Longines is so laser-focused on promoting their heritage collection that it is easy to forget that they also have a modern sports collection. Despite the HydroConquest collection being part of the Longines line-up for the better part of a decade, they fail to grasp the imagination as much as their heritage inspired brothers. That may change with the new HydroConquest with ceramic bezel.
It seems an age ago when ceramic bezels were the rarity, rather than the norm. Whilst Rado, Seiko and Omega were the first to experiment with the material back in the 1970s and 1980s, the popularity of ceramic bezels didn’t take off until the mid-2000s with Rolex and Omega putting them on their dive watches. Whilst aluminum bezels have been the norm for decades, they are prone to scratching and fading over time. Sure, fans of vintage watches love their faded ‘ghost bezels’ but watch brands and more practical consumers have been keen to find a more durable material for some time.
Ceramic bezel inserts offer a highly scratch-resistant material that was immune to fading and they are now a standard feature on many dive watch bezels. Not only do they last longer, but the deep luster of a blue or black ceramic bezel is unmatched compared to the lighter sheen reflecting off a painted insert. Why Longines decided to wait so long to upgrade their watches is unknown, but I imagine it would be something to do their aforementioned focus on heritage pieces.
The new Hydro Conquest is set to come in two sizes (43mm and 41mm) with a choice of three colors (Sunray black, grey and blue).
A chronograph version will be coming soon as well but will only be available in the smaller 41mm size. All these models will be powered by ETA movements, either the ETA 2892.2 or the ETA A08.L01. Whilst these movements are not the most glamorous, they are dependable and easily serviced the world over.
Longines hasn’t released any prices yet but I imagine they will retail for a few hundred dollars more than the current non-ceramic bezel models, currently priced at around $1200. This is a highly competitive price range for sports/diving watches so it will be interesting to see how these new models fair. To be frank, a lot of these watches in this price range tend to look very similar (steel bracelet, rotating diving bezel with graduated markings, single color dial, etc) so its good that Longines have stepped up their game to compete. Whether customers will go for these new bezels though will all depend on how these watches feel on the wrist. No-one else beats Longines when it comes to reasonably priced, heritage-inspired watches and if they can bring the same value for money to their sports watches, I’m sure they’ll be a big hit. For more info, visit Longines online.