Thanks to the 2014 reissue, the Longines Legend Diver is one of the most iconic divers from all the EPSA Super Compressor era. The lesser discussed and earlier 6921 may be more historically significant, but it lacks the outright style and perfection in design that this tool acheieved. The latter (and synchronously produced) 7042’s oversized 42mm dual crown case, elegant lugs, inner-rotation bezel, purposefully luminous dial, and shovelhead handset were so harmonious that they endured to become just about the only publicly instantly recognizable diver from the Super Compressor era. At least, for us obsessives, even well before the reissue. It’s hard to overstate the significance of practical design, shown here in one of the best examples I’ve seen in ages.
This isn’t the first Legend Diver. This is the third reference in a lineage that ran from the calibre 19AS 7042, calibre 290 7150, to this 7494, latter followed by the 7594. This generation wore a gloss black dial but kept the automatic and mildly-higher beating calibre 290 from the previous generation. Production is thought to have begun around the late 1960s, but no one quite knows where the handoff from 7150-2 to 7494 occured (outside of Longines and their meticulous record keeping). The water resistance was also an uprated 200m, from the 7042’s 100m. The model kept the 7150’s oversized cross-hatched crowns, which are larger than the 7042’s. Even all these decades on, the charm of the early Legend Divers has only accrued. I seek no complaint from lovers of the JLC Barracuda, Enicar Superdive, or PSSC, but make no mistake: this is the icon.
In case, dial, and movement, I see no significant fault with this 7494. Its gilt, tritium luminous dial has aged very gracefully with little degradation. The handset shows small amounts of oxidation/corrosion consistent with its age. This is a nod toward a lack of refinishing which should be regarded as a positive. The case sports signs of small amounts of polish with nothing remotely egregious. Shape is present, one may just observe hairline surface wear with smoothed over depth at edges in some of the side-on shots. Perhaps I’m reading in too far, it’s not abused whatever the case. Its movement has been recently serviced and it comes with an extract from Longines dating it to Italy in 1966. It comes from a well-regarded retailer. Also, because it isn’t a ‘first’ 7042, it’s a something of a bargain as these go.
Find this 7494 here from Bulang & Sons for 9250 EUR.