Last week, I had the opportunity to closely examine the latest HydroConquest models in the diving event held in Kaş as a guest of Longines. In this journey through deep blue, the enchanting underwater beauty of the Mediterranean was more appealing than ever with the company of the well-established brand.
The adventure begun on Tuesday morning by meeting the Longines Team and the other guests at Ataturk Airport. I must say that one of the reasons that made this adventure very special and delightful for me, was the people I have been together. A number of delays and then the curved roads to Kaş, of course, were not enough to dispirit us. After a few hours that passed rapidly, we finally settled in the hotels. After a short rest, everyone was ready to leave themselves into the cool waters.
For those who do not know, Kaş is one of the frequently visited locations by both local and foreign tourists thanks its aquarium-clear sea and its decent social facilities. The detail that attracted us to this spot was the unique underwater beauties and natural habitat. As a result, the location preference could not be better for a leading diver watch in its category, such as the Longines HydroConquest. After a couple of hours with the sea and the sun, the whole crew came back for dinner and finally the expected moment arrived.
A perfect table, delicious meals, excellent seafood, our national spirit, a wonderful chat environment and of course four Longines HydroConquest timepieces to accompany us. My first encounter with the watches took place on the land, which I expected them to spend more time with their owners than their natural habitat, the deep sea. I had the opportunity to transfer my experiences on advantages and disadvantages basis after using the watches under different conditions.
The first watch was the Ref. L3.718.104.22.168 model, which came in a stainless steel case measuring 41mm in diameter. I am not sure if it was all about its mighty size, that watch was the first one to attract my attention. It is important to note that the fine craftsmanship of stainless steel surfaces and the combined use of both polished and brushed surfaces create a perfect balance between elegance and sportiness. I was a bit surprised when I put the watch on my wrist. Although the technical states the case diameter as 41mm, I felt like wearing a bigger watch because of the long lug design. This could be a plus or a minus depending on the preference of the user. Those who love to wear big watches could meet their expectations without sacrificing the wrist comfort. For those who would like to have a more compact watch like me, there was the 39mm diameter version of the same model. The other two models in the men’s watches category were the L3.722.214.171.124 with a 39mm case and black dial and the L3.7126.96.36.199 version of the same model with blue dial. I found the watch that expresses me with its 39mm diameter. Relatively less flashy but still impressive. All three models have sapphire crystals with AR coating on the inner side. I believe it is the right way to do so as the coating over the crystal can be easily damaged causing unpleasant marks. Since the inner side of the crystal will never be exposed to external factors, the crystal can always maintain its new appearance.
All models are equipped with solid stainless steel case backs. We could not see the movement inside but I think it was a fair deal considering the extra robustness. At the end of the day, we were talking about 300 meters water resistant timepieces. Moreover, there were the embossed hourglass with wings style Longines logos on the case backs. The solid click of the uni-directional diving bezel was also a good proof of the watches’ superior craftsmanship. My only criticism at this point was about the bezel insert. Despite the fact that many brands have upgraded to ceramic inserts, Longines still insisting on the Bakelite insert was a bit disappointing. I know it increases the risk of breaking into pieces, I think benefiting the ceramic’s hard and resistant nature is the right way to go.
The Arabic numeral 6, 9 and 12 hour markers that are exclusive to HydroConquest models are among the details that reinforce the sporty character of the watches. Thanks to the Super LumiNOVA applied hands and indices, looking at the watch at dark turned into a pleasure. Though choosing through two black dial and a blue dial model was entirely about personal taste, I must admit that the dark blue model looks more pleasant to me due to the blue dominated geography in which I am inhabited.
The Caliber L619/888, developed by ETA especially for Longines, which was included in all three models, was a complete price/performance monster. Self-winding movement, which beats at an unusual frequency of 25.200vph and delivers a rather impressive 64-hour power reserve when fully wound, offered +2scn. daily accuracy rate, which is quite hard to achieve for non-COSC caliber. Another criticism at this point was the design of the winding crown and the crown guards. Smaller crown and sharp-edged crown guards have made the adjustment part a bit difficult. Although it did not create problems in terms of functionality, a more elaborately designed winding crown could have solved the whole problem. The black fonts on the white date disc was more than sufficient for both functional and visual integrity. Another point that caught my attention was the extra firm feel of the clasps while locking/unlocking. The folding clasps, which functioned by compressing the stamped metal instead of a spring lock, were finally soft enough to unlock without breaking my fingernails after three days of usage. The sense of firmness and robustness that were offered by the bracelets got into the elements that increase my perception of quality, just like the cases.
In addition to three men’s diving watches, the Longines Team also introduced the HydroConquest L3.3188.8.131.52, specially designed for women. The 34mm diameter stainless steel and yellow gold-colored PVD-coated model was another star of the night with its navy blue dial. Unlike the other three men’s models, the model was equipped with the Quartz Caliber L156. However, the other technical qualities of the model are complete. The model that meets all the requirements like diver’s extension part, 300 meters water resistance rating, anti-reflective coated sapphire crystal, uni-directional diving bezel and brilliant Super LumiNOVA phosphor applied hands and indices was a perfect complement to the wrists of dazzling invitees.
The meals were served, the watches were put back in the boxes and after a little walk in the city center, we were headed towards the hotel. Tomorrow we should be more careful on the big day. The open seas were waiting for us.