Citizens’ Caliber 0100 is the world’s most accurate watch (that doesn’t sync to an external source). We’re talking about a timepiece boasting +/- one second per year accuracy. We’re also talking thousands of dollars and zero availability. If accuracy’s your jam and money’s too tight to mention, check out the Longines Conquest V.H.P. . . .
Introduced in 1984, the original Conquest V.H.P. (Very High Precision) wowed horologists with +/- 10 seconds per year accuracy. At Baselworld 2017, Longines reacted to the ongoing Smart Watch Crisis by unveiling the second gen Conquest V.H.P. The new model improved accuracy variation to an astounding +/- 5 seconds per year.
Developed in conjunction with SWATCH stablemate ETA, Longines’ thermo-compensated caliber L289 is insane. It destroys the average quartz watch’s +/- 10 seconds per month accuracy. It’s five times more accurate than the Swiss COSC requirement of +/- 0.07 seconds variation per day. But wait! There’s more!
If you knock the Conquest V.H.P. movement too hard, its gear position detection system restores the dislocated hands to their correct position. If one of two sensors detects a disruptive magnetic field, the L289 stops the hands until the danger passes, then returns them to their correct position.
When the Conquest’s four-year battery nears end-of-life, the second hand jumps in two second intervals. To forestall mortality, pull out the Conquest’s crown out for two minutes. The hands gather at 12 as the battery goes into sleep mode. Push the crown back in and the hands return to duty and the date corrects itself. You haven’t lost even .07 of a second. And that’s not the end of it.
Every three days, at 3 am exactly, the L289 movement self-tests. The hands spin like crazy as the Conquest ensures that “the reference time is correct and accurate.” Unless, of course, there’s an impact (large or small). In that case, the movement will schedule a self-test the next morning at 3 am exactly.
I demoed the Conquest V.H.P. by holding it up against my iPhone. The digital readout changes at the precise moment the watch’s second hand hits 12. The idea that the Conquest will keep pace with my Apple phone/watch for a year or more is amazing. The Conquest V.H.P.’s design, not so much.
With its brushed steel case and polished steel bezel, the Conquest V.H.P. three-hander is a handsome beast. But it’s a buttoned-down timepiece.
From its C3-lumed indices and matching hands, to the unassuming Arabic 12 and 6, to the small date window, the Conquest V.H.P. is unadorned – to the point where you’d be forgiven for expecting to see the word “Timex” on its dial.
A circular guilloché dial pattern is the Conquest’s only attempt at style. The subtle engine-turned circles do nothing to lift the quartz-powered Conquest into the realm of the thousand dollar-plus watch. Which is why they’re available from Jomashop, Ebay and Amazon for around $730. (Retail $1350.)
The Conquest V.H.P. is a towering timekeeping achievement. Yes but – in the age of the Smart Watch and Seiko’s solar-powered, GPS-adjusted Astron, the Longines Conquest V.H.P. has been conquered by modern technology. Even so, it remains a ridiculously reliable, hyper-accurate companion for OCD watch nerds. A future collector’s classic? I wouldn’t be surprised.
Model: Longines Conquest V.H.P.
Price: $1350 (available new-in-box for around $750 from Amazon, Jomashop, eBay, etc.)
Case: brushed stainless steel, polished steel bezel
Case Thickness: 13mm
Band Material: Textured rubber
Band width: 20 millimeters
Clasp: stainless steel push-button deployant
Functions: Date, hour, minute, seconds
Movement: Longines L289 thermo-regulated quartz
Water resistance: 50 meters
RATINGS (our of five stars):
Design * * * *
Depends on the light. At certain angles, the black chrome 12 and 6 pop, creating a strikingly modern, macho dial. At most angles, they disappear, leaving something between handsome and bland.
Legibility * * * *
Aside from the too-dark second hand, the Conquest is at-a-glance perfection. Lumed with Super-LumiNova C3, the hands and indices (excluding the 12 and 6) are a veritable night light.
Comfort * * * * *
It’s a thick, heavy thing, but the high quality rubber strap and solid push-button deployant clasp are a joy to have and to hold.
Overall * * * * *
The Conquest V.H.P. is a technical tour-de-force, accurate to +/- five seconds per year, with “smart” shock and magnetic protection and a way-cool sleep mode. It’s a beautiful bling-free watch from a storied watchmaker – a steadfast everyday timepiece and a future collectible.
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I have had one of these for 9 months, and it is bang on with the Atomic world clock after this time. The perpetual calendar even takes into daylight saving. I have the white dial one and couldn’t be happier with this amazing timepiece. The only major flaw is with the bracelet, i.e. no microadjustment at all. Fortunately with the half link supplied my AD managed to get it to fit, otherwise it would have been sent back! It is quite heavy so a good fit is imperative.HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
Update to the above post, it has been well over two years now and the GMT VHP is running ONE SECOND fast after all this time. The perpetual calendar GMT is the one to go for, IMHO. Set it with the app and forget it. The real world accuracy of this watch beggars belief! The stated +/- 5 seconds per year is handsomely trumped.
They are nice looking watches that keep good time and are priced well, but the battery leaked in my and destroyed most of the watch and Longines support was not good at all.
I’ve been having the new Longines Conquest VHP 43mm for one year and half by now. We are in September 2020. I love the watch. However, I have two complains. First it goes off + 5 seconds every 3 months against advertisement of +/- 5 seconds a year. I tried to reach the manufacturer and got a reply after 2 month with instruction how to correct that every 3 month. Second complain is that the battery died exactly one year and five month after purchase although again the advertisement says 4-5 years life span. And it’s not cheap, around 65 dollars for a battery change.
Don’t know about accuracy variation – ask nicely for a new watch? – but I suspect that the battery wasn’t fresh when you bought the watch. The NEXT battery should last 4 to 5 years, especially if you pull the crown out and put it into sleep mode when you’re not wearing it.
The watches come with the crown OUT and a small plastic insert, so the battery should not have been depleted when it arrived. However, 18 months is unacceptable for a battery to die in one of these watches. What is COMPLETELY UNACCEPTABLE is the horrendous inaccuracy of the watch. Send it back for a replacement before the warranty runs out. Always go through the A.D. who you purchased the watch from.
I stand corrected. And yes, send it back. Let us know how you get on.
I think these were new in 2017, so that battery life is not as claimed. I assume they are doing some pressure test for that battery replacement price.
Yes they do a pressure test, but given that this watch has only a 50m water resistance rating this is of little value as long as the O-RING has been correctly fitted. These watches would NEVER be used in water, unless you accidentally dropped on in the toilet!
I agree but they charge for work done to their standards. It’s a CYA move on their part and the customer gets the bill.
The Longines documents claim that THEIR 50m is safe to swim. I queried this with a senior SWATCH executive who said the stated markings are more to do with US litigation culture than engineering, they are pessimistic with their markings but the watch could easily achieve a 100m rating and was safe to swim but not dive. My VHP is my daily wear, I wash cars and swim with it on, and have done so for two years. No problem to date, especially as the primary ingress point is the crown which is little used on a VHP so has limited mechanical wear and tear.
Good to know!
I prefer quartz (accuracy, price & no winding) over automatic.
You are not alone in embracing superior technology. I don’t even like sweep second hands.
I have the black dial 3-hand version and love it. The only thing I didn’t like was the factory rubber strap. I swapped it with a leather and it’s become my daily wear for the past 6 months. I’m an automatic movement fan, but this is the ONLY quartz watch I’ll spend over $500 on. Who likes to change out batteries every few years?
I bought the VHP conquest. Nice looking watch and keeps time very well… however it came right out of the box with the wrong date. This watch is designed to never need the date adjusted, so it only allows like 48 hours adjustment, no direct changing of the date itself. It is suppose to be “smart” and know what day it is, only problem is when it doesn’t know.
Designers must have been eating magic mushrooms the day they designed this POS.