It’s a toss-up as to whether 2022 will go down as the year of the GMT or as the year of the pre-war chronograph revival. And frankly, I’m enjoying the ride. As someone whose taste tends toward the toolish and the rugged, that I should be slathering after any and all of the numerous dive-capable GMT releases should come as no shock to anyone. However, that I have found myself hovering over genteel bi-compax offerings has been a surprising personal development. But I find the subtle complexity in many of these dial designs to be quietly hypnotic and preternaturally balanced in a way that reminds, somehow, of da Vinci’s “Vitruvian Man.”
Now at the tail end of their 190th birthday celebrations, Longines—who have spent much of this year on a high—toss their hat into the ring with the Record Heritage.
Longines, as one of the oldest Swiss houses in constant production, has a deeper back catalogue than most, and is spoiled for choice when it comes to their Heritage Collection. Vintage-inspired contributions are the brand’s bread and butter.
For its part, the Record Heritage Chronograph is a deftly executed recreation with just the right mix of sport and class. And while it might look like a watch that has stepped out of the 1940s, its COSC-certified calibre will remind you that it’s also a chronometer for the modern age.
The Record Heritage is fashioned from 316L stainless steel with a clean, candid case in line with the era it is meant to represent. It has lean, inward tapering lugs, and a fine polished bezel that slopes away from the dial into a set of chunky pushers. The predominant polishing provides it with a dressy appearance, though the mirror-like quality does give way to a mid-case line of horizontal brushing. The latter offers a visual break in what is ultimately a thick case, measuring 13.8mm.
What makes the Record Heritage comfortable on wrist, however, is the restrained lug-to-lug measurement of only 48mm. This is not a small watch, but certainly marks a departure for Longines, whose 40mm Spirit—released last year—pushed 50mm lug to lug. Even an incremental change such as this can make all the difference to brand loyalists—many of whom have been calling out for such a switch.
To finish off the case, Longines have capped either side with sapphire glass–curved on the top and flat across the display case back. This allows the wearer a clear view of the brand-exclusive L895.4 automatic chronograph movement on the inside. Based on the ETA 2892-A2, the calibre has been tweaked to meet Longines’ specs—including a silicon balance spring—and is not available to other Swatch Group members. It is a COSC-certified chronometer, running at an average of +5 seconds per day. To make the exhibition case worthwhile, ETA has finished the movement in a perlage along the bridges with a Côtes de Genève rotor. The company name has also been engraved and inset with gold lettering under a cut out of the brand logo. It is a 4Hz movement with a 59-hour power reserve.
However, the highlight of the Record Heritage design may well be its dial. Mid-century chronograph dials can be very complex, but Longines have opted for a relatively straightforward configuration in the Record Heritage. Instead, the brand allows the balance and the finish to speak for itself. To begin, the expanse of matte black dial real estate is corralled by the gilt-coloured outer tachymeter scale and the neatly printed minute track. This allows for a much more intimate space to place the applied numerals and markers of the hour index. Each additional element (sub-dial rings, logo, and text) only adds warmth to the space, and focuses attention on the centre, from where a finely, laser cut leaf handset emanates. To finish it off, the concentric design of the sub-dials adds a touch of texture and depth.
The Record Heritage comes on leather or a stainless-steel engineer’s bracelet with a milled butterfly clasp, as featured here.
|Case||316L Stainless Steel|
20mm Lug Width
Screw Down Caseback
30m Water Resistance
|Dial & Crystal||Curved Sapphire Crystal|
Apllied Numerals and Markers
|Movement||L895.4 Automatic Chronograph|
59-Hour Power Reserve
|Strap||Stainless Steel Engineer’s Bracelet|
or Leather Strap
Longines Record Heritage Chronograph
Longines chronographs from the 30s and 40s often sell for five figures at auction. While the Record Heritage is not necessarily a direct reissue of any one of them, it does recall beautiful references like the 13ZN Flyback Chronograph—commonly considered one of the most beautiful chronograph movements ever made. Among its many innovations in timekeeping, Longines’ 13ZN was the first movement to offer the flyback, or retour-en-vol. The Record Heritage is classy nod to this innovative past.
The Record Heritage is rated to only 30m of water resistance. In a dress watch, this is not an issue; however, there is a sportiness to the overall design that cries out—if for nothing else—at least a 50m assurance.
The Record Heritage is an attractive timepiece. It is, at once, sporty and classy. The striking dial configuration, coupled with a COSC-certified movement, make it a handsome offering. Its dimensions also provide for a highly wearable wrist experience. The water resistance rating, albeit disappointing, is hardly a deal-breaker. Not every watch needs to accompany you to the beach, after all. This one will look just fine in the confines of the boardroom. Ultimately, the Longines Record Heritage would make an excellent accent piece to any wardrobe.
The Record Heritage retails for $3000USD. For more information, please visit the brand website.
About the author
Off The Cuff articles are full-length, hands-on reviews of the watch in question and represent the opinion of the author only. All photos are original, unless specified otherwise. If you would like to have your watch reviewed on this site, contact us here.
Please understand that using any links to products on this site might result in us making money.