Last week, Longines held a press event at the Elizabeth Taylor Collective in New York City. The Elizabeth Taylor Collective is an exhibition center located in the heart of Midtown Manhattan. It never actually belonged to Elizabeth Taylor. It was actually built by famed artist Michael Todd, and it’s where he painted some of his most famous work, including Up in Central Park. It was designed by architectural legends Warren and Westmore, and features a sweeping main staircase that leads to a mezzanine with a famous art gallery.
As such, the Elizabeth Taylor Collective was an ideal location for an event by a legendary watchmaker. The purpose of this Longines’ event was to announce their new watch releases for 2020. Most of these watches had previously been under embargo, with some still remaining under embargo, but Longines President Walter von Känel was proud to reveal a select few and answer questions from the press.
Longines is famous for their re-creations of classic watches, and it looks like they’re going to continue to deliver on this promise. There were several watches released at this event, but there were a few that particularly stood out. The one that impressed me most was their new HydroConquest. The new release comes in a gorgeous deep green, which manages to appear outdoorsy while maintaining Longines’ classic look.
It comes with two bands: a traditional metal bracelet and a green rubber band that matches the dial. For the first time, Longines has also integrated a quick release system into the lugs.
This allows you to switch from a formal to a casual look in just a few seconds, and is a major selling point for the new design. It’s not a patented system, and it’s not quite as complex as the new quick release integrated into the Cartier Santos line, but it definitely allows for quick and easy strap changing with less chance of scratching the case during the process.
Longines Caliber L888.3 Movement
The new HydroConquest uses Longines’ in-house Caliber L888.3 movement, which was first released in 2017. Based on the ETA A31.L02, the Caliber L888.3 is an automatic movement that beats with a frequency of 25,200 beats per hour.
At this rate, the second hand appears to sweep smoothly across the dial. It features a 64-hour power reserve, so you can set it aside for a few days without having to reset your watch. As with most automatic movements, the accuracy isn’t perfect. But you’re still looking at a reasonable +/- 10 seconds per day, which is pretty good by automatic movement standards.
The New Green Dial
So far, the new HydroConquest still sounds similar to Longines’ existing HydroConquest line, including our previously reviewed fully ceramic Hydroqonquest ZrO2. The real attraction of the new release is the dial, which has a new look. The background is a bold forest green, with no complications to clutter up the dial. There are large white lume numerals at the 6, 9, and 12 o’clock positions, and a small date window at 3 o’clock. Bold white lume dots mark the 5-minute positions, with small, elegant hashes at the single minute positions.
The second hand is long and slender, with a small white luminescent lollypop near the tip. The minute hand is of a medium length, but wider, and marked with a white lume stripe down the center.
The squat hour hand has a diamond-shaped lume spot near the tip. All three are silver in color, providing a sharp, classy but sporty contrast to the dial.
Medium Bold Case
The case on the new HydroConquest measures 41mm in diameter, which would normally lend it a medium wrist presence. However, it’s enhanced by a heavy, ribbed bezel that has a green ceramic inset to match the dial. Although the HydroConquest is not a dive watch, the bezel is a dive-style, with single minute hashes from the 12 o’clock position to the 3 o’clock position. 10-minute marks are indicated by numerals, with 5-minute marks indicated by long white hashes.
The screw-down crown is protected by wide crown guard extensions that sweep outwards from the case, reducing the odds of snagging. The case back is also screwed down, which makes it easy to perform maintenance when needed.
It still provides water resistance to 300 meters, as befits a watch named after the conquest of water. The crystal is a scratch-resistant sapphire, and sits flat with the bezel. It doesn’t distort the dial at all, making the HydroConquest easy to read from any angle.
Stay tuned in the coming months as we reveal some of the new Longines re-issues that are currently under embargo. Some of which will probably be the best heritage pieces attainable in the year 2020.