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Longines Conquest Chronograph 42

Longines facelifted the Conquest Chronograph last year, giving it more vintage flavour while retaining the sporty style of its predecessor and also the slightly-too-big case. The new look is reminiscent of a more famous sports chronograph, but compared to its predecessor, the new Conquest is more coherent.

At a distance, the Conquest Chronograph bears a striking resemblance to the modern Rolex Daytona, which is unsurprising given the commercial success of the Cosmograph (hence Zenith’s Chronomaster Sport as well). But in the hand it is clearly a larger, chunkier watch than its famous rival, and upon closer inspection, the dial design is also distinct with several interesting details.

The previous Conquest tried to be different and ended up being too much. That design was characterised by an oversized “12” that was recognisable but not sophisticated.

Although the resemblance to the modern Daytona is apparent at a distance, the dial gets more interesting up close (and also gives off some Paul Newman vibes). The new Conquest has a cleaner dial design with a slightly retro style thanks to a sector-like chapter ring. It does without a date, something purists will approve of.

Although all four dial colours share the same design, two stand out. The champagne dial is a unique colour for a sports chronograph in this price segment, while the silver dial has just the right amount of red accents, with the red-outlined luminous squares being particularly interesting as a design element.

The facelift didn’t shrink the Conquest by much and it’s still a large watch measuring 42 mm by 14.3 mm. It’s big and feels so, particularly with the wide and long lugs.

The size feels like a lost opportunity since a smaller case is technically feasible. The Longines Record Heritage Chronograph uses the same movement and is 40 mm wide and under 14 mm high.

The Conquest Chronograph is priced at a competitive US$3,750, wisely staying about 25% less expensive than the higher-spec Tudor Black Bay Chrono. The movement inside the Conquest Chronograph is modular, which is not a sophisticated approach to the chronograph, but forgivable considering the price.

And in terms of the base movement, this has slight edge against the competition. Like most watches in its price segment, the Conquest Chronograph is equipped with an ETA (or Sellita) movement, but Longines (like its sister brands in the Swatch Group) receives upgraded ETA movements. So the ETA 2892-based calibre in the Conquest has a 59-hour power reserve, instead of 42 hours for the stock movement, amongst other upgrades.

Available in four colours to start, the Conquest Chronograph gets the dial basics right. The balance and proportions of the dial elements are good, while the textures and surface finishing add to the visual interest.

The hour indices sit on a contrast-colour chapter ring, giving it something of a “sector” dial look. The chapter ring is not just in a different colour, but also finished with fine concentric graining, making it appear slightly recessed. Another interesting detail are the tiny luminous squares at the tip of each hour marker are an unusual detail that is vintage inspired but fresh.

All of the details are obvious on the black, silver, and champagne dials, but less on the blue dial, which is the only dial in a single colour, albeit in different shades of blue. The case is a no-fuss affair that’s entirely brushed steel. With crown guards and pump-style pushers, the resemblance to the Daytona is also apparent here.

But the design and finishing is appropriate for an affordable sports chronograph. It is, however, a bit too big at42 mm in diameter and 14.3 mm high. The case feels chunky on and off the wrist, something made even more apparent with the widely-spaced lugs that are themselves broad. The movement that’s visible through the back further emphasises the size of the case. It’s the L898.5, which is an upgraded ETA 2892 with an ETA chronograph module on the top. Being one of the highest-spec derivatives of the ETA 2892, the L898.5 includes a silicon hairspring, 59-hour power reserve, and COSC-certification.

The fact that the movement is module is something of a drawback, though not a major one given the accessible pricing. A Valjoux 7750-derived calibre would have been a more proper technical solution since it’s integrated, but it would have likely resulted in an even thicker watch. The height and movement trade-off is therefore acceptable. The L898.5 is dressed up for the exhibition back with striping on the rotor and perlage on the bridges. Needles to say, the decoration is industrial, but it is attractive and justifies the open back.

The Conquest Chronograph was clearly conceived to be a sports watch with larger-than-usual dimensions and an aesthetic that brings to mind a more famous sports watch. It succeeds on all counts, while remaining affordable.