The HydroConquest Collection has become a popular staple in the Longines lineup since its launch in 2007. For more than fifteen years it has slowly evolved to include more than two-dozen iterations—some of which are among the brand’s top sellers. Today, for the first time, Longines is expanding the collection with a GMT line in a newly designed case and featuring a Longines’ exclusive movement.
Longines released its first dual-time wristwatch way back in 1925. The brand would pay homage to this timepiece with last year’s release of the hugely popular Spirit Zulu Time GMT and the subsequent Zulu Time 39mm. But while those watches are rooted firmly in the watchmaker’s heritage of ‘avigation,’ the new Hydroconquest GMT draws inspiration from the world of water sport.
Unlike the Zulu Time, the HydroConquest GMT allows travellers to track two time zones without sacrificing all the functionality of a dive watch’s elapsed time bezel–placing it in a sportier category like Seiko’s 1968 Diver’s GMT, the Bremont S302, or Omega’s Diver 300m GMT Chronograph.
For this latest evolution of the HydroConquest, Longines has fashioned a more retro-inspired silhouette with all the latest technological bells and whistles. The 41mm stainless steel case is less angular than its predecessors and full of gentle, curvaceous lines, alternating between polished and satin-finished planes to achieve a more sophisticated aesthetic. It features a redesigned screw-down crown and case back, less pronounced crown guards, and fresh gear-work knurling on the unidirectional bezel. Even with the GMT movement on the inside, case thickness remains a restrained 12.9mm (versus 11.9mm on the three-hand model, or 13.9mm on the Zulu Time).
The HydroConquest GMT maintains its ceramic dive bezel insert and familiar font; however, it is equipped with a more pronounced luminescent pip at the 60-minute marker.
The watch is available in four colourways with green, brown, black, and blue sunray dials with flat sapphire glass. Stealthily placed in the outer chapter ring is a two-tone 24-hour scale, but gone are the cardinal Arabic numerals that have characterized both the Conquest and HydroConquest models for years. In their place are more traditional dive markers, including applied circular plots and baton-style indicators, as well as the tell-tale inverted triangle at twelve. This is not unlike the layout we find on the Submariner 116610, only the circles and batons have been interchanged. The handset, however, will look familiar, with a lollipop seconds and the addition of an arrow-tipped GMT hand. The brown and green references feature gilt highlights, while the black and blue models showcase silvered polish. All dial elements, including the bezel pip, are treated with Super-LumiNova. There is a framed date window at three.
Water-resistant to a dive-ready 300 metres, the HydroConquest GMT comes on a redesigned, stainless steel H-link bracelet (with female endlinks) that is equipped with…wait for it…an on-the-fly micro-adjusting clasp! The mechanism can also be used to expand the bracelet sizing to fit over a wetsuit cuff. This is the bracelet (or clasp), in some respect, that I have been waiting for. This is a first for Longines, and I hope that the brand will make it available for the Spirit line in the future.
In addition to the bracelet—and to match certain dial colours—the watch will also be available on a blue or black fitted rubber strap. These will feature the brand’s micro-adjusting deployant clasp. A khaki-coloured NATO is also an option.
Powering the watch is the Longines’ exclusive Calibre L844.5–the same movement we find in the Zulu Time, minus the COSC certification. The calibre is based on the ETA A31.L01 and features a silicon balance-spring—in addition to other innovative anti-magnetic components—making it ten times more resistant to magnetic fields than the ISO 764 standard. It has a beat rate of 3.5Hz and a power reserve of 72 hours. This is backed by Longines 5-year warranty.
|Case||316L Stainless Steel|
21mm Lug Width
Screw Down Crown & Case Back
120-Click Unidirectional Ceramic Bezel
300m Water Resistance
|Dial & Crystal||Sapphire Crystal /w AR|
Date Window @ 3
72-Hour Power Reserve
|Strap||Stainless Steel H-Link Bracelet|
/w On-The-Fly Micro-adjust
Fitted Rubber /w Deployant Clasp
Longines HydroConquest GMT
The Longines HydroConquest GMT really feels like a maturing of the HydroConquest collection. The more sinuous case design, paired with sunray dials and matching ceramic bezels, cuts a more elegant a figure, while the dive bezel and impressive water resistance keep close to its sporty roots. I feel some influence here from the Spirit Collection in colour choice and tone on tone colour-matching–which is a good thing. The more traditional dial layout is also a welcome progression. And I really like the attention to detail that provides each watch in the GMT lineup its own personality–such as the arrow-tipped GMT hand matching the GMT dial decal in the black reference.
While I am really pleased to see an on-the-fly micro-adjusting clasp on a nicely finished bracelet with female endlinks, the cherry on the top would have been screwed links, rather than push pin. A 21mm lug width also limits aftermarket strap options.
The Longines HydroConquest GMT is a thoughtful unfolding of the HydroConquest Collection. Rather than being simply a repeat of the Spirit Zulu Time, I like that the brand has kept this watch a diver first and a GMT second. This way, it has a character all its own–not to mention a function and a purpose to itself. Despite its elegant trappings, the HydroConquest GMT feels like a gentleman’s sports watch and a fantastic option for those who like to be adventure-ready when they travel. With its impressive water resistance, dive bezel, micro-adjusting clasp, and robust “jumping-hour” movement, the HydroConquest looks like an attractive, well-considered option as your go-to travel watch. I have often wondered why I have not yet purchased the Zulu Time for myself, but perhaps I was unwittingly waiting for this.
The HydroConquest GMT retails for $2775USD ($3600CAD) on the bracelet. For more information, please visit the brand website.
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