Is Longines Heritage Military COSD the perfect field watch?

Longines’s Military-Inspired Watch Separates Itself From the Field

March 4, 2016 Watches By Photo by Longines

“Cool” style these days is often working class, old school, tough as nails. For watchmakers, that’s the field watch; and brands like Timex, Citizen and Seiko have sorted through the archives to win the wrists of blue-collar craftsmen for the past few years or so. But the best one I’ve found so far comes from Longines, a luxury Swiss watchmaker, and it costs $1,700.

That’s a lot of scratch just to look cool. A Timex Weekender costs less than a decent bottle of bourbon and Seiko’s SNK series — an enthusiast’s darling powered by an in-house, mechanical, self-winding movement — comes in well under a Benjamin. And even if field watch desires aren’t aesthetically driven, who would risk beating the shit out of such a costly investment in the field?

That was the question I asked myself every day I strapped on the Longines Heritage Military COSD. I don’t have the cash to splurge on shiny collector’s pieces, but I am undeniably part of Longines’s target consumer group: I love getting my hands dirty. I’m ambitious, sure, but definitely working class. I look for classic design, quality and reliability in what I buy. Selvedge denim, plaid flannel, waxed canvas and beat-up leather boots are my daily uniform.

Tick List

Material: stainless steel
Diameter: 40mm
Crystal: Scratch-resistant sapphire crystal, with several layers of anti-reflective coating on the underside
Water Resistance: 3 bar

L619, Self winding mechanical movement, 42-hour power reserve

Painted Arabic numerals, with Super-LumiNova; blued steel hands, with Super-LumiNova

Green synthetic NATO

I also have a fascination with mechanical timepieces, especially those with a legacy. This is where the Longines Heritage Military COSD separates itself from the field. The Longines field watch draws its inspiration from a timepiece built for the British Special Forces — issued by their Company Ordnance Supply Depot (COSD) — in WWII. Much like its inspiration, the homage is accented by crisp Arabic numerals, a red 24-hour scale and that iconic British double-arrow. Then, there’s its Swiss movement. Dubbed the Longines L619.2 calibre, the COSD’s self-winding mechanism is based on the ETA 2892/A2 — a movement used by Omega in developing their co-axial 2500. While its automatic nature strays from the war machine’s hand-wound roots, this update and its date window make the COSD more appealing for daily use.

Even though it’s a soldier’s watch at heart, in the end this reboot occupies that rarified space where hipster meets Hodinkee. Military heritage is great, but the real advantage is a style that lends itself to a number of occasions for non-combatants. Swapped over to a leather band it’s easily ready for formal civilian duties. Sitting on its more casual olive-drab nato strap, the watch’s only obvious downside is that its 40mm stainless steel case is polished, rather than bead-blasted or brushed. Checking my southpaw on a sunny day, it shimmers with enough intensity to give away my location to any sniper in the area; it will also collect scratches faster than a blind lion tamer. But I think that’s the point.

This isn’t a disposable watch nor is it meant to stay shiny and new. It’s pricy; it’s vintage in style; it’s easy to scuff. Longines has made a high-end watch to entice a low-end audience, and that audience doesn’t mind dings and scuffs, as long as they’re part of their journey. That’s what cool is.

More by Matt Neundorf | Follow on Twitter · Contact via Email
The Best Gear,
Right to Your Inbox
Subscribe to get first dibs, exclusive offers and timely updates on your favorite Gear Patrol goods.

By submitting your email, you agree to our Terms and Privacy Policy and to receive email correspondence from us.