Hydrophobia, The Longines Heritage Classic Sector, and You

Opening Tangent

One of the surest signs that I’m getting old is the incredulity I feel every time I find out how old various songs, movies, and TV shows have become. Take the US version of The Office, which premiered on March 24, 2005 – almost fifteen years ago!!! Fifteen years since the world first started shipping Jim and Pam, and in fact back during a time when “shipping” was a term applied pretty exclusively to the world of logistics (Incidentally, 2005 also marked the launch of Amazon Prime in the US. What a year; what a time to be alive!).

Another sign of my inexorable march toward middle age is my tendency to tell seemingly pointless, tangent-filled stories about nothing in particular before getting to the point with basically no transition. Fun Run, the Season 4 premiere of The Office, involved, among many other things, a bunch of factual zingers about rabies (side note: rabies is actually a really terrifying virus and if you have any concern at all that the raccoon that bit you an hour ago might have been rabid, please stop reading this watch review immediately and seek medical attention).

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This is how I learned that in its later stages rabies causes hydrophobia, or an irrational fear of water. As it turns out, this is also the connection between rabies and watch enthusiasm, as many hardcore watch fans, some of whose passions could indeed be described as rabid, have developed our own irrational fears of water: horological hydrophobia.

The reason I bring all this up is my fairly recent acquisition of the Longines Heritage Classic Sector, an otherwise beautiful and capable watch that “only” sports 30m of water resistance and also (in this configuration) comes with a blue suede-finish strap. For a lot of folks, the water resistance is a deal breaker, especially for a watch that comes in at a bit over $2,000 MSRP, but I’m here to tell you why it doesn’t have to be so. And with that awkward segue completed, here we go…

Longines Heritage Classic Sector Specs

The Longines Heritage Classic Sector brings a nice modern take to a Longines design from the 1930s. It’s a moment in time that they really want to remind us about given the watch’s resemblance to another piece by a well-known Swiss manufacturer with a name even harder to pronounce correctly than Longines. The case measures in at a modest 38.5mm, with a thickness of about 12mm and a lug-to-lug around 47mm. Proportionally, this watch wore similarly on my wrist to the Hamilton Khaki Mechanical, which is 38mm wide and about 48mm lug-to-lug, though with a much thinner case at about 9mm.

For a dressier watch, 12mm, while not exactly thick, is also far from svelte. That thickness is made a bit more understandable with the knowledge that the Longines Heritage Classic Sector houses an automatic movement: a Longines-exclusive (at least for now) L893.5, produced by ETA, which, like Longines, is fully owned by the Swatch group. Therefore the L893.5 could be considered sort of in-house for those who care about that sort of thing. It’s a pretty cool movement, with a long 64-hour power reserve and a silicon balance spring to provide additional antimagnetic properties.

All told, I’d probably have been happier with a hand-wound movement and a slimmer case, but the automatic probably makes this watch a better everyday piece for most. The Longines Heritage Classic Sector comes with two strap configurations: a blue suede-finish leather strap (with an additional grayish fabric NATO included), or a black calfskin leather (with an additional light blue fabric NATO).

Lug width is a vintage-appropriate 19mm, which is ideal for someone like me whose collection is rife with vintage pieces, but might be annoying for folks who are loaded up with 20mm lug width watches and can’t handle a one-millimeter strap pinch. I get it, we’re all watch lovers here and therefore generally pretty pedantic. Such is the nature of our people!

Overall Look and Feel of The Watch

The 38.5mm case on the Longines features a mostly brushed finish on the visible surfaces, with an oversized, signed, polished crown and polished surfaces on the underside of the case including a nicely engraved caseback. I have no idea what the ETA 893.5 movement looks like, but it would have been nice to get a look at it with a display caseback; however, a solid caseback does fit more nicely with the vintage vibe and for all I know plays a role in magnetic resistance.

The dial is the real star of this show, however; sitting under a nice boxed sapphire crystal, the Longines Heritage Classic Sector dial features a great combination of surface finishes. The black paint on the numerals and minute track add nice depth to the dial over a polished metal ring. These elements themselves surrounds the more matte finish, off-white center and small-seconds subdial, which itself sports a very nice concentric pattern.

Some folks might be put off by the cut off “6” numeral or the 3 and 9 being at sort of a radial angle as opposed to just being easily readable when looking at the watch straight on, but those are both vintage cues that come with this pretty faithful reissue. There are only slight changes between the old and new. Kudos to Longines for keeping the vintage vibe intact by not adding a bunch of text to the dial. Instead, all the usual info that one might expect is on the caseback along with an engraved vintage Longines logo.

As one ought to expect from a watch that comes in at $2150 MSRP, the straps that come with the watch are of very high quality and super comfortable. I haven’t yet taken the watch off the suede finish blue leather. Given that the watch came with a second strap it would have been nice to include quick release straps and spring bars; or drilled lugs (which the original watch did not have, but still a very reasonable feature for a vintage reissue) to make strap changes a little easier.

Feeling Fine about 30m Water Resistance…Or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Rain

For those who don’t know, 30m water resistance does not at all mean that you can take this watch 30 metres underwater, only that it can withstand 3 atmospheres of static pressure in a lab environment. In short, this watch should be considered splash resistant. It shouldn’t be worn when swimming; shower with this watch on at your own risk. Of course, the leather strap probably also shouldn’t be out getting drenched either.

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While this watch shouldn’t be your choice to time your next scuba diving expedition, it doesn’t mean that it can’t withstand a bit of bad weather in everyday use. Some watch enthusiasts, myself included, have at some point convinced ourselves that a watch needs at least 100m water resistance and a screw down crown to stand a chance at all of being a decent everyday wearer.

But that is simply not so. For the most part, I’m pretty unlikely to encounter a spontaneous swimming opportunity in my daily life, and as long as one is careful about keeping that crown pushed down (and that 64-hour power reserve and automatic movement helps make this a bit easier) this watch ought to make a fine everyday piece.

It’s a vintage reissue that has stayed mostly true to its predecessor, with the exception of a thicker case to house its upgraded movement. It has a versatile look that works as well with a t-shirt and jeans as it does with a sport coat and, well, jeans. This watch helped me get over my horological hydrophobia, and has really redefined the concept of an everyday watch for me.

Read the full Longines history!

Featured Insights

• 38.5mm x 47mm x 12mm
• 19mm Lug Width
• 30m water Resistance
• Longinges Caliber L893.5
• Silicon balance spring
• 64 Hour Power Reserve
• Boxed sapphire crystal
• MSRP: $$2150

Ever since his first watch, a talking Dick Tracy thing won in a local chicken impersonation contest at age five, Aggressive Timing Habits has been fascinated by all watches from Amphibias to Zeniths and the people who create and collect them. His contributions to TBWS represent a new outlet to discuss the miracle of drilled lugs and debate the virtues of balance bridges vs balance cocks, much to the relief of friends and loved ones.

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