Review Longines Record Heritage chronograph [live photos, price]
A rather traditional Record family of Longines watches gets an additional, classic chronograph with gilt dial, two strap options and a whole lot of vintage vibes.
For a good few years now we constantly keep on saying, that Longines builds its market position on heritage watches. Revived from deep archives – revived greatly might I add – they provided the company with an army of new customers. That in turn makes modern, contemporary watches a bit overlooked. Let’s take the Record line for example. Revamped few years back, a highly good looking classic watch in a very traditional form and couple of different options, that exists almost unnoticed. I wouldn’t mind taking a bet with some of you, that – although I don’t doubt your watchmaking knowledge – it’s the first time you hear about it and are just checking on Longines official website. Up until now offered only as a simple, three-hands watch with a date, Record now presents it’s first complication. And a bit surprisingly – not that it’s any complain – the choice is a rather sporty chronograph. And the result…
There were quite a few emotions running through my head when I first saw this new Record watch. Of course first thing one notices is an overall design of the exterior and the dial. Trivial truth says, that you buy a watch with your eyes – and so I was instantly sold.
Just as previous references, Record Heritage has been designed with elegance and classic in mind. An eye-pleasing, good-looking and comfortable shapes comes with highly profiled, long lugs, protrutding out of the round case. From the top, the case (will talk about the size and wear in a moment) is topped with a polished bezel, housing visibly domed sapphire glass with antireflective coating. There is a signed crown on the right hand side (non-screw-down), surrounded by a pair of rectangular, slightly rounded pushers. A lot of attention has been put to the finishing. The case has satin-brushed sides with top part of the lugs polished, along with polished crown and the pushers.
Under the convex front sapphire, Longines present a rather appealing dial, neatly called “gilt”. In watchmaking, it is a combination of black dial with rose-gold accents. No doubt a very highly attractive combination, albeit with one significant fault. Gold, slim hands and indices over a deep black background simply tend to disappear, making time-reading rather difficult – provided you do use your wrist watch for that.
The dial is composed of an outer tachymeter scale, applied golden indices in the middle part (including Arabic numerals) and a winged Longines logo. Left and right part of the dial presents two sub-dials: a small seconds counter (on the right) and a 30-minutes chronograph counter, decorated with some snailing and surrounded by gold, polished frames. In keeping with traditional style of the watch, there is no lume to be found, and so is no date, which guarantees a perfect symmetry.
Class and comfort
Although the esthetics of the watch play a key role, with time it got to my attention that comfort of daily-wear is equally important. After all we do wear it on daily basis, on our very own wrist, so it’s nice if it actually wears well. Record Heritage wears just great. For the automatic chronograph with that price level it is nearly perfectly sized.
On paper, Record Heritage is 40 mm in diameter, 48 mm lug-to-lug, 13,8 mm thick and 30 m water resistant. Seems good, and it’s even more pleasing in the metal. Slightly profiled lugs along with a flat caseback make the case sit tightly on the wrist. A lot of it is also due to the steel bracelet – one of the two possible options. Typical Record line bracelet present rows of polished and brushed links, well fit together and of the appropriate thickness. The bracelet locks with a butterfly clasp with two safety buttons and an embossed logo on top.
I have to say I dig the bracelet version bit more than the strap, which is made out of light-brown calf skin, fastened with a classic buckle. I dig to my surprise, cause a classic watch like that usually feels much more natural (and better) with the strap.
Another thing to be praised about the watch is Longines keep the case relatively slim thanks to the choice of the automatic movement. Usually this type of calibers, on the Longines level of watchmaking, come with significant thickness. Here it’s a different story, still fully functional as a chronograph.
Longines L895.4 has 59 hours of power reserve, antimagnetic silicon hairspring, COSC chronometer certificate and quite a handsome set of decorations. Visible through the transparent back, there is some perlage on the bridges, Geneva stripes on the semi-skeletonized winding rotor with a cut-out logo and some gold engravings. L895.4 is also a pleasure to use, with smooth pushers action, despite lack of a column wheel.
After a good few weeks of wearing the Record Heritage almost daily I’ve grown to like it so much that I think it is the most interesting (aka. the best) new Longines watch in last few months. The watch just looks great, comes with plenty of classical charm and details, and wears great too. I wore it with pleasure every single time.
Longines Heritage Record is priced at 2 900 CHF, regardless of the strap option. It makes it one of the most expensive (non-gold) Longines watches, but it is an absolutely adequate price non the less. A well-made, fully functional automatic chronograph usually cost quite a substantial amount of money, and Longines provided extra fine details on top of functionality. It is no doubt a watch for a more classic taste, which happily happens to be mine too. And one thing about that pleases me even more. There is an ongoing debate in the watch world about chronograph – a sporty complication – being used in a classic watch. Record Heritage (which oddly does not carry the complication in its name) proves what I’ve been persistently claiming for years – smartly designed and executed, a chronograph can be a totally classic watch, with a bit of every-day versatility.