The 2013 Longines Conquest Classic was officially revealed at the Baselworld 2013 exhibition. Soon to arrive at a watch shop near you, the new watch will be available in a choice of three versions including a two-tone with gold-steel bracelet variety (ref. L2.718.104.22.168) that is reviewed here. I must admit that the new member of the Conquest family looks a lot more elegant than its previous incarnations.
Although I always found the design of the Conquest series a little too simple to suit my taste, I must admit that this new model is a great improvement over the outgoing collection.
The design of the case is still a bit too, um, generic when compared to more expensive models from Rolex or Omega, but, with all these little details added here and there, the watch now definitely looks a lot classier than before.
Preparing this brief review, I spent some time just looking at this watch comparing different versions and trying to get the idea behind the design. Now, I have an impression that the watch was initially designed as a bracelet-only model and the black leather strap (it, by the way of speaking, looks nice for a timepiece that is right now offered at less than $3400 for a version in stainless steel) was added as a sort of an afterthought.
I am trying to say that the lugs, as well as the shape of the case, were drawn with an idea that the empty space would be filled by steel (and, when it comes to two-tone version, pink gold) with finely machine-brushed and mirror-polished textures to make it feel even classier. However, when you get a version with a leather strap, the lugs suddenly look way too long and there is no clear purpose behind this compact timekeeper (it measures just 40 millimeters in diameter: not bad for a dress watch) occupying almost all width of an average wrist.
The dial is another story.
With its elegant vertical pattern, the delicately sculpted hands, even the applied Arabic numerals and luminous hour markers that are either crafted from 18-karat rose gold or rhodium-plated, almost everything leaves an impression of elegance and even refinement.
So far, the watch is available in three versions: in 18-karat rose gold, in stainless steel and in a steel/gold mixt. From where I sit, the last one looks the most interesting: the combination of materials makes the somewhat boring body and bracelet look a lot more entertaining.
As usual for the watchmaker, the Longines Conquest Classic is powered by a mass-produced ETA caliber that was fine-tuned exclusively for the brand. In this particular instance, this is the good old Longines caliber L619.2 self-winding movement that offers one of the best prices to reliability ratios and, of course, is a lot less expensive to keep in good working order than some proprietary mechanisms.
Based on the well-known ETA 2892-A2 ebauche, this is probably the same engine that animates the gorgeous vintage-styled Longines Expeditions Polaires Francaises – Missions Paul-Emile Victor (Ref. L2.732.4.76.X) that was first presented around two years ago in early 2010.
Unlike the latter, the new Conquest Classic features a display back with a scratch-resistant sapphire crystal so you can always have a look at the caliber (although I doubt that it will strike you with anything close to refined decoration).
Longines Conquest Classic specification
Price (MSRP): $3400 (stainless steel) / $6100 (rose gold) / $4100 (two-tone, ref. L2.722.214.171.124)
Movement: Automatic, Longines caliber L619.2 (base ETA 2892-A2), Swiss Made
Number of jewels: 21
Movement frequency: 28,800 vph
Power reserve: 42 hours
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, date
Case: Stainless steel / Rose gold / Steel & Rose gold
Size: 40.00 mm
Dial: Black / Silver
Hour markers: Luminous
Hands: Rhodium-plated / Rose gold; Luminous
Water resistance: 50 meters
Strap: Stainless steel bracelet / Steel and 18-karat rose gold bracelet / Black alligator leather strap with triple safety folding clasp
Crystal: Sapphire, antireflective