To mark the 70th anniversary of the Conquest collection, Longines has delved into its extensive catalogue of vintage marvels and revisited one of its most iconic timepieces from the 1950s: introducing the Longines Conquest Heritage Central Power Reserve.
The power reserve might not be the first mechanical complication that comes to mind when you think about a timepiece's capabilities, but it can be an exceptionally practical addition to any watch.
Back when watches were vital instruments for marine navigation or railway operation, the ability to know the amount of remaining stored energy in a watch's mainspring while concurrently measuring the passage of time was of the utmost importance. It is, after all, the watch's fuel gauge – without one, you're merely guessing at the amount of juice you have left.
The great horological inventor Abraham-Louis Breguet was the first to utilise a power reserve indicator on a pocket watch in the 1800s, and it was indeed the Breguet name that first fashioned a prototype power reserve indicator for a wristwatch in 1933. This novel complication was brought to the wider public's attention with the release of the Jaeger-LeCoultre's Powermatic collection in 1949, but it was Longines' 1959 creation that blended function with form thanks to its most elegant of solutions.
The Longines Conquest Power Reserve Automatic ref. 9028 was unique in its presentation of the power reserve indicator by placing it at the very centre of the watch. Invented and used exclusively by Longines, it works thanks to two rotating disks that work concurrently to show the remaining running time. The external disc displays how much the mainspring has been wound – or, rather, the amount of oil in the tank – while the internal disc features a rectangular baton that marks how much power reserve is remaining. The two discs rotate concurrently while the watch is fully wound, but once the mainspring starts to unwind (as power begins to deplete), the inner disc starts to rotate until it reaches the 0 mark, the point at which the watch has run out of energy.
It's a darn-right beautiful complication that looks all the better under its new modern guise
It's a darn-right beautiful complication that looks all the better under its new modern guise. The Longines Conquest Heritage Central Power Reserve picks up where its forebear left off, with the striking complication proudly displayed at the centre of the dial. While both models share this unique power reserve indicator, the 2024 model features an external coiling disc that is graduated from ‘64’ to ‘0', thanks to the 72-hour power reserve of the brand’s proprietary automatic calibre L896.5 movement created exclusively for Longines by ETA.
The re-edition takes all of the elegance of its 1950s inspiration and elevates proceedings. Our favourite iteration, featuring a champagne dial, is embellished further with 12 applied yellow-gold hour markers contrasting against the steel case, and a deft circular trench that marks the minute track for additional visual appeal. It's a real beauty that certainly looks better in the metal than any photo.
There are three colourways to choose from: the aforementioned champagne dial, an anthracite grey, and a monotone black variant. Your preference is likely going to boil down to your personal style. The champagne dial is dripping in vintage charm and perhaps best showcases the ingenuity of the central power reserve complication, while the anthracite with the pop of rose gold is the clear choice for an edgier look. The black dial, on the other hand, is jonesing for a suit and a sharp white shirt cuff to contrast against.
This is a fitting celebration for the Conquest collection's 70th anniversary, which balances Longines' pursuit of innovation and its continued focus on craftsmanship. There are few watch brands quite so in tune with their heritage, and fewer still who find new and exciting ways to keep the past alive in the minds of their collectors.
£3,500. For more information, see longines.com