Every collector has heard at least one journalist muse over the fine line between wear and abuse. Straddling that gap today we have a reference that has become, at least in my eyes, a bit of an icon. Or perhaps I should say ‘Legend’. The 7150 was Longines’ initial generation of skin diver, featuring a 42mm Super Compressor case and an automatic cal 290. At 200m water resistance, it was as much a tool watch as anything out of Switzerland at the time. When worn on a simple NATO, it is one of the all-time great understated wrist aesthetics. Longines apparently agree with me, as they reissued a take on the 7150 a few years back—under the name Legend Diver. It is somewhat presumptuous to name your own watch the Legend. But when the original looks this good I’m forced to agree.
This 7150 comes from the Canadian seller Thillier Time. I’ve never seen one quite like it. The dial has gone full cappuccino in color. Not replaced, even the hands match hue. Surprisingly though, they haven’t flaked through. At least half of the 7150s I’ve seen for sale have a fraction of their original lume present. Not so here.
The contrast which has developed between the main dial and inner rotation bezel is an attractive touch. I’m not sure where the piece was originally sold, but it was definitely in the sun. Certainly, not the UK or Germany. The dial has a small hole at the 8 indice. This not uncommon among dials of this era with huge UV exposure. There are a few points to note around this. First, the seller has priced this 7150 appropriately with that in mind. If the aesthetics of a hole do not bother, you can stop it developing further. If you’re willing to have some work done on the dial, there are processes to stop further degradation around the gap’s edge. If you’re truly annoyed, there are dial restoration specialists which could make quite a good stab of totally remedying it. You’re not buying a perfect piece here, but with that comes an opportunity to get into the 7150 well below average market value.
The case is polished but relatively strong. It features one of my all time favorite non-display case backs. All is original as far as my eye can tell, outside of the strap. The cal 290 looks well-cared for. No service history is noted, but no corrosion is visible. Super compressors tend to have well insulated movements, if that counts for anything. This example is an interesting proposition and one that you certainly won’t see replicated for some time.
Find this 7150 Legend Diver here from Thillier Time for 6500 USD.