The Watch Column: Heritage 1935 by Longines

In praise of a Contemporary take on a Longines classic

There’s a vague sense that Longines underplay their cards as a brand, preferring their watches, or more precisely their prices, to do the talking. You probably already know Longines is the proper Swiss watch brand with surprisingly accessible prices; offering customers more than expected for the price has been a phenomenally successful strategy.

This makes it one of the largest brands on the planet, manufacturing two million or more timepieces per year (sales figures are not published so it’s hard to know precisely).

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What you may not know is that Longines is also a marque with a vast back-catalogue of mould-breaking designs. Pleasingly, Longines are placing increasing emphasis on contemporary takes on past stars – their “Novelties 2014” page on the website shows six Heritage collections, five of which are based on historical designs.

Of these, I find it hard to look beyond the Conquest Heritage 1954–2014, first made 60 years ago.

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From its comparatively diminutive 35mm case diameter (most contemporary watches are 40 or 42mm) to the detail of the “pie-pan” dial, applied hour markers and “Dauphine” hands, this Conquest Heritage is an accurate update of the original (though with Super-Luminova touches).

The movement by ETA inside matches its predecessor for performance and reliability. You’ll search hard to find one, though, as only 780 of the Conquest 1954 model will be made, split between steel, pink gold and yellow gold cases.

A slightly easier to find, not being a limited edition, and equally worthwhile alternative is the Heritage 1935, based on a design for the Czech Air Force.

The Heritage has the fluted bezel and rhodium “Cathedral” style hands (coated with Super-Luminova) over a slick matte black dial typical of the first generation pilot watches.

Features also include scratch-resistant sapphire glass, a date window and seconds dial at six o'clock and the watch is sold mounted on a stylish black alligator leather strap.

Heritage 1935 by Longines, £1,310

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