When it comes to watch connoisseurs, most scorn the idea of a quartz movement in a timepiece. Sure, I can understand the animosity, seeing as how the sudden availability of these affordably made movements almost destroyed the craft altogether; but come on, that was 50 years ago. These days most brands try to steer clear of the quartz movement altogether, using them mostly as a way to reduce the cost and offer the consumer an affordable wristwatch. Which is why, it’s quite refreshing to see Longines launch the latest Longines Conquest V.H.P. with a quartz movement focusing on the other quality associated with quartz – precision.
As the story goes, Longines created their first quartz clock back in 1954 with the Chronocinégines. This device was basically a clock linked with a 16MM camera that took a series of pictures at 1/100th of a second recording the precise moment athletes crossed the finish line. In 1969 they managed to scale down the size of the movement within the Chronocinégines, developing the 6512 calibre used in the Longines Ultra-Quartz. The very first V.H.P. (Very High Precision) watch out of Longines was created in 1984 and as its namesake suggests, the movement within the watch (Longines quartz 276VHP) was capable of a precision of +1/-1 minutes in 5 years. Naturally, in 1990 the technology was utilised to power perpetual calendar watches and perfected in 1996 with the Conquest VHP Perpetual Calendar. This is not the perpetual calendar you are probably thinking off (day, date, month, moonphase) but rather it just offers a date that follows the varying days of the month.
Fast forward more than 20 years into the future and the latest Conquest V.H.P. goes back to the original philosophy of the collection offering modern consumers with a really precise movement housed in case fitting of Longines’ quality standards. The watches themselves are nothing outrageous, just stylish steel watches available with or without a chronograph function in a variety of case sizes.
What makes them unique however are the new movements housed within; where the first quartz movement was built by Longines, this movement was built exclusively for the brand by ETA and is capable of a precision of +5/-5 seconds per year. Just to give you an idea of what this means, COSC certified chronometers have a tolerance of -4/+6 seconds per day and the Conquest V.H.P. has a variance of a mere +-0.01369 seconds each day. Other equally cool features of the watch include the GPD (gear position detection) system which detects and resets the hands after an impact or even exposure to magnetic fields and a helpful end of life indicator to let you know before the battery runs out.
Although the design is nothing to shout about, the watch is quite a stylish option if precision is a priority on your list or is just about all you can afford right now. And for the purist who won’t even give it a second glance, remember, celebrated watchmaker F.P. Journe also has a quartz timepiece somewhere in his collection.