Introducing the Longines Heritage Military 1938

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While it’s certainly true that Longines continues to produce watches with modern sensibilities, they’ve leaned into vintage reproductions of historical models more than most. As a brand with an extensive, often criminally overlooked history, this has proven to be a great strategy as modern watches with vintage style continue to be in demand. The playbook, at a glance, seems relatively simple: interpret classic (or long forgotten but still great) watches from the vault with modern materials, changing as little as possible. The new Longines Heritage Military 1938 is a prime example of this strategy at work.


Longines Heritage Military 1938 

  • Case Material: Stainless steel 
  • Dial: Black
  • Dimensions: 43mm
  • Crystal: Sapphire  
  • Water Resistance: 30 meters  
  • Crown: Push/pull    
  • Movement: Caliber L507.9 (ETA 6498)
  • Strap/bracelet: Leather
  • Price: $2450
  • Reference Number: L2.826.4.53.9
  • Expected Release: Available now

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The Heritage Military is based on a watch from the period between the World Wars, and is very much in the “Officer’s Watch” style, with a big open dial, conservative Arabic numerals, and a subsidiary seconds register at 6:00. The hands are long and thin, and Longines has treated the watch with radium colored lume, playing up the vintage effect in a completely appropriate way. The crown, in what Longines refers to as a “sea urchin” shape, resembles an onion crown that might have been squished a bit. Compared with photos of the original watch, it’s nice to see that Longines nailed this particular detail.

New versus old.

The case features short lugs that draw attention to the watch’s curves — it’s fairly conservative and understated look. Horizontal brushing on the flanks is met with tasteful polishing on the areas on top of the lugs, and the bezel is bevelled as well, another nod to the original version from 1938. The diameter of the Heritage Military is 43mm, a size that some will no doubt object to. It’s fairly large, even by today’s standards, but especially for a vintage inspired piece. Without having handled the watch, I’ll reserve judgment on how it wears, but it’s perhaps worth pointing out that oversized watches were not unheard of for military use, even in the 1930s.

If the large size of the watch has soured you, Longines may earn back some points in their favor with their movement choice. Caliber L507.9 (based on the ETA 6498) is a hand wound movement with 53 hours of power reserve. A watch in this style, in my opinion, absolutely requires a manually wound movement, so I’m glad Longines made that decision here. This should also result in a watch with a slimmer overall profile than what could be achieved with an automatic movement, giving the Heritage Military its best chance to wear well on smaller wrists.

The Longines Heritage Military 1938 is available now in a limited edition of 1,938 pieces. Longines

What do you think of the latest vintage reissue from Longines? Does the size concern you? Let us know in the comments.

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Zach is a native of New Hampshire, and he has been interested in watches since the age of 13, when he walked into Macy’s and bought a gaudy, quartz, two-tone Citizen chronograph with his hard earned Bar Mitzvah money. It was lost in a move years ago, but he continues to hunt for a similar piece on eBay. Zach loves a wide variety of watches, but leans toward classic designs and proportions that have stood the test of time. He is currently obsessed with Grand Seiko.
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