Another day another historical remake of a watch by Longines. You know, I’ve been saying for a while that Longines’ re-issue models are some of the most accurate on the market. While a few of them change some details (the previous Longines Avigation we covered, for example), they often keep their changes to the absolute minimum. The newest model is based on a watch from the 1940s that was made for the French Navy and has been given one of the most annoying features that constitutes a trend in the current age.
The watch they’ve used as a base is the reference M.N. 5774, the two letters before the ref number standing for ‘Marine Nationale’. The watch was 33mm in diameter but still very functional for any sailor. The dial was clean with three hands and a thin minutes/seconds track around the edge of the dial. Underneath the Longines text on the dial were the words ‘Fab Suisse’. This was influenced by French law at the time which stated that imported goods with a name that sounded French (or could fool someone into thinking the product was French) must have its origin of manufacture written on it.
The new watch still has this text on it, despite not needing it. While the 5774 was 33mm in diameter, the new Heritage Military Marine Nationale is 38.5mm in diameter. Also, the 5774 had a manually-wound calibre 12.68N in it while the new one has a Longines cal L888.2 (what Longines calls the ETA A31.L01) which is automatically wound with a 65-hour power reserve. You still get the big crown on the new model, though, so if you did want to wind this one yourself, it would be easily done.
The thing I mentioned earlier that I found to be most annoying was the use of so-called ‘fauxtina’. This is when a manufacturer artificially recreates the natural ageing process of a watch for effect. Real patina adds a story to a watch; it shows the watch has had a life already and adds to the romanticism involved in collecting vintage watches. This is just doing it for the sake of appearances in my mind. However, it is possible that thanks to better materials and manufacturing techniques, new materials may not patinate for a long time if at all, so I can see the use of it then if done correctly and sparingly. Usually, I can get over the use of ‘light old radium’-coloured lume on a new watch, and it some cases it looks good, but I’m not sure about the amount of patina added to this model.