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Longines Conquest V.H.P.: A New Quartz Revolution


In 1954, with quartz timekeeping technology still in its embryonic phase, Longines launched the world’s first quartz clock with atomic precision, which was certified at Switzerland’s Neuchâtel Observatory. This week, that selfsame observatory was the stage for the unveiling of a new wristwatch with an all-new ultra-precise, high-tech quartz movement: the Longines Conquest V.H.P.

Longines Conquest VHP Chronograph
Longines Conquest V.H.P Chronograph (Ref. L3.717.4.66.6)

The Longines Conquest V.H.P. (the initials stand for “Very High Precision”) is the newest version of a watch Longines introduced in 1984 — which was in turn the product of many decades of Longines’ technical innovations in quartz-powered timing, of which many watch aficionados may be unaware.

That first quartz clock, which would go on to claim numerous subsequent precision records at the Neuchatel Observatory after its debut there in 1954, was integrated into a famous sports-timing instrument, the Chronocinégines (below). This device — which provided racing judges with a film strip composed of a series of pictures recorded at 1/100th second, allowing them to precisely record the moment an athlete crossed a finish line — represented a milestone in timekeeping history.

Longines Chronocinegines - 1954
Longines Chronocinégines (1954)

By 1969, quartz technology was beginning to find its way into wristwatches, and it was Longines that introduced the first quartz wristwatch that was developed for the mass production, called the Ultra-Quartz. And it was in 1984 that the brand launched the original Longines Conquest V.H.P., whose quartz caliber set a precision record. (Interestingly, the first Longines watch to bear the name “Conquest” debuted in 1954, the same year as the quartz clock.) In 1996 came the first Conquest with a perpetual calendar movement.

Longines Ultra-Quartz - 1969
Longines Ultra-Quartz (1969)
Longines Conquest VHP - 1984
Longines Conquest V.H.P. (1984)
Longines Conquest VHP Perpetual Calendar - 1996
Longines Conquest V.H.P. Perpetual Calendar (1996)

WatchTime attended the launch event for the new Longines Conquest V.H.P. at the Neuchatel Observatory. The watch, which is available in either a three-hand/date model or a chronograph version, is equipped with a quartz caliber developed exclusively for Longines by the movement-making colossus ETA, its sister brand within the Swatch Group. The movement — dubbed Caliber L288.2 in its three-hand-with-calendar version and L289.2 in the version with chronograph functions — is notable for its very high degree of precision for an analog watch (± 5 seconds per year) and its use of a so-called GPD (gear position detection) system that quickly resets the watch’s hands after an impact or exposure to a magnetic field. Longines has also equipped the movement with an exceptionally long battery life of nearly five years — which, the brand points out, gives this watch an advantage over its “connected” sports-watch competitors, which require regular battery recharging — and, like its 1990s predecessor, a built-in perpetual calendar.

Longines Conquest VHP - 3-Hand - white dial - front
Longines Conquest V.H.P. (Ref. L3.716.4.76)
Longines Conquest VHP chronograph white dial - front
Longines Conquest V.H.P. Chronograph (Ref. L3.727.4.76)

The three-hand/calendar models of the Longines Conquest V.H.P. are available in 41-mm- and 43-mm-diameter stainless steel cases; the chronograph models are in 42-mm- and 44-mm-diameter stainless steel cases. Black, silvered, blue, or carbon dials are available for all models, with two applied Arabic numerals at 12 and 6 o’clock (the chronograph model has only the “12,” with the “6” replaced by a subdial) and nine applied bar indices, treated with Super-LumiNova, for remaining hours. All the dials are graced with a red “V.H.P.” inscription, either directly above or directly below the center; the cases are water-resistant to 50 meters.

The chronograph dial has a tricompax layout with a 30-minute counter at 3 o’clock, a 12-hour counter at 9 o’clock, and a 60-second counter in the center. Each model incorporates an “intelligent” crown to set and change the time and date, and an E.O.L. (end of life) indicator to signal to the owner when the battery is nearing the end of its life: when the energy in the battery ebbs, the seconds hand warns the owner by jumping in five-second rather than one-second increments. The Longines Conquest V.H.P. collection all come on stainless steel link bracelets, with triple-folding safety clasps operated by push-piece opening mechanisms.

Longines Conquest VHP 3-Hand - blue dial - front
Longines Conquest V.H.P. (Ref. L3.726.4.96)
Longines Conquest VHP chrono blue dial - front
Longines Conquest V.H.P. Chronograph (Ref. L3.717.4.96)
Longines Conquest VHP 3-Hand - black dial - front
Longines Conquest V.H.P. (Ref. L3.726.4.56)

Prices on the new Longines Conquest V.H.P. range from $1,000 for the 41-mm three-hand model to $2,000 for the 44-mm chronograph model. I had a chance to see and handle the watches at the launch event at the Neuchâtel Observatory. Here is what the carbon-fiber-dial three-hand and silvered-dial chrono look like on the wrist.

Longines Conquest VHP 3-Hand - wrist
Longines Conquest VHP Chrono - wrist

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12 Responses to “Longines Conquest V.H.P.: A New Quartz Revolution”

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  1. Italo

    As owner of a Longines ultra-quartz gold I was aware that Longines is in the forefront of the search for the best tech watch since the beginning. The 1969 ultra-quartz was powered by 23 transistors , a higly complicated mechanism whose photo is a beauty for the watch lovers. Now with this VHP watch I think thant Longines has made again a milestone, not only in terms of ultimate precision but also of beauty and timeless iconic mark . I will be in the ordering book for a chrono VHP as soon as it will be made available.

    Reply
  2. Jean-Samuel Guex

    This is really a very good Watch.
    I appreciate the Very High Precision of the new Longines.
    My current Watch is a Tissot “ATOLLO” which has a variation of 30 sec to 1 min / month
    I’ll buy the Longines for Christmas.

    Reply
  3. Joe Conway

    Be nice if the watch also came with a capacitor so while the battery is being changed the watch continues to keeps time; the same as a maintaining power in a weight-driven clock or spring-powered pocket watch.

    Reply
    • Italo

      Just talked with a Longines dealer and he informed me that if the battery is changed before the 6 months period of end of life battery expires then the watch will automatically resume the correct time to the second and nothing is lost either in the perpetual calendar. This is possible because the watch keeps on running internally while the battery is changed if this is done within 6 months fromt the moment of the second hand will start jump in 5 seconds intervals to signal out the beginning of the battery end of life . A very unique feature , I have no doubt at all, it is a milestone watch.

      Reply
  4. Jeff Smith

    The Swiss are falling into accuracy at lower cost and higher reliability…I own many automatics and they are all lovely to wear…but, for accuracy and reliability..Quartz mechanical movements offer value without fuss…Take care with regards.

    Reply
  5. Rich steixner

    Aside from a shiny and highly finished case, what’s this got that g-shock hasn’t had for years?

    Reply
  6. Ian Woollard

    They seem like a good collection of watches any new developments in technology and precision are always welcome. I own a Longines Hydroconquest with an automatic movement and the design elements of these watches are very similar. What I would hope for is that the quality of the bracelet and case are worthy of any new developments to the technology inside. It’s currently good but it could be better. It’s hard to expect certain things at this price point but any improvements would be welcome. If you’re after a reasonably priced sports watch with a very high level of precision consider this.

    Reply
  7. Steven Daniel

    My Titanium Orient M-Force diver’s 22 jewel automatic movement is only 9 seconds off and has not be reset for over a month. No batteries means no trouble!!!!!!!

    Reply
  8. CCN 1410

    The watches would look better, if the body did not consist of “5 bar 50 meter”.
    It is a small detail, but I was very displeased.

    Reply
  9. Darrin Cody

    Am I wrong in thinking this is just a Swiss version of the Bulova UHF movement?

    Reply
    • dave miskin

      I think not. the Bulova uses a high-stability oscillator, this relies on temperature compensation
      5s per year is excellent, I doubt if (on average) the Bulova is anywhere near.
      Also 3-steppers and auto-alignment correction is nice
      >> assuming it all works as per sales spec
      The only negative is 5s per year battery life, my 15 year old Conquest VHP did 10 years

      Reply
    • Italo

      Yes you are wrong. The Bulova is based on a high frequency at 262 khertz , the Longines movement is a new exclusive movement made by ETA for Longines , it works at 400 khertz plus other refinements such as termocompensation and antigravity and shock protection. Finally the Bulova does not officially claim any precision record (the 10 spy is often associated with the Bulova moon watch but it cannot be found anywhere in the Bulova presentation.

      Reply
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