Think of something ceramic. A plate, a vase, whatever pops into your mind. Now imagine dropping it on the floor. There’s a reason why we haven’t seen many ceramic watches over the years, with a number of difficulties found with the material itself.
However, they’ve made a notable resurgence in recent years, which leads us on to the Longines HydroConquest Ceramic.[su_heading]Key Features: Self-winding mechanical movement beating at 25’200 vibrations per hour and providing 64 hours of power reserve | Water-resistant to 30 bar | Silvered polished hands | Scratch-resistant sapphire crystal glass, with several layers of anti-reflective coating on both sides | Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, and date | Screw-in crown, Unidirectional rotating bezel[/su_heading]
The HydroConquest line is ‘dedicated to men and women looking for a high-performance timepiece that combines technical innovation and elegance’. They’ve come up with a new ceramic option, but how does it work in reality? Of course, the watch looks amazing, but is it functional, and is it worth the significant price tag in comparison to a normal model?
We’ve taken the time to review the Longines HydroConquest Ceramic, answering the questions above, along with providing lots of extra information about whether it’s anything more than a passing fad.
Longines HydroConquest Ceramic – Styles
Typically, HydroConquest watches are wrapped in stainless steel, and they’re always assembled in Switzerland. (You’ll be able to tell by checking out the detailed etchings on the reverse.)
Instead, this watch is shaped from a large chunk of ceramic, which is a growing trend for Swiss watchmakers. It’s also unique for Longines, in that it’s the only piece they produce which solely uses the material in the HydroConquest range.
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The first thing you’ll notice is the size of the watch. It’s a chunky statement piece, exacerbated by the bezel which makes it larger than the dimensions suggest. It’s cold to the touch due to the ceramic finish, which has been polished expertly. It’s hefty and takes a bit of time to get used to when it’s being worn.
At 43mm, it’s going to be too big for those of us with slimmer wrists, so it would be nice to see a 39mm variant in some shape or form. In any case, you certainly get your money’s worth.
The black is deep and slightly reflective up close, and it’s notably different to a generic steel sports edition. It’s also lighter than the steel equivalent, which is another perk that comes with using a ceramic finish.
If you’re on the lookout for different colors and features, you’ll have to stick with their steel range, as the ceramic version is only available in black. You could always get a new strap if you’re desperate, but it’s a stylish offering as is. However, it’s not ideal if you’re hoping for an understated timepiece.
It’s not all black, as the dial has a splash of white, which is also found on the lumed hour and minute hands. The same goes for the second’s hand, which fits in perfectly. The numbers are pretty big, so you’ll never struggle to tell the time, no matter which angle you look at it from.
The watch has Swiss Super-LumiNova pigments which are ‘the choice of the Swiss watch industry for the highest possible afterglow performance.’ It works to charge the battery, while the material isn’t affected by aging.
Longines HydroConquest Ceramic – Info
Posited as a sports watch, it’s clearly a looker and incorporates many of the best features found with the brand. It’s similar in terms of the overall design, with a few improvements to consider.
The face is instantly recognizable as a Longines HydroConquest; opting for Arabic numerals and bigger letters. Despite the size, it’s exceptionally light. The strap also contributes to the lack of weight, as it’s made of meshed rubber which has a cross-stitched effect.
The double-folding clasp is also ceramic, showing that they’ve spared no attention to detail when it comes to the overall aesthetic appeal. It clicks reassuringly and comes with a push-piece opening mechanism.
There are a number of differences when compared to a normal HydroConquest watch. Coming in at roughly twice the price of an entry-level timepiece, the ceramic edition is sure to turn heads. We’ve already noted the sheer size of the bezel above, which can be rotated unidirectionally. The same is true for the crown guards, which also adds to the overall size factor.
It still looks like a Longines HydroConquest, but it won’t be mistaken for one of their stainless steel and ceramic bezel hybrids.
Longines HydroConquest Ceramic – Values
Longines has worked hard to establish their product range, offering great value for money compared to other premium options. Few manufacturers can match them for the price, especially considering the overall quality of their timepieces.
Of course, they’re cheaper than an equivalent Rolex, but it’ll still turn heads in person. The latest range of stainless steel options retail for much less than the ceramic edition, as you can pick one up for £800. They come in a range of basic face colors, including black and blue.
This rises dramatically when looking at the Ceramic edition. It’s priced at £3,040, which is £1,050 more than the nearest stainless steel version. It’s also just £1,000 less than a Rolex Oyster Perpetual, giving some indication of where they feel it deserves to be.
As such, it’s clearly a premium product, positioned to be a cut above the typical HydroConquest range. At the very least, you’re paying for the uniqueness, and for the chance to stand out from the crowd.
The rubber strap might seem like a cheap option for a £3,000 piece, but it’s perfect for the ceramic bezel, and it contributes to the lightweight feel.
Mid-range HydroConquest watches retail for £1,300 on the nose. As we’ve mentioned, they offer stainless steel and ceramic bezel version, but it pales in comparison to the real thing.
Longines HydroConquest Ceramic – Review
If you’re on the market for something special, the HydroConquest Ceramic certainly ticks a number of boxes. It’s unique, and it’s a cut above their standard range of steel watches. That’s not to say that a normal Longines HydroConquest isn’t worth the money, as they’re a great value proposition considering the materials and effort needed to assemble each one.
The additional expense is notable, but it is a special edition and is likely to retain value in the long-term if you treat it with care. However, it is reasonably costly, especially compared to an entry-level Rolex piece. (For example, you could buy a great second-hand watch for a similar price, rather than focusing on 2020 models.)
You will need a bigger wrist or it’ll hang off your arm limply, but it’s lighter than it looks, while it still manages to retain the solid, premium feel of the stainless steel versions.
There’s always a chance that it could shatter or crack if dropped from a significant height, but it makes sense to insure a piece that sells for four figures regardless. It depends on what you plan to use it for, while the hybrid watch offers the best of both worlds, at a reasonable price point.
Longines HydroConquest Ceramic – Overall
The HydroConquest Ceramic is great, as long as you like the color black! It’s one of the better watches you’ll find in the mid-range price bracket, and you’re unlikely to see many others in the wild.
However, it’s still a niche piece, while it’s worth trying on first due to the oversized nature of the design. Whatever the case, it’s worth a lot more than an entry-level option from their range of sports watches.[su_button style=”3d” background=”#D3D3D3″ size=”5″ center=”yes” radius=”round”]It’s all a matter of personal preference, but the hybrid edition is clearly an inferior version, albeit one that can be picked up for less if you’re aiming to extract the best value for money.[/su_button]
The full ceramic edition still looks fairly similar to the others, although the large numbers and protruding lugs mean that it wouldn’t be out of place in a rap video.
That’s no real flaw, but it does mean that it could be slightly too garish for some tastes.
Personally, I think it’s a well-made piece that doesn’t push the envelope too far. Longines has made sure to retain what makes their brand special while offering enough to justify the increased asking price.
It might not be the first material you think of when it comes to watches, or almost anything mechanical, but they’ve managed to pull it off with aplomb with the HydroConquest Ceramic
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