Up Close with Longines’ Remake of WWII British Special Forces Wristwatch

Modelled on a watch made for Second World War British special forces, the Heritage Military COSD sticks to the formula that has made Longines' vintage remakes a success. Here's a hands-on look with original photos and pricing info.
Longines Heritage Military COSD white 1

Longines has a pretty good track record with its historical remakes, particularly those modelled on vintage military or sports watches. The latest addition to the Heritage line is the Military COSD, a compact watch that’s inspired by a distinctive timepiece made for the British commandos during the Second World War.

Specially made for special forces

The original COSD wristwatch was made for the Combined Operations Supply Depot (COSD), and not the “Company Ordnance Supply Depot” as it has been mistaken for. COSD was the outfit that supplied materiel to the Combined Operations Headquarters, set up by the British War Office during the Second World War to strike German military installations in Occupied Europe with lightning amphibious raids. Notably, the second commander of Combined Operations was Lord Louis Mountbatten, famous for being the last Viceroy of India.

Longines Heritage COSD

All manner of issued stores marked “COSD” can still be found, ranging from rifles to knives and even vehicles. But rather than being standard items, many of these were made specifically for the unique needs of Combined Operations, explaining why the COSD wristwatch is unlike other military watches of the period, which tended to look more like the Longines Heritage Military 1938. The original COSD was distinguished by its white dial, red 24-hour track, wide and flat bezel, as well as oversized crown – all of which have been reproduced in the modern day Heritage Military COSD.

Longines Heritage Military COSD white 3

Longines Heritage Military COSD white 2

Like all remakes, the Heritage Military COSD has been enlarged to suit modern tastes. Measuring 40 mm in diameter, it’s much larger than the 35 mm original, but still smallish by modern standards. And because of the wide bezel, the watch seems smaller than it is on the wrist. The steel case is entirely polished, giving it a shiny appearance that’s slightly at odds with the military look. It’s hard to discern what finish was originally applied to the vintage COSD watches, but they likely had a matte finish.

Longines Heritage Military COSD black 3

Longines Heritage COSD back

Two dial variants are available, including an off-white with blued steel hands that’s similar to the 1940s original and the more authentic of the pair. The other is black with white hands, giving it a look closer to the typical military watch and one that’s probably most acceptable to someone looking for a military-style watch. Both dials have an identical layout, including the broad arrow logo, used to mark British government property even today. Like nearly all Longines remakes, the COSD has a date window at three o’clock, a modern convenience that is completely incongruous with the historical look but inevitable.

Longines Heritage Military COSD black 4

Longines Heritage Military COSD black 1

Longines Heritage Military COSD black 2

Longines Heritage Military COSD black 5

Typical of a Longines, the COSD feels well put together despite the accessible price. The Heritage Military COSD is priced at US$1700 on a canvas NATO-style strap and US$1900 on a black alligator band. In Singapore the retail price starts at S$2540.

The model references are L2.832.4.53.5 and L2.832.4.53.0 for black dial model on NATO and alligator respectively, while the silver dial references are L2.832.4.73.5 and L2.832.4.73.0 with NATO and alligator respectively.

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