Midnight Hour: The Longines Flagship Heritage Black Is Bringing Sexy Back

Midnight Hour: The Longines Flagship Heritage Black Is Bringing Sexy Back

This classic dress watch evokes the height of midcentury modern elegance.

By Rhonda Riche

Longines is very good at releasing watches with strong throwback appeal. From reimaging classic military models such as the Heritage Military 1938 or updating its signature Skin Diver, the brand has excelled at reinterpreting archival timepieces for the modern watch buyer.

Longines’ Flagship Heritage collection takes its inspiration from formal watches of the 1950s and ’60s. The line has proved popular with buyers who are looking to graduate to a more mature timepiece for work or other events that require a little more sartorial effort.

As a whole, it’s a cool, accessible collection. But with the latest addition to the family – the Flagship Heritage Black – is a standout.


The original Flagship was introduced in 1957, and this new model has many of the design cues of the Mad Men era. Most notably, the matte, jet black dial. Black goes with everything, which makes this a versatile addition to any watch wardrobe. But combining the black dial with pink-gold elements such as the hands, applied markers, and the Longines logo, also give this design a little extra glamour.

It’s a watch you can imagine wearing while shaking hands with Dean Martin after a big show in Las Vegas. And the black croc leather strap only seals the deal.

The open sector style sub-dial, the pointy hour markers, the lumed Alpha hands, and the font of the word “Flagship” also conjure up a fifties-flavored vibe.

Even the caseback is old school. Instead of a de rigueur display, the back of the Flagship Heritage Black is, fittingly, decorated with the image of a caravel (a 16th- to 17th-century merchant ship) set in deep blue and gold enamel.


At the same time, the Flagship Heritage Black is more than retro revisionism. Despite the atomic age elements of the triangular indices and hours and minute hands, this watch has many minimalist aspects as well. The simple, stainless steel case measures in at 38.5mm – much larger than the original Flagships.

There is also a date window placed just under the small seconds at 6 o'clock. The background of the date display is also black, which makes it legible but also unobtrusive.

A ring of subtle white minute markers links all the display elements, which provides a lovely balance. And the sapphire crystal with several layers of anti-reflective coating is also a contemporary and practical upgrade.


The caravel is a particularly fitting symbol because it is the ship that carried the commanding admiral and the flag of the fleet. The Longines Flagship Heritage Black also features leading-edge technology with its L615 automatic movement, which is a derivative of the ETA 2895-2. And its water-resistant to 30 ATM.

This solid 27-jewel mechanism beats at 4Hz for extra accuracy and comes with a 42-hour power reserve, improving on the Flagship’s 20th-century style with the reliability a 21st-century watch buyer requires. Another sign of the modern times: the Longines Flagship Heritage Black is now available online for preorder at a very reasonable $1,675.

(Photography by Liam O'Donnell)

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