Longines has a long history of producing watches for the military and some of them have been re-issued in their vintage-inspired Heritage line over the last few years. The latest is the Longines Heritage Military Marine Nationale, a watch based on a timepiece exclusive to the French Navy in the 1940’s.
The original watch, issued to the Marine Nationale in 1947, was a hand-winding number and measured a diminutive 33.5 mm in diameter. Vintage aficionados better remember the Marine Nationale (the French Navy) for its association with the Tudor Submariner diver’s watch. Incidentally, the Black Bay Fift-Eight Navy Blue issued this year is inspired by this 1970’s era Tudor.
The reissue has a more reasonable 38.5 mm but the caseback still references the historical association. While the original used a simple “MN” inscription for “Marine Nationale,” the reissue spells out the entire name, along with the watch’s reference number, water resistance, and other stats.
The golden opaline dial, like its predecessor, bears the words “LONGINES FAB SUISSE,” the latter phrase an abbreviation of Fabrique Suisse (French for “Swiss Factory”), in black-colored lettering, underneath the painted Arabic hour numeral at 12 o’clock. The hour and minute hands are slightly larger than their predecessors, more extensive, and baton-shaped in blue steel, replacing the vintage watch’s black-colored hands. A domed sapphire crystal sits above the dial, protecting its face; the hour numerals and hands are coated in a brown-colored Super-LumiNova.
While the 1947 original ran the hand-cranked Caliber 12.68N, the reissue is powered by the self-winding Caliber L888.5, based on the ETA A31.L11. This COSC chronometer-certified movement features an anti-magnetic silicon balance spring, runs in 21 jewels, and offers a substantial power reserve up to 64 hours while beating at a frequency of 25,200 vph.
The Longines Heritage Military Marine Nationale (Ref. L2.8184.108.40.206) comes on a cognac-colored leather strap and retails for $2,000; it will be available at authorized Longines dealers later this year.