Style / World of Watches (WOW)

Hands On the New Longines Skin Diver Watch

Longines reintroduces its first diver watch by launching a modern interpretation – the retro-tastic Skin Diver Watch

Oct 11, 2018 | By Jonathan Ho

Founded in 1832, Longines is leading the heritage renaissance with the sheer wealth of its history. Today, that leadership is spearheaded with the new Longines Skin Diver watch. Originally launched in the early 1960s, Longines’ superlative diver’s watch bore the name, Nautilus Skin Diver. Longines’ diving watch was a single crown Super Compressor similar in architecture to another famous albeit dual-crown “Super Compressor” that inspired the Legend Diver. The new Skin Diver watch is not a direct re-issue of its predecessor but it carries enough of the design codes and retro aesthetic elements to render the new Longines Skin Diver an affordably priced yet competitively specced diver’s watch (it dives 300 metres) on the market.

Hands On the New Longines Skin Diver Watch

A tribute to the St. Imier watchmaker’s first dive watch, the latest Longines Skin Diver watch bears 42mm proportions and 13mm thickness and at first blush, it might seem a tad “modernly” sized, the truth was that even in the 60s, the original Nautilus Skin Diver was already fairly large at 40mm. Thus, though the latest Skin Diver is not a direct re-issue, it comes close enough, even replicating the long, straight lugs with brushed finishing. Complete with large screw-down crown with period authentic cross-hatched details, the latest diver’s watch from Longines is a dead ringer for its legendary predecessor.

Rated to 300 meters of water resistance, the fragile plastic bi-directional friction bezel of the original model has been replaced with black PVD steel unidirectional bezel more in keeping with modern diving ISO standards and sensibilities. That said, the markings on the new Longines Skin Diver is authentic to the vintage edition, bezel markings on the bezel are laser etched and rendered in off-white painted dashes and dots with 15, 30, and 45 numerals and a triangle at 60.

The modern Skin Diver also eschews the original hesalite plastic dome for something a little more robust, domed sapphire instead. The textured “sandy” matte black dial is faithfully reproduced with the same cardinal numeral points in the font of Longines’ other famous divers’ watch, the Legend Diver, with brand designed Arabic 12, 3, 6 and 9. This time, the St. Imier watchmaker has taken heed to the demands of a more era-authentic re-edition and elected to do away with a date complication, leaving the grained black dial unmarred – what results is paramount symmetry enhancing the attractiveness of the latest Longines Skin Diver.

The faux patina might be a point of contention for purist watch connoisseurs but it brooks no argument with me, enhancing the new Skin Diver’s retro appeal with lume-filled, spade hour hand and sword minute hand – for me, the key to faux patina is essentially in boldly going forward with the endeavour and rather than half-ass it like some other brands have been wont to do Longines went full bore, making the latest Skin Diver’s “aged lume” a shade closer to yellow than it is as seen on other faux patina new old timepieces.

Driven with a modified high specced ETA 2892, the Longines calibre 619/888, provides power reserve of 42 hours. The latest Longines Skin Diver is available with options of three strap treatments: the most appropriate being the shark mesh bracelet while other choices include dressy leather strap, or a sporty vintage-styled rubber strap. That said, it is my contention that the milanese bracelet or shark mesh is equally dressy and sporty.

Latest Skin Diver Price and Specs

Movement Automatic Calibre 619/888 with 42 hours power reserve
Case 42mm stainless steel with 300 metres water resistance
Strap Mesh steel bracelet, leather or rubber
Price US$2600 or SG$$3910


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