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Longines Conquest Heritage Central Power Reserve Watch Review

Longines Conquest Heritage Central Power Reserve

I’ll be the first to admit that the reams of archival deep dives show a slight lack of originality on the part of most watchmakers. It’s like they’re consistently taking the safe route rather than the exciting one, rehashing popular references from yesteryear with a healthy dose of rosy-eyed nostalgia. Well, not so Longines with the Conquest Heritage Central Power Reserve.

Sure, Longines love their heritage pieces and can sometimes be guilty of unoriginality, but I’m going to hazard a guess and say that most people reading this didn’t know the original version of the Longines Conquest Heritage Central Power Reserve even existed. And with one of the coolest power reserve indicators around, it’s definitely not your usual, safe, historical design.

Longines Conquest Heritage Central Power Reserve
Longines Conquest Heritage Central Power Reserve

The Conquest collection as a whole’s gone relatively under the radar in recent years, outshone by modern pieces like  the deep diving Hydroconquest or the uber-successful pilot- adjacent Spirit. Even the Dolce Vita has been getting more  love from a promotional standpoint. But 2024 is the Conquest collection’s 70th anniversary, so if there’s any time to pay attention to the cool, versatile collection, it’s now. And the Heritage Central Power Reserve demands attention.

Let’s get started with its titular complication, the Central Power Reserve. You’ve seen plenty of power reserves before I’m sure, usually in the form of a little hand indicating how much energy is still in the mainspring on a fuel gauge-esque scale. They’re not everywhere, but they’re common enough, usually as a useful feature rather than anything noteworthy. In the new Conquest, it’s the reason for the watch existing as it takes up the entire centre of the dial.

Longines Conquest Heritage Central Power Reserve
Longines Conquest Heritage Central Power Reserve

Constructed from a pair of concentric discs, the concept is relatively simple: the outer ring has the number of hours in the hefty 72-hour power reserve; the marker on the inner disc shows how many of those hours are left in the tank. Already it’s a novel way to do a power reserve, but that’s not all; the outer ring also rotates when you wind the watch so that the entire display changes orientation throughout the day. It’s a ridiculous amount of extra engineering funnelled into a function that’s just as clear on a single, unobtrusive hand – and I love every inch of it.

True to its heritage roots of course, the setting for the central power reserve is pure 1950s elegance. The mix of concentric circles, a matte cream/champagne colouring, gold indexes and a gold-framed date window at 12 o’clock makes for a gorgeous dress watch, with more than enough personality to set itself apart from the myriad would-be formal pieces out there. The Conquest Heritage is proof positive that there can be more to a good dress watch than a champagne dial, elegant layout and a less-is-more attitude.

Longines Conquest Heritage Central Power Reserve
Longines Conquest Heritage Central Power Reserve

For your information, there is also an anthracite version with rose gold indexes which is still lovely, and a much less interesting black dial with silver. But for me, the classic ‘50s style colourway is the one.

Sitting at 38mm across, it’s about the size it should be for a heritage piece of this ilk. Any smaller and the power reserve wouldn’t have the impact it does; any bigger and it loses that dress watch feel. As is, it can slip under a shirtsleeve when you don’t want to show it off and is eye-catching when you do. That sizing is emphasised on the wrist with the relatively short lug-to-lug length, minimising its physical presence on the wrist and ensuring it wears like a proper vintage piece – with all the precise finishing a modern Longines is capable of.

Longines Conquest Heritage Central Power Reserve

Inside you have the L896.5 automatic calibre with its aforementioned 72-hour power reserve, and there’s a lot to love besides its stored energy. It beats at 25,200bhp for decently accurate timekeeping and like many modern Swatch Group movements (it’s built specifically for Longines by ETA), has a silicon balance spring, meaning, among other things, serious magnetic resistance. It’s weirdly satisfying to have a movement this reliably accurate and hardwearing in an unusual dress watch like this. It’s also as well finished as any modern Longines movement, with perlage and Geneva stripes aplenty.

Longines Conquest Heritage Central Power Reserve

If I had to pick a couple of elements to scrutinise, firstly I’m not too keen on the crown. I’d have liked something a little more subtle and smaller in line with the dress watch feel. But it is a re-tread of the original, right down to the vintage hourglass logo, so I can appreciate why it’s not been updated. Then there’s the water resistance which, while 50m is the norm for dress watches, could easily have been a bit more. Yes, it’s a more formal piece, but it’s still a relatively accessible steel piece.

Obviously though both those issues are incredibly minor and, if I personally wasn’t saving up for one watch in particular (don’t try to guess; you’ll never get it), I’d drop £3,500 on the Conquest Heritage Central Power Reserve in a heartbeat. It feels great, looks great and has a definitively unique take on the humble power reserve to the point of being a quirky collectors’ piece. Sure, the Spirit and Hydroconquest will continue to be Longines’ staples, but what a way to celebrate the Conquest collection’s birthday.

Price and Specs:

Model: Longines Conquest Heritage Central Power Reserve'
Ref: L1.648.4.78.2 (champagne), L1.648.4.62.2 (anthracite), L1.648.4.52.2 (black)
Case: 38mm diameter, stainless steel
Dial: Champagne, anthracite or black
Water resistance: 50m (5 bar)
Movement: Longines calibre L896.5, automatic, 21 jewels
Frequency: 25,200 vph (3.5 Hz)
Power reserve: 72h
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, date
Strap: Black (champagne or black dial) or grey alligator (anthracite) leather
Price: £3,500

More details at Longines.

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About the author

Sam Kessler

Legend has it that Sam’s first word was ‘escapement’ and, while he might have started that legend himself, he’s been in the watch world long enough that it makes little difference. As the editor of Oracle Time, he’s our leading man for all things horological – even if he does love yellow dials to a worrying degree. Owns a Pogue; doesn’t own an Oyster Perpetual. Yet.