I’ve been a fan of Longines men’s replica ever since I became aware of the company’s existence. Vintage Longines makes for fairly priced, reliable ownership, giving much better value than its better-known Swiss counterparts. Modern Longines too surpasses any pre-conceived expectations of quality for its price, offering replica watches I would gladly own regardless of budget. And I did own one: the Longines Legend Diver.
Being a bit of a serial swiss replica watch swapper (you can blame easy part exchanging for that), the Longines eventually went, but of all the replica watches I’ve owned and sold (ranging from Rolex, Omega, Panerai, Audemars Piguet, IWC, Bell & Ross—you name it), it’s the Legend I keep thinking about repurchasing.
The Heritage range—in which the Legend Diver lives—is probably the most appealing of the Longines catalogue, and this addition, the Column-Wheel Single Push-Piece Chrono to give it it’s full name, was added in celebration of the replica watchmaker’s 180th anniversary. That’s right—Longines has been making replica watches longer than Rolex. If pedigree’s what you look for in a replica watch, Longines will do you well.
Based on a mishmash of vintage-inspired details, the Single Push-Piece Chrono manages an obviously vintage aesthetic without falling into the realms of caricature. The blued hands are rich and deep in colour, and the gloss dial—although not actual enamel—has an attractive shine to it that contrasts against the crisp printed numerals. Enamel would have been too cost-prohibitive at this price point, which is fair enough.
The star of the show is the calibre L788, based on an ETA A08. Don’t be disheartened by ETA’s presence in the mix; after all, Sreplica watch, owner of Longines, owns ETA as well, and the movement ETA has selected for Longines is an exclusive proprietary calibre. It’s a bi-compax design, leaving space at six for a date window and keeping the dial balanced. Activation of the chronograph is via a single pusher in the crown, which starts, stops and resets in that order. The L788 itself uses a column wheel to manage chronographic activities, a turret-like component that does away with vague cams and levers and adds precision and snap to the pusher action.
Turn the replica watch over and all this wizardry can be seen in action, with Longines graciously highlighting the column wheel in blue so it stands out. ETA has done well to open up this movement to show what’s happening inside; automatics normally have most of their inner workings obscured by the rotor weight and its ancillaries. It’s no hand wound A. Lange chronograph, but it is only a tenth of the price.
Once again, Longines has shown that it understands the market better than most other replica watchmakers in Switzerland. It produces well-made, attractive replica watches at attainable prices, plus it has a heritage than many other so-called ‘high end’ replica watchmakers can only dream of. Maybe I will buy that Legend Diver again after all.