A Classic Reborn: The Longines Legend Diver 39 mm “No Date”
Finally, a more compact and fuss-free Legend Diver.
Longines consistently stands as one of the most appealing brands in the under-USD 3,000 price range, particularly for its vintage remakes. This success stems from a combination of tasteful designs, up-to-date movements, and excellent dial finishes.
However, Longines’ vintage remakes occasionally fall short due to some contemporary design elements that lack some of the authentic charm of bygone eras. The Legend Diver exemplifies this, with the current models sporting an polarising date window and a case arguably too large due to its long, straight lugs (though the 42 mm size remains faithful to the vintage original).
Sixteen years after the Legend Diver’s relaunch – positioning Longines as one of the pioneers of vintage dive watch reissues – the brand has finally unveiled a refined iteration of its acclaimed timepiece. The new Legend Diver features a more compact 39 mm case with shorter lugs, complemented by a sleek, “no-date” dial in either lacquer black or blue finishes.
A new 39 mm case
Long-awaited by collectors, the Legend Diver’s case has undergone a comprehensive overhaul, both in terms of design and finish. Starting with the size, the new 39 mm case bridges the gap between the current 42 mm and 36 mm offerings, addressing the concerns of collectors who found the larger option too big and the smaller one too small for a dive watch. This seemingly minor change makes a significant difference in wearability and versatility.
Beyond the size reduction, several other case elements have been refined. The lugs, for instance, are now broader but shorter, causing them to protrude less on the wrist and potentially suit a wider range of wrist sizes.
The crown design has also been revamped. Instead of two wide and tall cylinders, the new crown is flatter and broader, minimizing its protrusion from the case and preventing it from becoming a distraction. Additionally, the crown now features beveled edges, lending it a more polished look.
In terms of finishing, the latest iteration represents a notable improvement over the previous model, which arguably lacked visual contrast due to its uniform polish. The new Legend Diver sports brushed case flanks that not only create a contrast with the polished lugs, but also lend the watch a sportier aesthetic that aligns with its diving DNA.
Longines has deftly fulfilled two long-standing wishes of collectors by not only reducing the case size but also eliminating the date window. As a result, the new dial is a faithful reproduction of the 1959 vintage original, even down to the typography.
The absence of a date window enhances the dial’s clarity and balance, an important consideration given the use of prominent markers. The use of solid-color lacquer instead of sun-ray or fumé finishes gives the watch an understated look that’s perfect for a sports watch. This understated design will appeal to collectors seeking a no-nonsense dive watch that’s refined in both construction and finish, while retaining the rugged spirit of a tool watch.
Three-day power reserve
Powering the Legend Diver 39 mm is the L888.6, a movement that’s essentially a significantly upgraded version of the ETA 2892. Exclusively available to Longines, this movement features a silicon hairspring to enhance resistance to magnetic fields and temperature variations, coupled with a convenient 72-hour power reserve. Importantly, the entire watch, not just the movement, has undergone COSC certification.
When I had the chance to review the fumé variant of the Legend Diver two years back, I was definitely intrigued. But, as much as I liked it, I couldn’t help thinking about some possible improvements. Like many watch fans, I wished for a case size between 42 mm and 36 mm, sans the date, and with tweaks like shorter lugs and flatter crowns. I recall discussing this with a brand representative, and the response was hard to argue with – the 42 mm case stays true to the 1959 original.
Hence, witnessing Longines break the mould by introducing a remake even smaller than the original is undeniably exciting. If we can enlarge a remake, why not reduce its size if necessary? This launch is genuinely thrilling for collectors eagerly awaiting the perfect Legend Diver, and we can expect more outstanding iterations with the new case and dial configuration.
Longines Legend Diver Ref. L3.722.214.171.124/6 and Ref. L3.7126.96.36.199/6 specs
Movement: L888.6; automatic; 72 hours power reserve
Functions: Hours, minutes, and seconds
Case: 39 mm x 12.7 mm; steel; water resistant to 300 m
Strap: Steel bracelet or blue NATO strap (blue model) or brown leather strap (black model)
Availability: Longines online store, boutiques, and authorized retailers
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FROM THE SHOP
|Movement||Self-winding caliber FBN 229.01 with natural escapement; 72-hour power reserve|
|Functions||Hours, minutes and small seconds|
|Case||40mm; stainless steel; water resistant to 30m|
|Dial||Verdant green, with sector track; applied, white rhodium treated gold Arabic numerals and hour markers|
|Strap||Brown calf leather with Alcantara lining, stainless steel pin buckle; additional Milanese bracelet in stainless steel|
|Limited Edition||Limited edition of 15 pieces|