it adds some bling to the piece, which makes it nice to wear with formal attire. The quality of the bracelet is top notch — the clasp requires huge significant effort to open and it feels rock solid.
That’s something I appreciated after wearing this piece for a while — the overall quality. It’s remarkable. This piece retails for just under $4,000. Now, for most people, a watch that costs $1,000, let alone $4,000, is very expensive. In the luxury watch world, however, $4,000 is very affordable. It is difficult to find a decent piece under 5 grand these days, yet this piece can be had for under 4 grand, loaded with impressive features and superior finishing. Here is an example — the dial. The black dial has a matte finish that gives a beautiful effect in the light. Another example is the slightly domed crystal. The Heritage Diver is sitting on my wrist as I write this, and it really does feel like a real luxury timepiece.
Now, let me run through just a few more features and impressions before we discuss the HD67’s performance. So what do you think of the look? I think the red bezel, with a white tachymeter scale between the bezel and the black dial, is magnificent. Then you have 2 white sub-dials, and a black date disc (rather than a white disc with black numbers). I mean, the effect is just magnificent!
I have to critique a couple of things, though. Do you notice how the two white sub-dials are uneven sizes? That bothers me a bit because it ruins the symmetry of the dial and unbalances the look. As well, The hands on the sub-dials are steel on top of silver and they are not legible at all. While the minute, hour and central seconds hands are just perfect, the sub-dial hands are too dainty in style. They don’t match with the other rugged hands. Now, the crown and pushers look the part- really rugged and functional. I found, however, that when I set the time with the crown or adjusted it, my finger would hit the reset pusher. These are all minor things and they really do not detract from the overall effect of the piece. One super cool feature is the date button. Rather than setting the date with the crown (and risking breaking the date mechanism by accidentally setting the date at the wrong “time”), there is a little button on the case at 11 o’clock. You have to press it with a small tool to change the date. This feels quite a high-end as a feature.
High-end features… let’s explore this theme. It uses an ETA movement made exclusively for Longines. With Longines and ETA both being owned by the SWATCH Group, you could call the Caliber L688.2 movement a quasi-in-house movement. It boasts a 54-hour power reserve and beats at 28,800 vph. The Heritage Diver 1967 is what I call an “all-dressed” watch because it is automatic, has a chronograph and a date display. These are all the tools that a man really needs on his daily timepiece (more on this later!). Sure, you could have a power reserve gauge or a flyback function. But with an “all-dressed” watch, you’re well equipped. Let’s say you’re cooking a serious Friday night dinner to go with a primo wine. You can keep track of the actual time and also use the chronograph to time your steaks on the BBQ. And with this Longines’ rotating bezel, you can simultaneously time your potatoes in the oven. This is a timekeeping tour de force! I hate rotating bezels, by the way. But as you can see, I have found a use for them. And this particular rotating bezel is sturdy, requiring a lot of force to move or knock out of position. So back to my original point- For an attractive price, the Heritage Diver 1967 offers a gorgeous, rugged piece with a (quasi) in-house chronograph movement and an impressive level of fit and finish. This piece can proudly sit at the table with the big boys. I almost forgot — the L688.2 is a column wheel chronograph. Such a chronograph, with its vertical clutch, allows the chrono’s seconds to start with minimal “jerking” or stuttering. This regarded as a bit more high end than “lesser” cam-activated chrono’s and it certainly works well on this Longines. Now, a column wheel chronograph has to be “integrated,” which means that it was designed from the ground up as a chronograph. This is held in higher regard by watch aficionados. Many cam-activated chronographs are “modular,” which means they began life as a three-handed movement and later had a chronograph module tacked on. Does this matter? Well, I once had a Tudor chronograph and, when I learned that its movement was a modular chronograph, I lost respect for it and traded it toward a grail. So, my point is that the HD67 packs quite a lot of timekeeping clout into its sub-$4,000 price tag.
The name, “Diver,” is misleading and, I think, too specific. With the tachymetre scale and racing pushers, this Longines looks more like a sports chronograph to me. It actually looks like a racing chronograph. And that’s the feeling it gives me. You’re not going to drop several g-notes on this thing to go scuba diving with it or keep precise time for covert missions. You’re going to buy it for the FEELING or VIBE it gives you. When I look at the Heritage Diver 1967 on my wrist, I am transported back to a more romantic age, sometime in the late 1960’s or early 1970’s. I am in Monaco for the Grand Prix. I am an engineer on Ferrari’s F1 team and I timing Chris Amon’s flying laps on my Longines chronograph during free practice. I am an important man with a glamorous job and I depend on my mechanical timepiece to get the job done. THAT’s the vibe I get from strutting around, wearing the Longines Heritage Diver 1967. With this being the holidays, perhaps I am even more nostalgic than usual…
How did the HD67 perform and feel after more than a week on my wrist? It consistently gained 8 seconds per day, which is totally acceptable to me. The HD67 is not a COSC certified piece and 8 seconds per day compares extremely well to other timepieces I have tested in this price range. The chronograph performed well, also- and it is very smooth to operate. The one thing I did not test was the power reserve, but I was happy with the accuracy.
One day, I was leaving the office wearing the HD67 and I ran into a client who always wears a Lange. He asked to see what was on my wrist because we always talk watches. You should have seen his admiration for the HD67 — the retro style really appeals to watch guys. The next day, I had a lunch meeting with a corporate banker, he stared at the HD67 the whole time. He never said anything, but I could see him wondering what was on my wrist. The HD67 combines style, presence, proportions and quality that command respect. And that’s how I FELT when I was wearing it. I felt like I had a serious timepiece on my wrist that could hold its own in any company.
I must say that, as the days went by, the HD67 began to feel much more at home with business attire than with hoodies and jeans. Yes, it is a rugged tool watch that can do it all. But it feels more in its element when dressed up for a big meeting or cocktail. The only things I would change about the HD67 are some minor cosmetic things. The quality, wrist presence, movement and case design are superb. If I had an HD67 in my own collection, it would get a lot of wrist time and it would see a lot of action in client-facing situations. For the price, you would have a hard time doing better than the Longines Heritage Diver 1967.