The new VHP (Very High Precision) timepiece is touted as a revelation in quartz technology thanks to its new ultra precise and robust movement.
Longines has a rich history spanning almost two centuries. Part of that longevity has been thanks to its ability to not just make it through the quartz revolution, but also to set the tone of the quartz movement.
The Saint-Imier based company led in technical innovation during the quartz movement heyday, developing a quartz clock way back in 1954. The device then went on to set a long series of precision records at the Neuchâtel Observatory. The instrument was also used to make sports more accurate, allowing judges to follow athletes at the moment they crossed the finish line with accuracy up to 1/100th of a second.
Then, in 1969 Longines revealed its famed Ultra-Quartz, allegedly the first quartz wristwatch conceived that was mass-produced (although Seiko might have something to say about that).
In an extension of its rich quartz heritage, the brand with the winged hourglass logo has just released its new Conquest VHP timepieces. That stands for Very High Precision, referring to the new movement developed by ETA for Longines.
The movement has already been receiving praise for its high degree of precision, with en error of only ± 5 seconds per year. All the more impressive, the movement has the ability to reset its hands after an impact or exposure to a magnetic field using a gear position detection system.
That makes the movement ideal for sport watches, which is why you will find it in the brand’s sporty Conquest line. The steel watches are available in a classic 3 hand/calendar model and chronograph model, with case sizes ranging between 41mm and 44 mm. The collection is available in either blue, carbon, silvered or black dials.
So, is this announcement a new milestone in quartz technology? For Longines, the Conquest VHP signals a return to a technology that it has pioneered and perfected over the years. The fact that the movement will be more durable, more precise and appears to have longer battery life are all a plus.
The Conquest VHP is being positioned as "a standard-bearer of extreme precision", which it seems to be. But I couldn’t help to notice that the launch of the VHP wasn’t orientated towards other competing quartz movements. No, it was rather framed against connected devices.
For example, smartphones were not permitted inside the Neuchâtel Observatory where the launch took place, apparently to ensure “that everyone was able to immerse themselves fully in the experience.”
The brand also made a point in its press materials that connected watches have disadvantages in terms exposure to interference and of course the issue of battery longevity.
I suppose that the easiest way to make an identity for oneself is to define oneself against something else. But it was still a bit puzzling to see that the marketing team at Longines had a bone to pick with connected watches, which are arguably not the main competitor in this space.