Introducing the Longines Legend Diver Watch 36mm “Tropical”

Vintage style for ladies.

Longines rolled out a smaller version of its popular Legend Diver last year, one that is just 36mm in diameter and catered to ladies. Now it’s added a “tropical” dial model to the line-up, creating a dive watch for ladies with serious retro style.

The first Legend Diver, which was made for men, was based on the twin-crown dive watches of the 1960s, specifically the refs. 7042, 7150 and 7594. The lower crown was for winding and setting, while the upper crown rotated the elapsed time bezel, a feature that has been reproduced in the modern day remake.

Sometimes nicknamed “Super Compressor” after the type of water-resistant case made by case maker E. Piquerez (which also supplied other brands), the originals were notably large for watches of the era, measuring 42mm in diameter.

The men’s Legend Diver is exactly the same size, but the mini Legend Diver is substantially smaller, just 36mm in diameter.

Despite its reduced size, the Legend Diver 36mm manages to retain the look and proportions of its bigger brother. And with the new “tropical” dial, it also replicates the highly desirable discoloured dials of some vintage “Super Compressor” divers.

Longines Legend Diver Watch L3.374.4.60.6

The original watches all had glossy black dials, but exposure to sunlight over the decades caused some dials to fade, resulting in varied shades of brown.

The new Legend Diver “tropical” replicates the aged dials found on some vintage examples, with a tobacco coloured centre that darkens towards the edges. The only bit that looks out of place is the date window, which was never found on the vintage models.

In addition, the Legend Diver 36mm is also offered with a conventional black dial, as well as a mother of pearl dial featuring black markings.

Longines Legend Diver Watch 36mm

All versions of the Legend Diver 36mm are powered by the same L592 automatic movement, which is actually an ETA A20.L11 with a 40-hour power reserve.

They are each available either on a leather strap or “Milanese” steel mesh bracelet.

Key facts

Diameter: 36mm
Material: Stainless steel
Water resistance: 300m

Movement: Self-winding L592
Frequency: 28,800bph, or 4Hz
Power reserve: 40 hours

Strap: Leather strap or steel mesh bracelet

Price and availability

The Legend Diver 36mm starts at US$2150, or 3200 Singapore dollars, on a leather strap.

On the “Milanese” bracelet it rises to US$2400, or 3590 Singapore dollars. It’s available at Longines retailers and boutiques.


 

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Up Close: Vacheron Constantin Traditionnelle Manual-winding ‘Collection Excellence Platine’

Simple but precious.

Every couple of years Vacheron Constantin gives one of its watches the ‘Collection Excellence Platine’ treatment, constructing the watch entirely in platinum, from case to the stitching on the leather strap.

First introduced in 2006, the ‘Collection Excellence Platine’ range now consists of nine models, including the Traditionnelle World Time, Patrimony Traditionnelle 14-Day Tourbillon as well as Traditionnelle Complete Calendar that was launched last year.

Now the line is joined by the hand-wound Traditionnelle, a simple, time-only watch executed in the most precious way possible.

Vacheron Constantin Traditionnelle Manual-winding ‘Collection Excellence Platine’

Small, heavy and monochromatic

A focused exercise in classic dress watch design, the Traditionnelle Manual-winding is among the leading candidates in the category of hand-wound, time-only dress watches. It is arguably the quintessential Vacheron Constantin formal watch, being free of complications and superfluous elements.

And though it faces strong competition from the likes of the A. Lange & Söhne 1815 and Patek Philippe Calatrava, the Traditionnelle ‘Collection Excellence Platine’ (CEP) is unique in being all-platinum, end to end.

Vacheron Constantin Traditionnelle Manual-winding Collection Excellence Platine 2

With the CEP treatment, the watch has evolved to its ultimate form.

The dimensions of the case remain unchanged – 38mm wide and just 7.77mm high. It features discreet decorative details like a fluted case back and straight, angular lugs that incorporate the form of a Maltese cross.

But in the area where most time-only dress watches tend to fall short – the tangible quality of weight in hand – the Traditionnelle CEP has a heft that is striking and gratifying. Though the watch is compact on the wrist, its weight is a reminder that it is there.

Vacheron Constantin Traditionnelle Manual-winding ‘Collection Excellence Platine’ 4

That’s because everything that can be made of platinum has been made of platinum.

The case, dial, crown, plus the buckle and stitching of the strap – are made of the precious metal. The only exception being the hour markers and hands, which are in white gold but plated in rhodium, so their colour matches the platinum parts.

Ultimately, the beauty of the CEP watches lie in their monochromatic subtlety, as the details that distinguish them are only obvious upon proximity, as it is here.

Vacheron Constantin Traditionnelle Manual-winding ‘Collection Excellence Platine’ 6

A signature feature of the CEP line, the dial has a frosted surface that bears a discreet “Pt950” hallmark tucked away between four and five o’clock. The hallmark is lightly engraved, so it is visible but not prominent.

As is typical of most contemporary Vacheron Constantin watches, the styling is distinctly modern, but with a handful of retro flavoured details, here taking the form of the mid-century style railroad tracks for both the minutes and sub-seconds.

Vacheron Constantin Traditionnelle Manual-winding ‘Collection Excellence Platine’ 3

While watches in the CEP line usually feature a handful of blue accents, here the only used of colour is with the blued steel seconds hand.

The resulting monochromatic look is deliciously understated and surprising unique in the field of dress watches. It lends the watch a sterile, modern look despite the irrefutably classical design.

Vacheron Constantin Traditionnelle Manual-winding ‘Collection Excellence Platine’ 7

Visible through the sapphire case back is the gorgeous hand-wound cal. 4400 AS. As with all Vacheron’s mechanical watches, it is finished to the standards of the Poincon de Geneve, or Geneva Seal. So in terms of decoration the i’s are dotted and t’s are crossed, albeit in a clean and consistent, rather than artisanal and lavish, manner.

Vacheron Constantin Traditionnelle Manual-winding ‘Collection Excellence Platine’ 8

Vacheron Constantin Traditionnelle Manual-winding ‘Collection Excellence Platine’ 9

Though the movement has a fairly simple layout with two large bridges, the bridge shapes manage to incorporate a handful of inward and outward angles with polished, bevelled edges. It has a 65-hour power reserve and a frequency of 4Hz.

Vacheron Constantin Traditionnelle Manual-winding ‘Collection Excellence Platine’ 0

Vacheron Constantin Traditionnelle Manual-winding ‘Collection Excellence Platine’ 1

Concluding thoughts

The extravagant use of platinum on a simple, time-only watch presents an interesting paradox that makes the watch one of the stealthiest, most compelling models of the ‘Collection Excellence Platine’ range.

The only downside is that the all-platinum makeover means the CEP edition is over 50% more expensive than the same model in 18k gold. That’s a big enough premium that this isn’t an obvious or sensible upgrade over the standard gold version, although it’s probably worth the stretch for the enthusiast who values the material, discreet style and also limited number produced.

Key facts

Diameter: 38mm
Height: 7.77mm
Material: Platinum
Water resistance: 30m

Movement: Hand-wound 4400 AS
Frequency: 28,800 beats per hour, or 4Hz
Power reserve: 65 hours

Strap: Alligator Mississippiensis

Price and availability

The Vacheron Constantin Traditionnelle Manual-winding ‘Collection Excellence Platine’ (ref. 82172/000P-B527) is limited to 75 pieces and is priced at US$35,200, or 52,700 Singapore dollars.


 

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