The Longines Flagship Heritage Moon-Phase embodies old-school charm


The Longines Flagship Heritage Moon-Phase embodies old-school charm


As one of the Swatch Group’s entry-level powerhouses, Longines has a catalog comprising almost every style of contemporary watch you can imagine. Therefore, it is a pleasure to welcome the moon phase complication to the beloved Heritage line.

The biggest brands tend to have their iconic pieces sitting at the center of their collections, the suns around which all other watches orbit. But occasionally, even big brands can end up in a situation where their “best” models are pushed to the fringes, as the communication strategies focus more heavily on pieces that are assumed to be more commercial.

Longines Flagship Heritage, Silvered opaline (L4.815.4.78.2)

I’ve felt for a long time that the form and price point of the small but stalwart Longines Flagship Heritage collection represents great value. Superb, authentic styling without wailing too loudly about how “vintage” this or “vintage” that it is. It has echoes of the early (and adored) Omega Constellation Pie Pan dials, and oozes classic cool with the “enameled” case back medallion. For me, it has always done exactly what you want a retro-inspired watch for everything from business casual to relatively formal events to do. And now, for those that loved this collection but found the basic models uninspiring, we have a moon phase complication to wax lyrical about.

Longines Flagship Heritage, Silvered opaline (L4.815.4.78.2)

The Low Down

There will be three models added to the Longines Flagship Heritage collection in 2023. The closed-back stainless steel cases measure 38.5mm in diameter, 12.4mm thick, and offer a 30-meter water resistance. Slight updates to the finishing (including satin-brushed elements alongside polished surfaces), and redesigned lugs (shortened and chamfered for a more compact wearing experience) provide an interesting evolution for the model. It is true that, as a result of these proportional modifications, the watch is altogether boxier, a little less elegant, and steps in a sportier direction for the first time.

Longines Flagship Heritage, Silvered opaline (L4.815.4.78.2)

However, the stage is still set to receive a moon phase complication comfortably. While it has taken a stylistic step toward a Seiko Presage, the overall mien of the watch is still sufficiently traditional for one of watchmaking’s quaintest and most anachronistic functions to seem at home here. The questions are, how good of a moon phase complication can we expect to find in a watch that retails around $3,000? And, assuming it’s not the most accurate in the world, will the aesthetic execution justify its existence at all or leave us feeling cold?

Powered by the L899.5 automatic movement, the Longines Flagship Heritage moon phase has an operating frequency of 28,000vph (4Hz) and indicates the time (hours, minutes, and seconds), the date (via a small hand in a six-clock-located sub-dial that also houses the moon phase aperture), and the phase of the moon. The base caliber of the L899.5 is the ETA A31.L91, and the most exciting thing about it (apart from the moon phase complication itself), is the silicium balance spring, which makes it pleasingly resistant to magnetic fields.

Longines Flagship Heritage, silver sunray (L4.815.4.72.2)

But when it comes to the accuracy of the moon phase display, we need to be realistic. This complication uses the very basic 29.5-day lunar cycle principle, which manifests in the use of a 59-toothed moon disc, able to show two lunar cycles per rotation. It’s fun and quirky and adds a certain “Heath Robinson” charm to any dial, but moon phase complications in this stratum of horology are far more about their steampunk vibes than their actual technical chops.


That said, I think the addition of a moon phase complication — even a simple one — makes sense for the Flagship Heritage collection. The caliber existed already, and the Flagship line provided the perfect canvas upon which to deploy it once again.


There are three dial options available in this capsule release. You can choose between silvered opaline, sunray silver, or sunray blue. Polished hour markers and hands (treated with Super-LumiNova for enhanced low-light legibility) compliment the tasteful shades chosen this time around.

Longines Flagship Heritage, silver sunray (L4.815.4.72.2)

My favorite is absolutely the silvered opaline dial on a brown leather strap (gray and blue are provided with the other models). It is simply the most classic of the bunch and by far the warmest. Color-wise, however, the most important release is surely the blue dial. While it may not be my thing, it certainly is a welcome addition to the family, which has previously stuck to more neutral shades for the most part.


It should be asked, however, for whom has this watch been designed? For my money, as nice and as thematically congruous an addition as these three moon phase models is, the cream of the Flagship Heritage collection is still the time and date model (in whatever color you choose).


Longines Flagship Heritage, blue sunray (L4.815.4.92.2)

But watches are anachronistic objects of curiosity at the best of times, and so I think this charming oddball will hit the mark for intermediate collectors working with a limited budget and keen to experience the undeniably characterful aesthetic of a moon phase on the wrist. For that task, the Longines Flagship Heritage moon phase models are more than well enough equipped.

Longines Flagship Heritage, silver sunray (L4.815.4.72.2)

I do remember a time in my collecting career that I refer to now as the “moon phase or bust” phase, but it was short-lived and my enthusiasm for a complication I relish in principle was dampened when I learned of the technical limitations of any affordable execution thereof, and how utterly useless it is in almost all walks of modern life.

Tech Specs

Longines Flagship Heritage Moon Phase

Movement: Mechanical self-winding movement caliber L899.5 (ETA A31.L91 base), 72-hour power reserve

Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, pointer date, and moon phase indication

Case: 38.5mm × 12.4mm, stainless steel, 30 meters

Dial: Silvered opaline (L4.815.4.78.2), silver sunray (L4.815.4.72.2), or blue sunray (L4.815.4.92.2)

Strap: Either brown, gray, or blue leather

Price: USD 3,050