Longines, as most watch aficionados know at this point, joined its Swatch Group-owned brethren in skipping the Baselworld trade show this year, and was also not among the five “prestige” maisons presenting their new products at the recent “Time to Move” event in Switzerland. Fortunately for the brand’s many fans, Longines did take part in last week’s CoutureTime show at the Wynn and Encore in Las Vegas, where its 2019 models were unveiled to U.S. retailers and consumers for the first time. Here we take a look at one of the showcase pieces, a new version of the sporty HydroConquest in a black ceramic case.
Longines has used ceramic inserts on the rotating dive-scale bezels of its HydroConquest models before — notably on last year’s popular U.S.A. Exclusive Editions — but with this new model, the venerable Saint-Imier-based watchmaker goes even further, making the watch’s entire 43-mm case from a high-tech ceramic whose chemical composition — ZrO2, aka zirconium oxide — is proudly indicated on the dial. Despite the very dark, monochromatic look, the timepiece sports a variety of finishes for increased visual interest: matte on the dial, polished on the main case, round satin-brushed on the bezel, and a combo of matte and circular satin brushing on the caseback.
The dial, under a sapphire crystal coated on both sides with several layers of nonreflective coating, has the now-familiar look of the HydroConquest line: three big, legible Arabic numerals at 12, 9, and 6 o’clock; luminous coating on the indices and hands; date window at 3 o’clock. Inside the case, which has a screwed crown and has been tested to 300 meters of water resistance, ticks the self-winding L888.3 caliber. Developed exclusively by ETA for Longines, it boasts a 25,200-vph frequency and a user-friendly 64-hour power reserve. The black rubber strap completes the ensemble, fastening securely to the wrist with a folding clasp, made from the same black ceramic as the case. The Longines HydroConquest in Black Ceramic retails for $3,725.