Longines is releasing three brand-new chronograph models for 2023. All three will be part of their Conquest collection of watches and allthree have the potential to be really good sellers for the brand. When I first started getting into watches, Longines’ Conquest and Hydroconquest watches always stood out to me. They were attainable, yet good-looking watches that felt special. Longines has come a decent way since around 2012 and this release is a good example of the kind of solid watch that Longines is capable of making. There’s a lot here I like and one big issue that I’m saving for the end, but let’s start with a rundown of what you’re getting with this new watch.
The Longines Conquest Chronograph is available in a 42mm steel case and is offered solely on a bracelet. The watch has a sapphire crystal for the front and for the exhibition back, a ceramic bezel (black or blue depending on the model), and a screw-down crown giving the watch 100m of water resistance. The sunray-finished dial is available in black with contrasting subdials, champagne with contrasting subdials, or blue. The dials feature Super-LumiNova for both the hands and applied indices. The movement Longines is using is the Cal. L898, a 4Hz modified ETA 2892 movement with 59 hours of power reserve. Longines finishes the movement with Geneva striping and perlage, plus a custom rotor.
Now, let’s get to the fun part: talking about everything I like about this watch. The design here, while a bit reminiscent of a Daytona or certain Seiko models, makes for a very attractive watch. What puts it over the top are the colour schemes for the three dial options. Your options are either a black and silver “almost reverse panda” dial, a dial that is very similar to a Lemon Daytona , or a sporty blue dial. Both dials with contrasting subdials give you somewhat vintage looks, yet with a modern spin on things. The touch of red, offered only on the black dial version, is a nice touch too. The bracelet isn’t anything too notable, but the taper looks good on it and overall I really like the look of the totality of these watches. I know I normally prefer chronographs around the 40-41mm size, but I think 42 works here. These will all be highly versatile chronographs that span everywhere from the sportiness of the blue dial, to the perfect modern/vintage combo that is the Lemon-lookalike, the champagne dial.
With so many watch brands going for kind of “out there” designs or increasing prices to ridiculous amounts, this watch could be a home run and become the go-to recommendation for big-name-brand chronographs in the 2,000-3,500 USD price point. That takes us next to my one big issue with this watch.
Supposedly the price will be 4,000 EUR. This watch would be an easy buy if it weren’t for that one little detail. I’m definitely not someone that demands a watchmaker have an in-house movement, as I think the push across the industry for everything to be in-house has been, quite frankly, kind of ridiculous and in some cases has just been a way for brands to try and justify ridiculous price increases. I’m fine with this watch having Longines’ Cal. L898, a modified ETA 2892. Having a modified 2892 though requires that the watch be priced within a certain realm of reasonability, especially when you factor in who is making the watch and what you expect the price to be. Longines needs to remain a watchmaker that manufactures quality, yet attainable, watches. Longines can market themselves at this price point and see what happens, but I strongly feel Longines is going to price themselves out of the market. Especially in a time where so many brands are pricing themselves to ridiculous new highs, we need some quality watch brands that are still reasonably priced and attainable.
Longines has an incredible opportunity to try and take lots of ground that has been left open by companies that used to dominate this space. Companies like Tag Heuer come to mind. If we’re at a point where a Longines chronograph is 4,000+, how many buyers are going to be lining up to buy one of these? Those wanting a nice, but attainable watch are going to be left in the dust, and those that have the funds for this watch might instead prefer the comparable Tudor Black Bay Chronograph at the same price point or even add a bit more to get something like an Omega Speedmaster. This could be a really great watch, but Longines will wind up missing out on many potential buyers with this relatively high pricing. With all the good I can say about these new models, can I justify this price for a watch that should probably be a lot closer to 3,000? I doubt it
The new Longines Conquest Chronograph is available with black, champagne, or blue dial and is priced at 4,000 EUR.