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Longines’ Conquest turns 70 with the Heritage Central Power Reserve

The Longines Conquest Heritage Central Power Reserve in champagne dial.

The timepiece revives a unique power reserve indication that celebrates the significance of this durable sporty watch.

This year, Longines is celebrating an important occasion – the Conquest’s 70th anniversary. The Conquest holds an important place in the brand’s history as its first product family, with a name that was registered with the Swiss intellectual property office. This represented Longines’ first step in its modern product strategy, one that many watch companies began to adopt in the same period.

The Longines Conquest Central Power Reserve from 1959.
The Longines Conquest Central Power Reserve from 1959.

Last year, the Conquest and its younger sibling, the HydroConquest, enjoyed a minor design update ahead of the collection’s 70th. At the start of this year, we’re seeing its first commemorative piece – the Heritage Central Power Reserve. Designed to appeal to explorers and adventurers of the era, the Conquest offered three important qualities – water resistance, sturdiness, and automatic winding. In 1959, to emphasise the last quality, a particularly distinctive model with a unique power reserve display was introduced.

The power reserve indicator is on the centremost disc, with a single baton marker. The thick end of the bar is the display, and around it is a second disc that shows the reserve power with markings. Now, as the power from the mainspring is used in the movement, the indication disc turns clockwise to follow the countdown. Nothing surprising here, but when you wind the movement, either via the crown or driving the oscillating rotor, rather than the indication disc moving backwards, the disc with the power reserve marker moves clockwise to ‘catch up’ with the indicator!

The Longines Conquest Heritage Central Power Reserve in champagne dial.
The Longines Conquest Heritage Central Power Reserve with champagne dial.

Over time, you’ll see the central power reserve change positions, never quite the same place as before. (Warning to OCD people with no chill: You may find this watch frustrating.) The design of this complication – and it is a complication, people – was inspired by Longines’ use of rotating discs in its hour-angle watches from the 1920s, designed to cater to early aeronauts.

The Longines Conquest Heritage Central Power Reserve in anthracite dial.
The Longines Conquest Heritage Central Power Reserve with anthracite dial.

The 38mm stainless steel watch is available in three dial variations – vintage-ish champagne dial with gold-coloured hands, hour markers, and date window frame; anthracite dial with rose gold-coloured details; and jet black dial with silver accents. The date window is at an uncommon 12 o’clock, also a detail that several Swiss watchmakers explored during that same era. The case follows the refreshed design of the Conquest, with a box sapphire crystal, shorter lugs that curve to the wrist well and polished chamfers against satin-finished surfaces on the case.

The Longines Conquest Heritage Central Power Reserve in black dial.
The Longines Conquest Heritage Central Power Reserve with black dial.

Powering the watch is Longines’ L896.5 calibre, which has a very generous power reserve of 64 hours, more than enough to survive the weekend. The movement can be viewed through the exhibition caseback and has a silicon hairspring plus amagnetic components in the escapement that enhance the watch’s resistance to magnetism and shock. Each watch comes with a choice of mattified grey or black leather strap with a steel pin buckle, but we would be curious to see if there’s a Longines bracelet that could be paired with it and what that would look like in the wild.

The Longines Conquest Heritage Central Power Reserve is priced at S$5,810 and is available on Longines’ website as well as all authorised retailers. While it is a Heritage model, and those are typically limited editions, this isn’t; it will be available in limited production instead. Head to the nearest retailer to discover this unique model.

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Editor

Darren has been writing about, and admiring the craft of watchmaking for over a dozen years. He considers himself lucky to live in a golden age of horology, and firmly believes that the most difficult watches to design are the simplest and the most intriguing to discover.


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