After channeling the era of the First World War with its first Heritage Military model, a reissue of a museum piece from 1918, and following it up with last year’s WWII-inspired model that re-created a watch worn by British RAF officers in the 1940s, Longines delved into the years between the World Wars for the most recent version of the Heritage Military, one that reinterprets for a modern audience a classical field watch from 1938.
The new Heritage Military 1938 is a modern-day reissue of a timepiece (pictured below) made by the Saint-Imier based company in its namesake year, housed in a round, understated stainless steel case measuring 43 mm in diameter — the same size as the original. In a style typical of its ancestor’s period, the case has a thin beveled bezel and a ribbed crown described by Longines as “sea urchin-shaped” for easy operation in the field. The matte black dial, with its baton-style rhodiumed hands, Arabic numerals, and railway track minutes scale, reflects the earlier model’s simple, ultra-legible design, as does the small seconds subdial at 6 o’clock, ringed by its own railway-track scale. The hands and numerals project an aged “vintage” look with their coating of cream-colored Super-LumiNova. Most importantly for purists, this model dispenses with the somewhat anachronistic date window found on the 2013 watch of the same name and inspiration.
In keeping with its early 20th-Century origins, the watch is powered by a manual-winding movement, the Longines Caliber L507.2, which is a customized ETA 6498/2, with 21 jewels, a 21,600 vph frequency, and a 53-hour power reserve when fully wound. The use of this movement is another step closer toward historical authenticity, as the 2013 model contained a self-winding movement — an ETA 2892, to be precise — which is an invention that would not have been available for such a watch in 1938. Water-resistant to 30 meters, the Longines Heritage Military 1938 is offered with both a patinated charcoal gray leather strap and a cognac-colored NATO-style leather strap, along with a tool for easily changing between them. Priced at $2,450, it is limited, appropriately, to 1,938 pieces.