The name Conquest is an important one at Longines, as it refers to a long-lasting collection that was first introduced in 1954. A surprising fact about this name: it was the first step in an emerging marketing strategy for the brand, which was to give a name to a family of watches, creating a collection. Something that seems common these days but proved powerful back then. Since then, the name Conquest has been synonymous with classic, all-rounder watches. The previous Conquest (not to be confused with the dive-oriented HydroConquest) had been around for many years and had started to look slightly outdated. But this year, Longines has decided to revamp entirely its go-anywhere, do-anything collection with the new Longines Conquest 2023. And after our introduction of the entire collection, it’s now time to have a closer look at the chronograph edition.
The Longines Conquest started its life in 1954 – to be precise, on April 3rd, 1954, Longines filed a patent for its Conquest collection and registered the name Conquest with the Swiss Federal Intellectual Property Office on May 5th, 1954. The early days of the collection were all about classic, slightly elegant but also robust watches – you can see the Conquest as Longines’s equivalent to early Seamaster watches. At first, these watches looked like this (the 2014 vintage re-editions are actually very accurate). These automatic watches featured a beautiful caseback with a medallion, but the most notable element was the dial, with bold and stylised arrow-shaped markers and a brushed circular track just below them.
Fast forward to the 2000s, and Longines gave its Conquest watch a slightly different meaning. In fact, the Conquest became a streamlined edition of the HydroConquest, sharing the same 300m water-resistant case (thus robust, not particularly elegant and quite thick) without the rotating bezel. The same recipe was used for the dials, with bold, oversized markers combining baton and Arabic numerals (the latter being reminiscent of the Hydro). Overall, for about 20 years, the Conquest has been more of a sleek sports watch than a casual all-rounder, moving a bit from its original definition – a watch that can be worn on all occasions, including at the office, while resistant enough to handle the action of the weekend (to quote our friends of Fratello, a GADA watch – go-anywhere, do-anything).
With the Conquest 2023, Longines does two things. First, it rejuvenates a watch collection that had started to feel dated. Second, it brings back a bit of the original concept with a sleeker, slightly more elegant model with less of a tool-watch approach. Surfing the trend for sporty-chic watches (without being a typical luxury sports watch with integrated design), the new Conquest is far more modern, less bulky, more streamlined, casual and quite elegant at the same time, and if you look closely, even blends some elements of the past (the brushed circular track) in an overall contemporary package. Still, this isn’t a collection that is part of the Heritage line, so don’t expect a resemblance with the old models.
This watch collection, in my opinion, serves the same purpose as an Aqua Terra at Omega, a Gentleman at Tissot or an Oyster Perpetual at Rolex. Simple, classic watches that can do almost everything, as long as we’re not talking about a specific, highly focused mission. In this instance, the new time-and-date Conquest 2023 is certainly a very decent offer. And while it already represents a major step forward compared to the previous editions, I think the chronograph edition shows an even more drastic evolution.
Let’s first talk about the design. As we’ve seen when looking at the full collection, the Longines Conquest 2023 is a major evolution of the concept. Sleeker, more angular, more modern, but also more elegant and less bulky than in the past, there’s an undeniable desire to make the collection more refined. As for the chronograph edition, the same is true, yet it must be toned down slightly for the obvious reason of the vocation of a chronograph. Sportier, more complex, and busier on the dial, this new edition of the Conquest Chronograph nevertheless manages to make the old models feel truly dated. The shape of the case has been entirely remodelled, with straighter and tighter lines, more simple pump-style pushers and a smaller, better-integrated crown guard module.
Being the sportier model in this collection, Longines decided to give it a slightly larger case, here measuring 42mm in diameter (vs. 41mm for the time-and-date watch). Also, due to the movement inside and the more complex display, it is a sizeable watch when it comes to its thickness, at 14.30mm, which remains on the average side for an automatic chronograph. An interesting evolution, while the time-and-date model shows a reduction of its resistance (from 300m to 100m WR), it is the opposite for the Chronograph, as the entire collection is now rated at 100m – always pleasant for a chronograph, as the older editions had 50m water-resistant cases.
Most of the personality of this new Conquest 2023 Chronograph comes from its fixed, contrasting bezel with a ceramic insert and a tachymeter scale. I would have expected this collection to stick to a flat, polished bezel, but I must admit that this black (or blue) bezel adds character to a watch that could otherwise have been a bit too simple. Other features are traditional, with a combination of finely brushed and polished surfaces, a screw-down crown, a screwed back with see-through crystal and an anti-reflective sapphire crystal on top. And, as you can expect from a Longines, the overall execution is precise and solid.
Moving on to the dial, there’s been a drastic evolution here, too, with a dial that has been completely redesigned. On all versions of the Conquest, the oversized Arabic numerals are gone, replaced by more discreet applied markers. The only reference to the past is the brushed circular ring under the markers, which has a contrasting colour (save for the blue edition) on the chronograph. Combined with contrasting sub-counters in black or white, this gives a more dynamic look to this Conquest 2023 Chronograph, which is enhanced by the newly shaped hands. Classic, with a slight geometric feel, the dial (which has a no-date display) feels more modern yet doesn’t have much personality. It looks very good – especially in its champagne version – but might lack some distinctive or unique elements.
This new Chronograph model is available in four editions: champagne with black bezel and sub-counters, silver-white with black bezel and counters and red tachymeter mention, black with black bezel, silver counters and red tachymeter mention, and finally, blue with tone-on-tone bezel and counters. For now, all models are worn on a classic brushed and polished steel bracelet with a folding clasp; however, other options could be added later.
Under the sapphire caseback is the calibre L898.5. Made specifically for Longines by ETA, this automatic chronograph features an antimagnetic silicon hairspring and a comfortable power reserve of 59 hours. What could be a bit disappointing is its architecture since it is based on the ETA 2892 with a module on top. Not only does it not have the same “prestige” as an integrated architecture (even though it performs identically), but also, the view through the back is that of a simple automatic movement. Nothing dramatic here, but Longines has other movements in its catalogue that would have been better suited, such as the L688.2 with a column wheel.
Overall, the new Longines Conquest collection is a major step forward in terms of looks. It is a nicely designed watch with a look that will certainly remain pleasant for many years to come. It’s also a great all-rounder with all the equipment you’ll ever need for conventional use. Still, at EUR 3,950, this Chronograph edition is not the cheapest, and a slightly more high-end movement, a chronometer certification, or additional features on the bracelet (interchangeability, micro-adjustment) would have been welcome.
For more details, please visit longines.com.