What makes vintage-inspired watches so charming to replica watches fans? Judging from what we learnt this year, this trend seems to show little sign of depression. Of all the new vintage-inspired watches announced at Baselworld 2018, one of the most exciting and impressive comes from fake Longines.
Longines has been identified by the Swatch Group to be the brand to spearhead the group’s efforts in the mainstream part of the watch market. In this way, the replica Longines has embraced the trend of vintage-inspired watches. This makes sense since Longines is one of the oldest watch companies and has a rich history on which to draw inspiration from. So which watch from Longines’ history did the Heritage Skin Diver get its inspiration from? It is actually based on the Nautilus 6921 from the late ’50s.
Though the Heritage Skin Diver is based on the Nautilus 6921, Longines has updated its dimensions to give it a more contemporary look. The case is still made out of stainless steel but its diameter has been upsized from the 40mm of the original to 42mm. As for me, I would have preferred if Longines kept the size at 40mm. After all, it is not as if the original Nautilus 6921 was 34mm or 36mm. That would possibly be far too small for modern tastes.
Another obvious feature of the Longines Heritage Skin Diver is the large crown. It stays faithful to the Nautilus 6921 by eschewing crown protectors. It is an interesting look, but the size of the crown means that it can be quite easy to snag it against something.
Like the real model, the Heritage Skin Diver has a prominent black dive bezel, but the modern version is made out of black PVD steel. The vintage Nautilus 6921’s bezel was made out of delicate bakelite. The markings on the bezel are done in a faux patina color and the faux patina coloration extends to the dial as well. The hour and minute markers together with the hour and minute hands are all made in faux patina-colored lume, and it offers a good contrast to the black textured dial.
The watch’s heavily domed sapphire crystal accentuated the aged look of the dial, which recalls the look of acrylic crystals found on vintage fake watches. It’s a masterful touch that completes the look of the watch. More importantly, it creates some distortion depending on the angle which makes the dial all the more fascinating to look at.
The movement is concealed behind a stainless steel screw down caseback which has an engraving of a diver with a spear. But rest assured that it’s a competent one.
My only worry about the watch is its size. Keeping it at 40mm would absolutely have been much preferred. As it is, I find the case a tad too large and the lugs far too long. However, I still find this watch very much attractive. The Longines replica has got the tone of the faux patina lume and markings just right, and the refreshing to see a dial that’s so clean and well proportioned.
This version of the Seamaster Olympic Games is a standard sized watch, executed in a totally superlative way that is at once classic in its looks and extremely modern in its technology. It basically ticks all the boxes. Before I get too deep into this special model, it’s crucial to know that it comes as kind of the cherry on top of an already great collection of pieces that the Omega replica launched during the lead-up to the Winter Olympic Games, hosted at Pyeongchang, South Korea, back in February. First we were shown a quintet of sporty models that recalled the colors of the five Olympic rings. These were all steel and featured black and white dials with Arabic numerals and luminous hands. Adding to the lineup, Omega introduced three dressier versions in yellow, white, and rose gold, a reference to the gold, silver, and bronze medals that would be handed out at the Games. These have white enamel dials and subtle leaf hands to complement the more precious cases.
The fake watch we have before us is actually one of those dressier versions of the Seamaster Olympic Games, just on steroids. The case is still a great size at 39.5mm across and 11.98mm thick, but it’s rendered in solid 950 platinum rather than gold or steel. When you pick it up off a tray, it is obviously platinum – the replica watches has some serious heft. The sides and fronts of the lugs are brushed, while the bezel and facets on the lugs are polished, so you get a good bit of contrast too.
While I’m always in favor of platinum, I’m completely crazy about black enamel. The hard-fired black enamel dial on this fake watch is easily one of the best I’ve seen on a modern watch, full stop. Like, ever. The black is rich and glossy, looking almost wet as it catches the light, and the silvery white logos and minute markers can look either like they’re fading into the background or jumping out at you, depending on the angle.
However, everything seems rather old-school about this watch, and the movement is state-of-the-art: the in-house Omega caliber 8807. I firmly entrenched in the “make the movement fit the case” camp, but I’m willing to make an exception here. The sapphire case-back does fill the rear of the watch and you’ll find that the space between the movement and the case’s edges is engraved with “Official Timkeeper” and the names of all the Olympic host cities where the replica Omega had this role. It is made of platinum as well, and it seems to make sense in a watch like this. Lest your forget, this is an Olympics watch after all.
Absolutely, these are not quite vintage replica watch dimensions, but it’s an easy to wear, moderate size that I suppose that many people would really enjoy. This is a watch that looks perfectly nice from a few feet away and will pair nicely with so many different styles of clothes. The closer you look and the more you sort of play with the watch, the more you enjoy the way everything comes together in a cohesive way.