Longines Conquest V.H.P: Singapore Price And Review

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A new quartz revolution is taking place at Longines.

For far too long, quartz has been the (misunderstood?) bad boy of the watch industry. Insiders will, of course, remember the infamous ‘quartz revolution’ in the late 1970s (the less optimistic called it the ‘quartz crisis’), which nearly took down the entire Swiss watchmaking industry.

Not only were quartz movements more accurate and cheaper to produce, they were an affront to the centuries-old heritage of mechanical watchmaking which valued provenance and tradition. As a result of this ‘quartz revolution’, many watch brands either went out of business or cashed out for a pittance.

While the mechanical watch industry eventually recovered, quartz is still making a significant impact in the trade today. In 2016, export figures for quartz watches accounted for 83.2 million Swiss francs while mechanical watches brought in 122.4 million Swiss francs.

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But does it really deserve the shade it gets? After all, quartz is less susceptible to wear-and-tear, or temperature fluctuations, and, as mentioned earlier, trumps mechanical movements in accuracy. And in harnessing its power, few European watchmakers have done as well as Longines has.

The 1954 Chronocinégines

The Swiss marque first dipped its toes in quartz technology when it developed its first quartz clock in 1954—the start of many records in precision timekeeping. The clock was housed in the legendary Chronocinégines instrument (above), which was used to indicate the precise moment an athlete crossed the finish line. This was done through a film strip comprising a series of prints at 1/100th of a second, tracing the athletes’ every movement.

Longines Ultra-Quartz

Fifteen years later, Longines unveiled the Ultra-Quartz (above), thought to be the first mass-produced quartz wristwatch in the market. In 1984, the brand introduced the Longines Conquest (below) with the 276 VHP quartz calibre, capable of neutralising the effects of temperature fluctuations. VHP, of course, stands for ‘very high precision’. In fact, the calibre set a record for precision at that time, adding another feather to Longines’ cap.

1984 Longines Conquest

This week, Longines introduced the latest addition to its Conquest line, marking a breakthrough in quartz technology by combining electronically driven precision with smart watch-inspired attributes.

The new Longines Conquest V.H.P.

Equipped with a movement developed exclusively by ETA, the watch's quartz calibre promises high precision for an analogue watch (+5/-5 secs per year). The new Conquest V.H.P. (above) also features the world’s first in-built system that re-synchronises the watch hands after exposure to shock or magnetic fields using a gear position detection (GPD) system.

Two versions of the new Conquest are available—a three-hand option with perpetual calendar, and a chronograph model (below). Both editions come with an E.O.L indicator that signals the wearer when the battery is running low. The chronograph version sees a small seconds sub-dial at six o’clock, 30-minute totaliser at three o’clock and 12-hour totaliser at nine o’clock.

The new Longines Conquest V.H.P. chronograph

Available only in steel, the timepieces come in dial options that include on-trend carbon fibre, blue, silver and black—colours that complement most sartorial ensembles. Functional and sporty, the tickers are also dressy enough for an evening soiree. And in case you get too enthusiastic dancing at the after-hours party, you can rest assured your watch will survive the shock you give it.

Case

Stainless steel, 41mm or 43mm (three-hand), 42mm or 44mm (chronograph)

Dial

Black, silvered, blue or carbon, with two applied Arabic numerals and nine applied bar indexes with Super-LumiNova

Movement

Quartz calibre L288.2 (three-hand), L289.2 (chronograph)

Bracelet

Stainless steel with triple safety folding clasp and push-piece opening mechanism

Functions

Hours, minutes, seconds and perpetual calendar. Chronograph version includes central seconds hand, 30-minute and 12-hour totalisers

Price

S$1,510 (41mm), S$1,570 (43mm), S$2,460 (42mm), S$2,530 (44mm)

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Melissa Kong

Managing Editor

Like most people these days, Melissa tells the time with her phone. She considers serious timepieces works of art and thinks the perpetual calendar is the handiest complication to date (pun not intended). She's also a Grammar Nazi but promises not to judge if you can't tell the difference between "guilloche" and "guillotine".



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