There’s something to be said for living in the past; it’s where Longines has been living their best past lives for a while now with their deep cut heritage re-releases, the vintage-flavoured Spirit collection and now what might just be the perfect retro diver (and with a fittingly retro name to match), the Ultra-Chron.
The original Ultra-Chron Diver was released back in 1968 with the dubious distinction of being the first dive watch with a high-frequency movement. Chron is short for Chronometer and the Ultra comes into the picture with a 36,000 beats-per-hour calibre, something that Longines has surprising pedigree in. Other than the original Ultra-Chron, they built high-frequency pieces as early as 1914.
Longines hasn’t really changed much in the 2022 version. The calibre has been modernised of course to the silicon touched L836.6 automatic movement, but otherwise it’s a faithful archival throwback. That means plenty of black and red across the dial – including a cool red minute hand and white hour hand combo – some funky indexes and a case shape that screams 60s louder than a Beatles concert.
It’s also still firmly a diver, with a unidirectional rotating bezel complete with diving scale, 300m water resistance and plenty of lume splashed across everything. Longines may have dropped the ‘Diver’ moniker, but it definitely gets the job done.
Honestly, the Ultra-Chron is by far my favourite Longines release of recent years – which is saying something. I got to try it on a few months back and have been waiting for its release ever since. The 43mm case feels pretty large on the wrist but in a way that suits its retro diver look and the black and red combo, especially on the diving bezel, is awesome.
My only indecision about it comes with what to wear it on. Obviously not the brown leather, that’s far too uninteresting, but both the impeccably machined 60s-style bracelet and the red and black NATO strap look phenomenal. I’d probably plump for the NATO (which is included whether you go for leather or steel), but it’s definitely not a certainty.
What is certain is that this is a good amount of watch for the money. On the leather strap it’ll set you back £2,750, and on the bracelet it’s £3,150.
Price & Specs:
- Model: Longines Ultra-Chron
- Ref: LL2.8126.96.36.199 (strap version)
L2.8188.8.131.52 (bracelet version)
L2.8184.108.40.206 (strap version with box)
L2.8220.127.116.11 (bracelet version with box)
- Case/dial: 43mm diameter x 13.6mm thickness, stainless steel case, grain finished black dial with C3 Super-LumiNova, screw-in crown, unidirectional rotating bezel with sapphire insert
- Water resistance: 300m (30 bar)
- Movement: Caliber L836.6 (base: ETA C07.811/2824-2), automatic, 25 jewels, “Ultra-Chronometer” certification through TimeLab in Geneva, silicon balance spring
- Frequency: 36,600 vph (5 Hz)
- Power reserve: 52h
- Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds
- Strap: Seven-link stainless steel bracelet with double safety folding clasp and push-piece opening mechanism or brown leather strap with stainless steel buckle, plus an additional black-and-red NATO-style strap made out of recycled material (box edition)
- Price/availability: £2,750 (strap version)
£2,950 (bracelet version)
£3,000 (strap version with box)
- £3,150 (bracelet with box)
Available individually or as a boxed set with additional NATO-style strap and strap-changing tool