REVIEW: Longines Heritage 1942 Chronograph
November 5, 2012
Originally unveiled at Baselworld in March, the Heritage 1942 Chronograph pays homage to archival Longines wristwatches from the 1940s. The Heritage 1942 has a classic look, but with a modern case size of 40 mm by 12.5 mm. Fully polished (mirror finish) case, with flat sapphire glass which protrudes slightly above the fixed bezel and features an effective anti-reflective treatment. Its round pushers are consistent with vintage chronographs and further add to its vintage feel. The case back is sapphire, allowing a view into the self-winding column-wheel chronograph caliber L688.2 (ETA A08.L01) movement; the same movement used in the Longines Column-Wheel Chronograph that we featured here last year, which has 27 jewels, a frequency of 28,800 vph (4Hz) and a 54-hour power reserve.
The dial is lacquered (available in white or black, and features 9 Arabic numerals, a railway-track minute ring and a tachometric scale around the rim of the dial (white painted markings on the black dial and black on the white dial) The white-dial version has blued steel hands; the black dial version has rhodium-plated hands. Tachometric scale around the rim of the dial. Small seconds at 9 o’clock. Date aperture at 6 o’clock. 30-minute counter at 3 o’clock and 12-hour counter at 6 o’clock. Functions include hours, minutes, seconds, date. Chronograph center seconds, dragging 30-minute counter at 3 o’clock and dragging 12-hour counter at 6 o’clock.
As is the case with most column wheel operated chronographs we have tested, the actuation of the start/stop/reset is smoother than a typical cam and lever operated chronograph (such as the Valjoux 7750) — although not as smooth as a Lange Datograph — which costs many, many times more. Some might argue that the hour hand is a bit short, and that is a valid point, however, this watch is based on a past model, and Longines was clearly trying to match the period, and besides it doesn’t take away from the reading the time — like it would if it was the minute hand. The crown is non-locking, so manual winding (if needed) is done from the pushed in position. Since the crown doesn’t screw down, water-resistant is only 30 meters. Pull the crown out one position, and you can set the hours and minutes. The date is not set via the crown, instead a key is included to adjust the date corrector located at 10 o’clock. Both dial colors come with a black alligator strap, with a signed and polished steel pin buckle.
Something I noticed under slight magnification, is that the “4” Arabic numeral has a small paint defect. This is minor — and could be the result of being an early preproduction sample — but this is something I hope would not show up on a final production model.
This is a good looking timepiece, powered by a premium column-wheel chronograph movement with circular graining on the mainplate and bridges, as well as Geneva stripes on the rotor and a clear case back to admire it. The Heritage 1942 is more attractive (in my opinion), as well as more comfortable than the Longines Column-Wheel Chronograph that we covered in 2011, and it costs a hundred dollars less. Being a classic watch, it naturally works well with dressier attire; and because it is only 12.5 mm thick, it slides under a long-sleeve shirt nicely. If you are looking for a quality mechanical chronograph for under three thousand dollars, with a good brand name and heritage — then look look no further. There are very few options on the market that provide such a good value proposition. The price is $2,850. (Ref. L2.7126.96.36.199 - white dial, L2.7188.8.131.52 - black dial)