I’m not sure if it was corporate strategy for this brilliant game plan but launching the Longines Heritage Military COSD in Singapore the same week that Spectre’s SAS Lieutenant Colonel (designate ‘M’) Gareth Mallory’s 18-carat rose gold Longines Conquest Heritage is successfully auctioned off is just ‘meta’.
“Meta: A term, especially in art, used to characterize something that is characteristically self-referential. ” – Urban Dictionary
With the Omega Seamaster 300 ‘Spectre’ already firmly on James Bond’s wrist, this latest Longines vintage re-issue of the British special forces military COSD watch is timed perfectly to the auction of Section Chief (played by Ralph Fiennes) M’s watch. The result is subtle (if geeky) inference that former special forces operatives who eventually take desk-jobs at MI6 tend to stick with Longines dress watches. Take that Bremont.
Vintage re-issue: Longines Heritage Military COSD
The ‘COSD’ initials in the name Longines Heritage Military COSD stand for Combined Operations Stores Depot. This means that men from military divisions like the paratroopers and British SAS who reported to the Combined Operations Command, all got their mission orders from the British War Office through its auspices.
Incidentally, COSD was a suffix applied to all manner of equipment used by British elite soldiers including dive suits and weaponry like daggers and silenced (‘suppressed’ if you want to sound like a real operative) guns like the De Lisle Commando Carbine. As such, it’s a little bit of back story which makes its provenance that much cooler, (historically deadlier) and thus, sexier.
With this level of history and performance, the Longines Heritage Military COSD expands on the brand’s rich heritage in military service from the aviation to wet work with this Longines vintage re-issue. Unlike the recently auctioned Conquest Heritage, the Heritage Military COSD is not particularly dressy, opting instead for functional finishing and polishing (which elite forces would usually cover or hide anyway) keeping to its authentic nature as a true military watch from the 1940s.
The 40 mm steel case of the Longines Heritage Military COSD houses a 2892 ETA calibre gilt-finished and modified to Longines exclusive L619.2 self-winding calibre. Mounted on khaki NATO strap, I assume it was a decision to keep the watch functional for professional commando divers who can easily extend the wrist belt around diving gloves. Thankfully, today’s urban warriors also have the additional option of black leather strap more appropriate for desk-diving.
Meet Spectre’s new MI6 Section Chief M – former SAS Lieutenant Colonel Gareth Mallory
With the demise of M (played by Dame Judi Dench) at the end of Skyfall, Mallory (played by Ralph Fiennes), a former lieutenant colonel in the SAS, becomes the new “M” and current Head of Secret Intelligence Service (MI6).
If one follows Bond creator Ian Flemming’s original 50s and 60s James Bond timeline, it would put the original Ms played by Bernard Lee and Robert Brown as members of the World War II elite fraternity who themselves wore a Longines Heritage Military COSD before they retired (or likely transferred) from active service and joined British military intelligence.
Thus, there’s poetic symmetry when in Skyfall, one spies Gareth Mallory wearing the Longines Heritage Conquest during the parliamentary inquest before villain Raoul Silva upends the proceedings and once again in Spectre, after Mallory inherits the mantle of M with the demise of Bond’s matron.
On 18 February 2016, the 18-carat rose gold Conquest Heritage worn by Ralph Fiennes, as M, in the latest James Bond movie, Spectre, was sold during a live auction, held at Christie’s London. The Longines watch was sold for an impressive price of GBP 20,000 (CHF 28,400) with all proceeds benefiting the independent medical humanitarian organisation Médecins sans Frontières (MSF). This is the sort of Longines watch association which extends the brand’s (if not the Group’s) cinematic heroism into the real world.