Introducing The 39mm Longines Legend Diver Watch

Longines' historically-inspired diving watch has been redesigned and is a sign of the times.


The Longines Legend Diver watch has been with us for a number of years now and it’s had some styling tweaks over the years but very little else. Why would you want to change it? It looks great! Naturally, Longines agrees with the previous sentence as, for the 2023 update, they haven’t changed it very much. Indeed, it doesn’t need to change much about itself to be a poignant reflection of the watch industry and where it’s headed.

The Legend Diver is presented for 2023 in a 39mm stainless steel case, which is smaller than previous models, which hovered around 42mm in diameter. The thickness of the new watch is 12.7mm as well. The re-sizing of this model to 39mm was most likely done to reflect the fact that consumer demands have mostly shifted away from large sports watches. Of course, people do make big watches for those who want them, and Rolex did re-size its Submariner by 1mm for the first time in the range’s history a few years ago (and made it bigger), but still, the trend seems to be that the huge watch designs of the noughties and teen years have run their course. Nearly every time I look in the comments section of a watch review, there’s at least one person saying how they wished the watch was smaller, so Longines has clearly been reading the correct comments section.

The new watch looks very similar to the old model which is definitely a good thing as the old model looked great. You can have it with either a black dial or a blue one, and it looks like Longines has eschewed the ‘faux-tina’ fake patina colour for its lume, which is a good thing, allowing watches to patinate by themselves over time, I say. There’s also no date window to unbalance things, either.

As before, the diving bezel of the watch is controlled by one of the two crowns on the case. I note that the finish pattern on both crowns is identical. It would’ve been nice if Longines did two different crowns so you could run your finger over them and tell which is which. I guess it’s not a realistic scenario, but it would’ve been a nice detail to nerd over anyway. The design is reminiscent of super compressor diver watches which were more common in the mid-twentieth century and got more water resistant the further down a diver went as the pressure squeezed the case components together, thus sealing them better. I believe that an actual super compressor does have different workings within the case to allow that to happen and that the Longines Legend Diver is only styled to look like a super compressor without any of the internals. It’s still 300m water resistant.

Within the case is the self-winding calibre L888.6, which is based on the ETA 2892-A2 movement; it’s a COSC-certified chronometer with a 72-hour power reserve and 3.5Hz beat rate. It’s not visible through the case back, but it does come with an embossed motif of a diver, which is cool. The watch can be had on a NATO or leather strap for $3000 or on the stainless steel multilink bracelet for $3200.