Introducing the Longines Heritage Military, a Modern Take on the Trench Watch

Longines draws on a World War I military wristwatch for the new Heritage Military.

Rather than being a remake, the Heritage Military (ref. L2.811.4.53.0) is loosely based on a 1918 original inside the Longines Museum.

The 1918 specimen is typical of First World Watch wristwatches, known as trench watches. Being transitional watches between pocket and wristwatches, trench watches were essentially downsized pocket watches with thin lugs soldered onto the case. Like most other trench watches, the 1918 watch that’s the inspiration for the Heritage Military has a white porcelain dial with oversized Gothic-font numerals and thin, wire lugs.

While the Heritage Military has similar oversized Arabic numerals and railway minute track, the dial is a matte black while the hands are cathedral style. Inevitably it has a date at six o’clock, as all Longines Heritage reissues do, despite being historically incorrect.

The 1918 Longines wristwatch in the company museum

The stainless steel case is a large 44mm in diameter, with widely spaced lugs. Combined with the black dial, the look is less that of a First World War trench watch than it is of pilot’s watches of the 1920s and 1930s, reminiscent of the Longines Heritage 1935.

Longines Heritage Military L2.811.4.53.0

The movement inside is the Longines calibre L615.3, an automatic movement with a 42-hour power reserve that’s actually an ETA 2895 (which is a sub-seconds variant of the better known ETA 2892).

Price and availability

The Heritage Military (ref. L2.811.4.53.0) is priced at €1720, equivalent to about US$1930. It will be available later in 2016.

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Richemont Profits Continue to Decline; Forecasts 45% Drop for Half-Year

The luxury conglomerate's results for the first five months of the year continue the grim news.

A luxury giant that owns brands like Cartier and IWC, Richemont just concluded its annual general meeting and reported its results for the five months to end August 2016 and they aren’t pretty. Richemont saw sales and profits in every segment and geography fall, echoing the gloomy results its rival the Swatch Group announced last month.

Excluding currency effects, overall sales fell 13%. The watchmaking divisions of Richemont, encompassing brands like A. Lange & Söhne, Panerai and Jaeger-LeCoultre, saw total sales fall 18%. The group’s jewellery brands saw sales fall 15%, but that was primarily driven by falling sales of watches; jewellery was still a bright spot.

Amongst the worst performers was Europe, which was down 18%, due to diminished tourism. Post-Brexit United Kingdom did see growth thanks to a weak sterling pound.

Asia-Pacific sales fell 9%, driven by continuing declines Hong Kong and Macau, though sales on Mainland China were positive. Japan fell 25%, mostly due to the strong yen driving away tourists.

Amongst the biggest declines was that of the wholesale business, meaning the sales to independent retailers. That fell 21%, indicating that watch retailers are still extremely cautious and sitting on lots of inventory. Richemont is dealing with this via buy-backs, taking back old inventory in exchange for payments or new models.

That negative news will continue, as Richemont predicts operating profit for the first six months of the year to be down 45%, including one-off restructuring charges and inventory buy-backs. That will be announced on November 4, 2016.

And a turnaround isn’t expected soon, with Richemont saying “the current negative environment as a whole is unlikely to reverse in the short term”.



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Five Must-Know G-Shock Facts From Its Inventor, Kikuo Ibe

The creator of the G-Shock explains his landmark wristwatch, including how it was originally designed for construction workers.

A 40-year veteran of Casio, Kikuo Ibe is now its Research and Development Chief Engineer, but best known for being the inventor of the G-Shock. Short for “Gravitational Shock”, the G-Shock was conceived to meet the “triple-ten requirement”: water-resistant to 10 bar (or 100m), have a 10-year battery life, and survive a 10m drop.

Some 70m G-Shocks later – making it one of the best selling watches in history – Ibe was recently in Singapore to launch the US$6200 MR-G 20th Anniversary “Hammer Tone”. The engineer discussed his greatest hit, including its prosaic origins.

Interview has been edited and condensed.

The first G-Shock of 1983 was conceived for construction workers
I dropped my watch and it broke, which made me want to create something shockproof. At the same time, I was part of the development centre at Casio, and I saw many construction workers around the office. I saw they were using jackhammers and realised they were never wearing any watches. They could not wear watches because of the vibration, which was inconvenient for them.

A cult icon but it still passes the “triple-ten” test
When we develop new models, we don’t intend to make accessories. We have a very clear target persona for each type of G-Shock, so we think about what would be the most suitable for each target. Toughness is still the number one priority.

The second version of the G-Shock was mud resistant. I imagined that many of those construction workers would be working in muddy conditions. After that the G-Shock evolved, for divers with the G-Shock Frogman and professionals working in other special environments. 

In 1983, we took the watches to the toilet and dropped them from the third floor. However, the difference is now we have many automated tests for the watches. The toughness is the same for all G-Shock watches since the beginning, because the watch was already the best in the beginning. However, now we add on the latest technologies like solar power, GPS function, sensors.

We always want to be at the cutting edge. But no matter what extra features we added, the toughness has to be the same. Sensors [for temperature, altitude, barometric pressure] tend to be weak, so when you put them in a watch, the question is how we can protect the sensor to make the whole watch tough. That is the most challenging part.

So far we haven’t thought of [a smartwatch G-Shock] yet. If we are confident we can bring something good, then maybe there’s a possibility to develop in the future.

The mud-resistant case of the latest G-Shock Mudmaster

His all-time favourite watch
More than 2000 types of G-Shock models have been sold since 1983, but my favourite is the first model, the DW-5000. However, I cannot wear that as it has to be in the company museum. This one on my wrist]is the same design, the DW-5600.

Casio G-Shock DW5000

Rubber is the ideal material for shock-resistant cases
The shock resistance of the [rubber and metal] is exactly the same but shock resistant metal cases are harder to develop, because rubber itself already acts as a shock absorber. When you press the rubber bezel, it gives a little bit to absorb the shock, acting as a bumper for protection, while metal is hard.

The metal used for G-Shock [MR-G] is stainless steel or titanium – normal metals – and forged from bars. The effort is put into developing shock resistant functions, rather than changing the materials.

Detail of the top of the line G-Shock MR-G 20th Anniversary “Hammer Tone”

And a mechanical G-Shock?
Honestly speaking, I have never thought of making the G-Shock mechanical because first of all, it is very hard to develop technologies for mechanical watches. Secondly, electronics can be improved and made more useful and convenient for users.


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