Longines Conquest V.H.P. Reviewed
If you love mechanical watches, then you should seriously consider the Longines Conquest V.H.P. How does that make sense? I’m glad you asked…
I first learned of the V.H.P. (Very High Precision) quartz watches right here on WatchPaper. Adam posted a write-up of the new series of watches by Longines.
I was instantly hooked. This is remarkable because, at the time, I was very anti-quartz. In a blog, I once described quartz movements as “abominations.” So what was different about the new Longines? You can read some of my initial thoughts here.
Also, despite being anti-quartz at the time, I had started to develop the idea that a new quartz watch could serve a purpose. I think it began as I searched for an inexpensive vacation watch. Such a hunt will always lead you to quartz. If not suitable for boardrooms, a rugged quartz diver is perfect for a beach vacation or camping trip.
The introduction of the Longines Conquest V.H.P. really got my attention. The brilliant technology, the high-end features, the gorgeous style, the extreme accuracy and the accessible price all added up to a winning combination in my mind. Just as it happened with the Longines Heritage 1969, I knew right away that I would have to acquire a V.H.P. for my collection. And for once, I actually viewed the quartz engine as a big plus.
For me, the whole appeal of the V.H.P was its versatility. A steel bracelet and a neutral dial (on some models) allow the watch to be worn in any situation, with any outfit. The quartz engine and perpetual calendar will keep the watch perfectly sync-ed and set all the time. So this means that the V.H.P is your grab ‘n’ go piece. It’s your default piece- the piece you rely on when you don’t know what else to wear. The incredible V.H.P. features, such as setting the time by the hour (without moving the minutes) make it an ideal watch for travel.
Initially, I was nuts about the 44mm chronograph model with carbon fibre dial. As I write this, the chrono is still not available in stores. At the very end of last year, the three-hander models arrived at my local AD. I tried some on over the winter and was, quite honestly, blown away.
My initial appreciation for the Longines Conquest V.H.P. had nothing to do with the state-of-the-art movement. It had everything to do with the gorgeous brushed metal bracelet and large contemporary case. At 43mm, the larger three-hander model will feel way too big for many of you. But on my huge wrist, the watch is perfect. Here, at last, was a versatile watch, with neutral brushed metal finishing, a sensational (albeit quartz) movement, and all this for…$1250?!
I bought a V.H.P. and I chose the 43mm, white dial model. The black PVD model was very tempting and super cool, but also much more expensive. The whole combination of the white model was just too irresistible to pass up. Now, let me comment on what this watch has done for my collection.
When I say that the V.H.P is good for lovers of mechanical watches, it is because the V.H.P takes nothing away from those watches. I already had 8 mechanical watches in my box. While I craved a new watch to fill a versatile role, I felt that yet another mechanical watch would take wrist time away from others. I felt that another mechanical watch would simply devalue my other watches. The V.H.P. does not do that. I want the V.H.P for totally different situations. On days when I am rushed and just can’t be bothered to set a watch- V.H.P. When I am driving all day and not moving much- V.H.P. If I need to travel across time zones- V.H.P. The Longines Conquest V.H.P. is so different to my automatic and manually wound watches that it adds a whole new dimension to my collection, fulfils a unique role, and complements all of my watches without taking anything away from them.
On the wrist, the 43mm V.H.P is just magnificent. I have still not seen the 44mm chronograph model I initially fell in love with. But my white-dial 43 mm example is just awesome. The white dial looks much more like silver is most lighting, adding to the versatile character of the watch. The concentric circles on the dial make the light dance and add texture to the dial. This is a very large watch and it suits me extremely well. The bold and simple dial has a raised minutes track around the edge, giving a subtle racing flavour. The brushed case and bracelet are substantial, beefy, masculine and modern. The double folding clasp, with its subtle logos, is just superb. I wore the V.H.P. in some intense heat of nearly 40 C and it was perfectly comfortable on my wrist. In all honesty, this is the timepiece I have been waiting for.
The V.H.P. movement is absolutely awesome. Don’t knock quartz until you sample this technological tour de force. It’s just amazing. First, there is the perpetual calendar, which I have now witnessed once. On the night between June 30 and July 1, the date automatically switched from the 30th to the 1st- very cool. Second, there are anti-shock and anti-magnetism features which I have not tested. If the watch is exposed to strong magnetic fields or severe shock, the hands will reset to zero and then reset to the correct time when the trauma has passed. While I did not test these features, I did experiment with the “sleep mode.” Wow! You can use sleep mode to save battery when not using the watch for extended periods of time. The V.H.P. battery should last for 5 years, but sleep mode can extend that life some more. Pull the crown out to the first position and wait for just over a minute. The hands reset to zero. When you need the watch again, push in the crown and watch the magic. The hands whizz back into place, to the exact time, and the date sets as well. It is just awesome. The time will reset to the exact second- it is amazing technology. The sleep mode alone makes the V.H.P. worthwhile – it’s so cool to watch.
Even just setting the time on the V.H.P. is awesome. If you turn the crown quickly, the hours will move independently of the minutes. This is perfect for crossing time zones or adjusting for daylight savings time. If you turn the crown slowly, you can adjust the minute while the seconds hand remains in perfect sync. I absolutely love this. I spend hours trying to sync the seconds and minutes hands on automatic watches. On the V.H.P. they sync perfectly and the minutes hand advances every ten seconds until the seconds hand hits 60. Then, the minute hand will hit the minute marker dead on, in perfect sync. Absolutely magnificent!
Because the V.H.P. is accurate to within 5 seconds per year, you can actually use it as a benchmark to set your mechanical watches. Now, I love mechanical movements and I always will. But you can see how something like the V.H.P. can actually add value and help you enjoy those mechanical watches even more. I usually benchmark the time on my watches to my phone. But now I can use my V.H.P. – getting a double whammy of enjoyment.
Every so often, a timepiece comes along that you just HAVE to add to your collection. Well, the V.H.P. has been that and more- it is an absolute game changer for me. I could argue that every collection needs at least one quartz and the V.H.P. takes quartz technology to a new level. There are different colours and sizes to choose from, but they can all add some versatility and utility to your collection.
One of the key advantages of any quartz movement is a more affordable price. My V.H.P. has an MSRP of $1250 CAD. When I first tried it at the store, I was shocked by the quality feel of the whole package. Think of all the entry-level ETA-powered watches you have worn. These are typically in the $3000-$4000 price range. The V.H.P. has a quality on the same level…for $1250. You may have a collection full of $5000 and even $10,000 watches. Even you could use a high tech quartz. Now, imagine getting one for $1250 that offers quality and finishing that hold up to your expensive watches. Did I say, “game changer?”
High accuracy quartz (HAQ) is nothing new. Bulova has been at this game for years and Citizen have done some amazing things with their Eco-Drive. But I think that, with the exception of some Grand Seiko and Breitling, the Longines V.H.P. is the first HAQ in many years to be launched by a prominent luxury brand. And there is something rebellious about this watch. So many new watches are just a new case wrapped around an ETA 2824. The V.H.P., with its gorgeous design, actually offers something entirely new inside its case. If you’re in the watch scene, you may feel pressure to wear mainstream mechanical stuff. Wearing a V.H.P. is a bit like snubbing the establishment. It’s a rebellious statement. I like that. Would you show up to your local watch enthusiasts get-together wearing a quartz? No, of course, you would not and neither would I have done two years ago. Now, imagine showing up wearing your brand new, state-of-the-art HAQ timepiece. That will make a statement. That’s being your own man. That is cool — doing your own thing and not following the herd.
So there you have it. If you can put together a budget of about 1200 bucks, you can visit your AD and treat yourself to one state-of-the-art and magnificent timepiece. The V.H.P. comes packaged in a case that is truly worthy of the term “luxury timepiece.” And the V.H.P. will bring a new dimension to your watch collection. The Longines V.H.P. is an outstanding timepiece at an incredible price point. Every single watch collector out there should take a serious look at the V.H.P. After all, it converted me…