March 11, 2017
You also get a perpetual calendar in that the date will accurately be represented taking into account the length of months and leap years. This means you never need to fiddle with the positions of the crown to correct the date, which I personally hate doing. This is also why the watch will not let you advance the hour hand more than twenty-four hours because it understands there is no such time zone ahead. In this way, the proper functioning of the perpetual date is preserved.
And speaking of setting the time, the Longines Conquest V.H.P. has a “magic crown” with which you can set the time the traditional way (just advancing minute by minute), or with this new function where you can advance or go back an hour with a swift turn of the crown. It takes a bit of getting used to, but I can assure you that once you get it you don’t want to do it any other way. When you start adjusting, the seconds hand goes to zero but then, thanks to the GPD system, it jumps instantly to the right position. By the way, “magic crown” is not the official name, but Xavier Ligero, Head of Product Development and creator of the watch (and half-Spaniard, half-Swiss), started calling it that during the presentation and the name somewhat stuck.
Lastly, Longines claims that the battery has a 5-year duration. There is an “EOL” end-of-life indicator that signals the end of the battery’s life making the seconds hand jump in 5-second increments. When there is not enough energy to keep the watch running precisely, the hands will go into sleep mode at the 12-hour position. But there will still be energy to keep the perpetual calendar moving for another 6 months.
The collection that signals the launch of this new VHP caliber has the distinctive look of the Longines Conquest family but with design variations that make the watches look more modern and sporty. All cases are in steel and come in different sizes: 41mm and 43mm for the three-handers and 42mm or 44mm for the chronograph. Xavier told me that when they were developing the watches, they had their minds focused on the US market, and Americans do not care much for watches under 42mm since people are generally taller and bigger (certainly more than we Europeans). However, a three-hand watch of more than 43mm in diameter would not be popular either, unlike chronographs.
While the Longines Conquest VHP’s crown is the same as the standard Longines Conquest collection, the crown guards are different: instead of growing seamlessly from the case to the crown, now they protrude somewhat abruptly to give it a bolder look. The change is even more visible in the chronograph pushers, which are now completely separated from the crown. The case, bracelet, and crown guards are brushed while the bezel, crown, and pushers are polished to offer a refined contrast.
There are differences in the dial too: the color of the VHP collection is red, which previously only appeared in the Conquest Chronographs. Now, the minute markers and the central hand come in red, as do the chronograph hands and the VHP logo. The three sub-dials are closer to each other for a more balanced look than that of the standard collection. The date window, however, has not changed and remains nicely positioned towards the outer edge.
Overall legibility is excellent thanks to long, faceted hands and equally prominent indices, all treated with a new “New Noir” coating that makes them look sharper and sportier. And since they are all filled with Super-Luminova C3 (instead of the habitual white C1) it is far more noticeable even in daylight, and the contrast with the dial is really powerful – it really surprised me when I saw it. Another significant aesthetic change is the dial pattern: instead of the sunburst decoration now we find a fine circular guilloché that looks more elegant except, of course, the carbon fiber dial which is a novelty in the Longines Conquest collection and quite rare among three-hand watches altogether.
Prices for the three-hand Longines Conquest VHP 41mm and 43mm will be CHF 950 and CHF 990, respectively, while the Chronograph version will retail at CHF 1,550 and CHF 1,590 for the 42mm and 44mm. All those prices include Swiss VAT. They will hit the shops in September (“I hope!” – exclaimed vice president Juan Carlos Capelli), and at Baselworld 2017 they are expected to reveal some more models. It is more than likely that these calibers will end up being used by the rest of the Swatch Group, but Longines has exclusive use for the next two years. longines.com