Longines Conquest VHP ‘Very High Precision’ Watches Return

Longines Conquest VHP ‘Very High Precision’ Watches Return

Longines Conquest VHP 'Very High Precision' Watches Return Hands-On

In a pleasant surprise, Longines invited us for the presentation of a new quartz movement that marks the return of their Very High Precision ("VHP") watches. It is so important to the brand that Longines wanted to get ahead of the Baselworld 2017 rush. I assume, therefore, that this is going to play a crucial role in the future strategy of the company. Longines' love story with quartz movements is a long one, so let us look back quickly and see where the new Longines Conquest VHP Very High Precision watches are coming from.

Longines Conquest VHP 'Very High Precision' Watches Return Hands-On

Longines Conquest VHP 'Very High Precision' Watches Return Hands-On

The 1954 Chronocinérgies was a pioneering instrument capable of creating a film out of a series of prints at the speed of 1/100th of a second, a determining element at the finish line of a race. It was regulated by Longines' first quartz movement, which would then set a series of precision records measured at the Neuchâtel Observatory.

Longines Conquest VHP 'Very High Precision' Watches Return Hands-On

Longines Conquest VHP 'Very High Precision' Watches Return Hands-On
Longines Ultra-Quartz from 1969.

In 1969 Longines launched the Ultra-Quartz (called "the World's first Cybernetic Watch," it was also the last) which Longines says was the first quartz watch with mass production already in mind. Now, Seiko possibly would want to argue with that, but that takes nothing away from this notable chapter in the history of Longines and of quartz technology. Later, in 1984, Longines presented the 276 VHP (Very High Precision), a movement that was used in the Conquest line and that was already thermo-compensated. Consequently, today it is the Conquest family that benefits from this new VHP caliber and does so with two different models that each come in two different sizes, a three-hand and chronograph.

Longines Conquest VHP 'Very High Precision' Watches Return Hands-On

Longines Conquest VHP 'Very High Precision' Watches Return Hands-On
1984 Longines Conquest V.H.P.

Quartz watches are tricky machines for watchmaking companies: they generally are easier to produce, as well as easier and cheaper to maintain – for the most part, users just need to change the battery every couple of years or so – and can offer complications at a price no mechanical watch could dream of. The downside is that they are just "battery-operated" watches with little or no real distinction in the eye of the common folk and are almost taboo for some mechanical watch purists. So, when a  traditional watch company also embarks upon the production of quartz movements, it needs something that will differentiate it from the tens of thousands of cheap quartz watches flooding the market. High precision is certainly a distinctive feature that can attract those buyers ready to pay more for a better-built and better-performing watch.

Longines Conquest VHP 'Very High Precision' Watches Return Hands-On

Longines Conquest VHP 'Very High Precision' Watches Return Hands-On

High precision is, in fact, exactly what this new Longines Conquest VHP is all about: it is accurate to ± 5 seconds per year. Let's keep in mind that COSC requirements for quartz movements are ± 0.07 seconds per day, which translate into ± 25.55 seconds per year. The new L288.2 three-hands and L289.2 chronograph calibers clearly outperform certified quartz chronometers. The Grand Seiko SBGX093 Quartz, the Bulova Moon Chronograph, and even the ETA Precidrive or the Omega Spacemaster Z-33 come to mind because they are all high-precision quartz movements, but none to the degree of the new Longines VHP calibers. The Grand Seiko, Bulova, and Omega watches I cited are accurate to a very impressive ± 10 seconds per year or about half that of the Longines VHP.

Longines Conquest VHP 'Very High Precision' Watches Return Hands-On

Longines Conquest VHP 'Very High Precision' Watches Return Hands-On

But was it necessary to go that far with precision? Was it a real demand of the market? Well, the origin of the Longines Conquest VHP goes back to 2015 and the advent of the smart watch, which got Longines thinking how to face this new competition. They came to the conclusion that they had to stick to what they do best, which is making traditional watches. But since something as traditional and as Swiss as precision had been stolen away and bragged about by the smart watches (and previously by smart phones), Longines decided that they would offer the most precise non-connected watch in the world. As it happened, ETA had already been playing with that idea, so they all sat down and started defining the project and deciding what other things the watch should offer as well.

Longines Conquest VHP 'Very High Precision' Watches Return Hands-On

Longines Conquest VHP 'Very High Precision' Watches Return Hands-On

Another important feature here is the GPD system, which stands for Gear Position Detection. The movement is constantly remembering the position of the hands so that when the watch goes through a shock or an impact (typically the 1-meter fall from a wrist) it has the ability to reset the hands to the position they were in before the accident. The caliber also has two sensors that detect magnetic fields, so if the watch enters one, it immediately stops the hands and, when the danger has passed, puts them back in the position they should be.

What do you think?
  • I want it! (130)
  • Interesting (64)
  • Thumbs up (36)
  • I love it! (20)
  • Classy (14)
  • IG

    Finally ETA has (E56.111, E57.211) competitive movements against Citizen’s The Citizen at ±5spy.

    • webvan

      True but neither are Citizen’s movements.

    • Luis

      True. To me it seems that the most durable movement is still the 9F by Grand Seiko. It might not be most accurate (although they tend to perform much better than the advertised 10s/year) nor the one with the most features but it seems to be the one of higher quality, made to last and with attention to detail, the one quartz that you could pass to your son.

      • IG

        I’d pass a quartz to my son only as a punishment.

  • R Khalifa

    So does the second hand sweep like a Precisionist or is it still a ticker?

    • IG

      Nope, it’s a 1 sec stepper, so the 1/3 subsecond markers are totally pointless…

      • R Khalifa

        Thanks for responding, IG! Any idea if the high precision movement will lead to a more accurate seconds hand? Where it actually hits the seconds marker on each marker?

        • IG

          Well if you read the article, the GPD system is about this.

  • Yanko

    Another evidence that SWATCH GROUP is suffocating.

  • IanE

    So, if it’s a perpetual, how does one set the year and month? (Awful crown protectors!)

    • I guess meaning how do you set the year and month during that once every 5 years battery change.

      • IanE

        Well, I was wondering if the user had access to these settings – if only to check that, at battery change, things were set right (rather than waiting for a Leap Year, say, to find that the year setting is wrong).

  • trxtr

    how convenient that you forgot to mention Citizen Chronomaster when talking about competition

  • The Deplorable Boogur T. Wang

    Thank You Señor Tejedor.
    I would like to see this in a side-by-side with a Bulova 262.

    • Shinytoys

      I would as well. Already have the Bulova UHF and that second hand is so smooth, the build quality excellent. It would be an interesting comparison…

      • SuperStrapper

        Agree. They don’t have magic crowns, but they are more accurate than required, designed well and easily obtainable. The perpetual calendar really is their most important differentiator here.

        These Longines certainly aren’t overpriced, but Bulova certainly has created a difficult hurdle to overcome in this segment.

  • SuperStrapper

    If VHP actually stood for ‘very hard penis’ and they abbreviated their name to just LONG. on the dial… well, it wouldn’t make any sense or mean anything. But it would be amusing.

    • IG

      Very Humble Proposition

      • SuperStrapper

        Regarding my version of VHP? Well, I don’t think I actually… well, let’s get a look at the tits first I guess.

  • Mark1884

    I like this watch for what it is. A quartz watch with some interesting technology inside it. My preferred model would be the 3 hander. They seem solid and sized correctly.
    The functions that seem cool to me are the “magic” crown & Gear Position Detection system. The perpetual calendar is also nice to have. I place this in the group with the Precisionist.

    I think Longines came up with a good looking watch and bracelet. Not running out to get one, just think they are interesting.

  • Shawn Lavigne

    cool, now just put it in a watch without that horrible style of crown and guards. ughhh!

  • commentator bob

    Interesting strategy and Longines is probably the right brand for it. Setting the perpetual calendar from the factory has advantages and disadvantages, but is an interesting way to avoid needing radio connection or a phone or computer sync. If nothing else I like this because it shows how stupid and overpriced the Breitling plastic quartz watches are.

  • Willy Chu

    Very well thought out watch, esp the quick hour hand adjustment. For the chronograph, would have been cool to pull the stem out and use the pushers to adjust the hour hand forwards and backwards for DST and travel.

  • Larry Holmack

    The Bulova Precisionist has this watch beaten in every way! This one you either have a black or a white dial…..what’s up with that? Just a total lack of creativity in my book. And let’s talk about the crown and the pushers on the chronograph…..they’re butt ugly!!! They look like they are off the old stop watch my coaches used back in the 1960’s!!! And, for the price of this thing, I can buy at least 3 Bulova’s off of almost any online AD.
    They need to stick to making women’s watches!!! This one will be on overstock and deal of the day sites in record time!!

    • IG

      No, it hasn’t. The Bulova has only ±10spy accuracy.

      • Larry Holmack

        I don’t really care about technical stats…because no one sits around and measures that stuff at their house. The Bulova is just as nice….looks better…has more color options and when you tell your watch friends that you have a Longines…they think you’re wearing a ladies watch. And who is going to complain about losing or gaining 10 seconds per year??? Only the anal retentive geek……
        If you think it’s better, that’s your opinion…mine is…. I don’t like it!!!

        • IG

          I don’t really care about your opinion… The Bulova has worse accuracy and that’s a fact not an opinion. So it hasn’t got the Longines “beaten in every way”.

          • SuperStrapper

            If you place an equitable MSRP dollar to every second of accuracy, then the Bulova does win. The ETA movement is twice as accurate, but at much more than twice the price.

            Regardless the difference between 5and 10 seconds a year of accuracy is a worthless nerd argument in a forum, not anything that actually matters. If anyone actually required that level of accuracy, they wouldn’t get it from a wristwatch.

          • IG

            Nope, in the case of two watches called Precisionist Ultra High Frequency and Very High Precision any difference in accuracy is worth discussing as their main aspect and Longines/ETA have beaten Bulova in this regard.

      • Sevenmack

        Depends. It is usually between +/-5 and +/-10 a year depending on how often the watch is worn (which is an issue for even thermocompensated HAQ). My two Precisionists get +/-5.

        Ultimately, it doesn’t matter. The good news is that Longines has revived its HAQ quartz offerings and that is as good for horology as the success (so far) of Bulova’s Precisionist/UHF line.

    • Phil

      Bulova doesn’t have thermocompensation, perpetual calendar or independant hour hand.
      You can’t really compare them because Bulova isn’t in the same league technically.

      • Larry Holmack

        Yeah…and a Jag has lots more bells and whistles than my Ford SUV….but if you gave me one…I’d sell it and get a new Ford SUV. I don’t like the Longines…unless it can vacuum my floors and wash dishes.

  • The crown guard (in the 2nd photo on the 2nd page of this post) look really blocky in the vertical aspect and out of place. Which is too bad as otherwise the case is sleek and well proportioned (not exciting or distinctive, but competently designed). I like the black dial but I find the green lume on the white one to be distracting. The CF dial is nice too. Always nice to see new super-quartz but as others have noted, Bulova has set the bar with a sweeping second hand and more affordable pricing. Like IanE, I have some reservations down the road about the setting the perpetual calendar during a battery change. The magic crown is innovative.

    • Yan Fin

      not sure that Magic Crown is something new. I have a Dunhill Chrono alarm with similar crown functionality- swift turn vs regular turn. And totally agree about crown guard on it makes 3 hand model look just ugly.

    • Kuroji

      Breitling Aerospace has the same crown feature. It sounds better than it works.

  • Phil

    So ETA managed to equal the features of the Citizen A660 movement?
    Well done. Was perpetual calendar, independent hour hand and 5 seconds per year really that hard? Maybe they bought a Chronomaster and took it apart.

    Strange this article doesn’t mention the fact that Citizen has been selling watches with all these features for years.

    Now add solar too like ‘The Citizen’ A010 and I might be impressed.

    Still, good to see the Swiss making some effort with quartz.

  • Mediocre Watchman

    The non-chrono looks oustanding! That being said, I am not a huge chrono fan, but I can respect an high accuracy chrono!

  • Lincolnshire Poacher

    I like these, they’re straight ford “what it says on the tin” watches. I’m not bothered by the nubins (crown guards) on the side, they suit the look. Some of the colour combinations are a little more outré that others. The 12 and 6 on the three-handers just look fantastic.
    I like them. I’d still spend a little more and get a quartz GS, or quartz AT. But these are cheaper, so I think a good deal.
    (Everybody needs a good go-to, grab-on-the-way out quartz watch).

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  • Word Merchant

    I take it that the box with all the knobs on (3rd photo down) is the easy to hide battery pack.

  • Ulysses31

    So it has parity with other HEQ watches from years ago. The bland, generic design is a real turn-off for me though. Now, the 1969 Ultra Quartz, that’s a nice looking watch.

  • Juan-Antonio Garcia

    Like them both, very simple but nice to look at. And at that price point I do not see how they can get it wrong, they look right from formal to sport occasions.

  • Yojimbo

    the carbon fibre one is hideous, the other I really like

  • JF Schnell

    This Longines checks most of the marks on my “most desired” list. The white dial color is not what I do like in watches but still in the overall is just amazing.

  • guy dallimore

    I have been looking for a white faced watch. the Chrono might be a new purchase!

  • Jermaine Scott

    The second hand that jumps past the seconds marker on most quartz watches drove me crazy. How is the second hand on this? Does it sweep or tick? Thanks!

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  • Brian Marker

    I’m not even a quartz fan at all, but there is something remarkably attractive about the technology and design of these. I think for the price, you can count me in on a 3 hander in either white or blue dial.