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The Longines HydroConquest features a boldly contemporary design and a sturdy, water-resistant construction that have made it one of the most popular dive watches in its sport-luxury price segment. Since its debut in 2007, the Longines HydroConquest has expanded into a versatile collection with an array of sizes, colorways, and materials to appeal to a wide audience of dive watch enthusiasts. Here are seven things to know if you're looking at adding a Longines HydroConquest watch to your collection.
Longines, which derives its name from “les longines,” aka “the long meadows” that surround the Swiss village of Saint-Imier where it was founded, has been making timepieces since 1832. It wasn’t until 1954, however, that Longines began engaging in the modern marketing practice of introducing product families with distinctive names. “Conquest” was the first such name to be registered, on April 3, 1954, with the Swiss Register of Intellectual Property. The original Longines Conquest (reproduced above) was designed as one of the first generation of “modern” wristwatches, i.e., equipped with a highly accurate automatic movement and a water-resistant case that also protected the movement from magnetism and shocks.
Despite its utilitarian elements, the original Conquest was undeniably a dress watch, with a very modest 35mm case; a clean, minimalist dial; applied diamond-shaped indexes; and Dauphine hands. The modern version, above, is more sporty in character, with steel cases starting at 39mm, a dial distinguished by a combination of rectangular applied indexes, prominent applied Arabic numerals at 6 and 12 o’clock, a date window at 3 o’clock, and sword-shaped hands. The cases sport a very robust water resistance of 300 meters.
In 2007, with the revival of the mechanical sport-luxury watch in full swing and the divers’ watch genre in particular gaining popularity, Longines introduced the HydroConquest, which built upon the contemporary Conquest design for an even more rugged and sport-oriented architecture, one aimed squarely at recreational divers and those who wanted to emulate their look. The core Conquest model’s stationary, brushed steel bezel gave way to a unidirectionally ratcheting bezel with a 60-minute dive-scale insert, with the first 15-minute sector delineated by minute markers and Arabic numerals at each subsequent 10-minute interval. An applied Arabic numeral at 9 o’clock replaced the rectangular index on the non-diving model, while the 3 o’clock date display was retained. The more traditional sword handset was replaced by a short, faceted hour hand with a bulging luminous diamond, a baton minute hand, and a lollipop-style sweep seconds hand.
Bigger, bolder round indexes were added at the 12 hour positions, and a generous coating of Super-LumiNova was applied to the hands, indexes, and the orientation dot at 12 o’clock on the bezel. The water resistance remained at 300 meters, more than sufficient to meet ISO requirements for a diving watch, secured by a screw-down crown flanked by crown protectors and by a screw-down caseback with a relief engraving of Longines’ historical winged hourglass logo. The three-link steel bracelets have a double security folding clasp and an integrated divers’ extension.
As a watch brand historically concerned about price-value ratio and practicality, Longines makes most of its watches in steel, and despite dabbling in some very notable titanium sport-luxury watches recently, this remains the case with the HydroConquest family — with one notable exception that I spotlight later. At the collection’s most entry-level price point (just over $1,000 before taxes) are the all-steel models with Swiss quartz movements, namely the ETA Caliber L157, which is outfitted with an end-of-life indicator for its battery. These movements beat inside brushed steel cases at three sizes: 39mm in diameter and 10.1mm thick; 41mm in diameter and 11.9mm thick, or 44mm in diameter and 11.9mm thick. The 39mm and 41mm quartz models sell for $1,050, while the larger 44mm version tacks on just $50 more for the additional metal, retailing for $1,100. If you prefer an automatic movement, all three case options offer one and all are priced at the same MSRP of $1,325. These models, which are available with either a sunray blue or sunray black dial and matching-colored bezel insert, contain the Longines-exclusive Caliber L888, built upon the ETA L31.L11 base movement (ETA and Longines are both part of the Swatch Group) and souped up with a 72-hour power reserve and a frequency of 25,200 vph.
Taking a small step upward in price, Longines has embraced the two-tone look for an array of HydroConquest models, adding yellow-gold or rose-gold PVD coatings to various elements like the bezel, bracelet center links, and screw-down crown and gilding dial details like the hands, hour markers, and the applied winged-hourglass brand emblem. The entry-level, two-tone HydroConquest models are all in the “midsize” 41mm case, with sunray black or blue dials and mounted on steel-and-PVD three-link bracelets. The watches with the Swiss quartz Caliber L157 are priced at $1,200; the automatic versions retail for $1,475 and contain Longines’ proprietary Caliber L888.
Longines first used high-tech ceramic for a HydroConquest diver’s bezel in 2018 and has expanded the number of models outfitted with them in the subsequent years. Branching out to these models, which crank up the “luxury” component of this sport-luxury dive watch, opens up a plethora of additional options in size, bracelet type, and color combo. The case sizes range from 39mm (12.9mm thick), to 41mm (11.9mm thick) to 43mm (also 11.9mm). Black and blue dials are joined by dials in military green and smokey sunray gray. The ceramic diver’s bezels and the textured rubber straps echo the dial color for a well-coordinated wrist ensemble.
All of the models that incorporate ceramic bezels are equipped with the automatic L888 movement, which ticks behind a solid, relief-engraved, screwed caseback that ensures the professional-grade 300-meter water resistance. True to its mission of offering value for the money, Longines doesn’t charge a premium to upgrade from strap to bracelet in these models, all of which start at $1,700. The price of admission only creeps up to $1,950, just below the $2,000 threshold, on the models for which Longines has also added some yellow-gold or rose-gold elements, i.e. the center bracelet links, the crown, and the bezel housing the ceramic insert.
Adding a chronograph to a popular sport-watch collection is nearly always a crowd-pleasing move, and Longines somewhat predictably introduced one to the HydroConquest family in 2011. The HydroConquest Chronograph is currently available in four iterations, with two dial executions (the ubiquitous sunray blue and sunray black), both paired with either a bracelet or a blue or black rubber strap. The stainless steel case is 43mm in diameter, 15.9mm in thickness, water-resistant to 300 meters, and topped with a unidirectional ceramic bezel. The dial retains the applied Arabic “12” numeral and large dot indexes but displaces the other hour numerals with three subdials at 3, 6, and 9 o’clock to display 30 elapsed minutes, 12 elapsed hours, and running seconds, respectively; the date window moves to 4:30. Behind the solid steel, screw-down, relief engraved caseback, Longines has installed another of its ETA-based, brand-exclusive movements, the automatic L688, which uses a classical column wheel system to power its built-in stopwatch functions and a respectable 60-hour power reserve. The HydroConquest Chronograph comes in at a very reasonable price point for a chronograph with a Swiss-made, proprietary automatic movement: just $2,600.
The only HydroConquest model with a case that is not predominantly in stainless steel is the “stealth-look” matte-black version introduced in 2019, which uses a zirconium oxide ceramic for its entire case rather than just the diver’s bezel. Despite its monochromatic look, the watch is visually stunning with its subtle array of alternating finishes: matte on the dial, polished on the main case, round satin-brushed on the bezel, and a combo of matte and circular satin brushing on the caseback. The case is 43mm in diameter, slightly thicker than its steel cousins, at 13mm, and mounted on a black rubber strap whose folding clasp is also constructed from black ceramic. The water-resistance remains the same as that of the steel models, at 300 meters. Inside is the Longines Caliber L888.3, descended from the L888. The priciest option in the HydroConquest family, it nevertheless still represents quite a value for an all-ceramic watch with a Swiss automatic movement, at an MSRP of $3,950.
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