Longines are celebrating the 70th anniversary of the Conquest collection with the launch of the new Conquest Heritage Central Power Reserve. As part of the heritage range, it draws its inspiration from Longines’ extensive archive of timepieces. Specifically, it’s based on the original Conquest Central Power Reserve model from 1959, a few years after the Conquest made its debut in in 1954.
Off the bat, this is one of the best-looking Conquests in the entire range. The sector style dial paired with the trapezoid, applied hour makers and skyscraper hands is gorgeous in a retro, almost Art Deco style. And at the centre of it all is that titular central power reserve complication, a unique and seriously cool take on the relatively common function that deserves multiple paragraphs of its own.
Ok, I’m going to admit that without having the chance to have the watch in front of me and not being alive in 1959, describing how the central power reserve works is very complicated. The broad concept is that there are two rotating discs, an inner disc with the power reserve indicator on it and an outer disc with the power reserve scale on it.
As you use the watch, the inner disc rotates clockwise to indicate the decreasing power reserve – so far so good, that’s simple enough to understand. Where it gets complicated is that as the watch is wound, the outer scale also rotates clockwise, eventually catching up with the indicator.
Winding can be achieved either manually through the crown or automatically via the self-winding rotor that winds the watch as you move your wrist. This is where I’d like to be able to test the watch in the metal. Because my understanding of this is that you can reach a position where the fully wound state can be indicated by the inner disc hand pointing towards 5 o’clock if the outer reserve scale happens to catch up to it in that spot. There is no fixed orientation to the complication with the two discs playing a game of cat and mouse as the reserve drains and is replenished.
There are three colourways available for the Conquest Heritage Central Power Reserve, Champagne, anthracite and black. All three are presented in a slightly redesigned 38mm Conquest case in steel with alternating polished and brushed surfaces. Topping it off is a retro box sapphire crystal.
Powering the watch is a new movement, the Longines L896.5 with a 64-hour power reserve. It had to be developed specifically for this watch due to the unique modus operandi of the power reserve indicator. It has a silicon balance spring and has a magnetic field resistance rating 10 times greater than the ISO 764 industry standard. In addition to the titular power reserve complication, it’s also equipped with central hours, minutes, seconds and a date window at 12 o’clock.
Priced at £3,500, it’s without doubt the Longines launch that has made me the most excited since the Spirit Zulu Time emerged in 2022. It combines class with style and a unique approach to what is usually one of the least interesting horological complications. It feels innovative and new despite being a heritage model released in celebration of a 70th anniversary – which just goes to show how rich Longines’ archives really are.
Price and Specs:
More details at Longines.