The Longines HydroConquest Family Welcomes Its Newest Members
24 Hours Later

24 Hours Later: The Longines HydroConquest Family Welcomes Its Newest Members

Fans of diving and of travel will delight in the newest 43mm editions of the Longines HydroConquest GMT.

By Barbara Palumbo

Last year, during a Dubai Watch Week debate I moderated, watch industry personality James Dowling answered a question from an audience member about what exactly makes “a collection.” James replied that, in his mind, a watch collection should have a theme.

My disagreeing retort was to state that, even though I personally owned over sixty watches, I felt the tenets of my collecting philosophy went no further than “what I like,” but does that mean I should not be seen as a serious collector? Yet, despite my impassioned disagreement with James’ opinion, when I got home to Atlanta after the trip to the Middle East, I decided to take a better look at all of the watches I owned and see whether or not there maybe was a theme I’d been missing.

Amazingly, after separating all my watches by brand, by year, by materials, and by movements, the only solid synopsis of my collection that I could conjure was this:

Apparently, I really, really dig Longines.

For the Love of Longines

In my collection are five Longines timepieces. Three are vintage (and still running like a New York marathoner), and two are modern (a gorgeous Master collection moon phase automatic and a DolceVita x YVY Quartz piece).

As you would expect from that breakdown, each timepiece in the collection is vastly different from the other, ranging from a 1973 Serge Manzon birth year watch to a 1930s 14K asymmetrical mechanical piece on a Spidel bracelet; yet, I don’t think a single Longines in my collection sways away from the brand’s DNA. That is the beauty of what Longines continues to create, and what I said to Giuseppe Miccio – the head of product and development at Longines – after the newest novelties were introduced (under embargo) at an event in New York this past week.

I am a proud Longines owner of five pieces (so far!), and despite the cranky conception Mr. Dowling may have about what constitutes a collector, I know, in my heart, that I am one.

The Crossroads of Reliability & Affordability

What baffles me every time I view the latest pieces by Longines is how they can offer so much at such a reasonable price point. The brand’s HydroConquest collection is a perfect example.

The collection was introduced in 2007 as a welcomed edition to Longines’ family of dive watches. Then, last year, the brand launched a GMT version for under $3,000, which proved to be very popular amongst watch media and enthusiasts alike and is likely the reason Longines is now offering more versions of the HydroConquest GMT.

Smaller, Shmaller

The new HydroConquest GMT models are 43mm in diameter (as compared to last year’s 41mm release). The larger case size allows for more emphasis on the sunray patterned dials and ceramic bezels, which are available in three delightful colorways: green, black, and blue.

This latest version of the HydroConquest GMT features a sapphire crystal with a multi-layer anti-reflective coating, allowing for easier reading underwater. The watch’s indices, which are rectangular (except for the circular markers at 6 and 9 o’clock and the triangle at 12 o’clock), are coated with Super-LumiNova, and there is a date window at the 3 o’clock mark. The GMT indicator, as with most GMT watches, is arrow-shaped.

The green version of the 43mm HydroConquest GMT (which costs $2,975) is only offered on a stainless steel bracelet with H-shaped links and features a black unidirectional ceramic bezel with gold-plated hour markers both on the dial and the 24-hour scale on the bezel.

Meanwhile, the blue and black versions are offered on either the same stainless steel bracelet (for the same price as the green, $2,975) or on a blue or black rubber strap (which drops the cost of both to $2,775) and have bezel-matching dial colors and rhodium-plated indices. All of the bracelets feature a double-safety folding clasp with micro-adjustment.

In terms of the technical aspects of these models, they house the same Longines GMT calibre L844.5 self-winding movement as the 41mm model because it features a silicon balance spring and components made of non-magnetic materials, thus offering better precision as well as a 72-hour power reserve.

The watches are also water-resistant to 300 meters (30 bar) and, as is proper for dive watches, come equipped with a screw-down crown.

Final Thoughts

Longines continues its appeal to watch enthusiasts with champagne and caviar tastes but may not have the bank account to match. As a strategy, it makes sense; Longines is a respectable brand that creates quality timepieces that, with a little love and care, are bound to last an exceedingly long time (which is probably why I have so many in my collection).

So, while I’m not an adventurer (quite frankly, the ocean scares the hell out of me), the new HydroConquest GMT is a watch I would consider buying for someone in my orbit. For more information, check out the Longines website.

(Images © Longines)

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