Longines Heritage Military 1938 Limited Edition Swiss Manual Wind 43mm Complete
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Pictured above is the the Longines Heritage Military 1938, a recent introduction to Longines’ Heritage range. The watch that this modern interpretation is based on was released a year before the world would be turned completely upside down. On September 1, 1939, Germany invaded Poland, marking the beginning of World War II, the deadliest conflict in human history.
The design of the watch is classified as “interwar” by Longines because the world hadn’t yet been swept up in a global conflict when the watch was born, but the hallmark design elements typically associated with WWII watches are very much present: sub-seconds at 6 o’clock and large, legible Arabic numerals against a black dial. Allied nations had produced individual sets of specifications that manufacturers built watches around, like the American A-11 and the British W.W.W. (Wrist Watch Waterproof). These specs were based on the need for watches to reliably perform on the battlefield, in terms of both accuracy and legibility. The Heritage Military 1938 is a modern watch that, transitively, is also the result of these specifications. Instead of stripping the original design of its character and modernizing the aesthetic with contemporary fonts and materials, Longines has stayed true to the original, playing simply with case dimensionality while retaining the typeface and general dial proportions that gave the original such rugged-yet-refined character.
As the name says, the Heritage Military 1938 lands in Longines’ popular Heritage series. A number of modern interpretations of historic Longines military watches have been released in the series, notably the 1945 and the aptly named Military with much fanfare. It’s evident that Longines has paid special attention to getting the details right when it comes to the Heritage series; a large part of the brand’s success over the last century was built by a particular specialization in military and aerial navigation watches. The “Military” model from 2018 demonstrates this commitment, through randomized false pitting on the dial to lend a very convincing vintage aesthetic. On paper, the idea of going as far as false pitting on the dial seems like an exercise in unnecessary distressing, but in execution, it’s fascinating how realistically it’s rendered. Many have mistaken the reissue for the original. This 1938 interpretation certainly follows the trend of nailing the small things, and when you add up all those small things, you have something big: a well-executed watch that will resonate with the vintage military niche of collecting as well as the wider watch-loving audience. What makes the Heritage 1938 interesting is the same thing that makes the previous iterations of the Heritage line such a hit: the exceptional execution of the little details. Aim small, miss small.
Take a look at the way the Arabic numerals are pushed up against the railroad track around the dial on the original watch. It leaves a lot of empty space, and if the watch were totally re-designed today it would probably be adjusted in order to let the numerals have a little more room to breathe, which might, from a functional standpoint, make the dial more legible. Instead, Longines stayed true to the original. The same combination of sans-serif Arabic fonts for the numerals, and a classic serif font for the sub-seconds dial, is present in the Heritage 1938. Many military watches from this era featured a printed dial with radium painted on top of the printed numerals. The modern interpretation follows the same formula, and the Super-Luminova over the printed numerals is applied imperfectly, in a true-to-original fashion. The thin outline of the printed numerals that surrounds the lume is clearly visible in a matching shade of creamy fauxtina, a detail that, on the original, comes from the radium shrinking over time. It’s easy to miss, but Longines has managed to capture this detail artfully.
The watch is powered by the Longines caliber 507.2, a hand-wound movement based on the ETA 6498/2 with a 53-hour power reserve. When it comes to size, the Heritage 1938 doesn’t follow the same script as the original. It’s sized up for modern taste at 43mm as opposed to the typical 32 to 36mm watches of the WWII era.
The Heritage 1938 asserts an interesting period in Longines’ long history with the military. The original watch was released between the emergence of the Lindbergh Hour Angle and Longines’ contribution to the famous MoD “Dirty Dozen” watches. Even during the interwar period the manufacture was still pumping out designs that would become a useful tool for soldiers on the battlefield.
Model: Heritage Military 1938
Reference Number: L2.8188.8.131.52
Case Material: Stainless Steel
Dial Color: Black
Indexes: Arabic numerals
Water Resistance: 30m
Strap/Bracelet: Anthracite leather and Cognac NATO
Caliber: L507.2 (base, ETA 6428-1)
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds
Power Reserve: 53 hours
MODEL: Heritage Military 1938 Limited Edition #0076/1938
CONDITION – Pre-Owned – Virtually Brand New – Factory Warranty
CASE – Stainless Steel
MOVEMENT – Swiss Manual Wind
DIAL – Black Dial
CASE BACK – Solid with inscription
BEZEL – Non-Rotating
CROWN – Non SCREW DOWN
CRYSTAL – Sapphire
LUGS – 20mm
WATER RESISTANCE – 30m
STRAP – 2 – Original Longines Gray calf leather strap with signed steel buckle & Additional Brand New Longines Brown Military NATO Leather strap with steel buckle.
DIMENSIONS – Case 43mm
BOX/PAPERS – 100% Complete Limited Edition Wooden Box Set, Manual, Hang Tag, Tool, additional strap, etc – Everything Included in pictures!
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