While the HydroConquest collection from Longines has been a staple of the brand for over 10 years, as it’s most rugged, sporty and diving oriented collection, it has never seen the use of exotic materials such as ceramic for its cases.
Sure, there have been bezel inserts in ceramic that were introduced fairly recently in the collection, but none have gone as far as the recently released HydroConquest Full Black Ceramic, a watch that I had heard about but never seen in person until today.
The watch is truly a stunner in person and wears its credentials proudly with the text “ZrO2” printed on the dial. That stands for Zirconium Dioxide, the type of ceramic that the watch case and bezel is made in.
With a polished finish for the former and brushed for the latter, there is a nice contrast that makes the overall presentation visually interesting. In fact it is the polished surface of the case that gives the watch a feeling of sophistication even in low light, even while largely maintaining its stealthy feel.
Mounted on a rubber strap with a double folding clasp also in ceramic, the 43mm case is large yet fits comfortably, and that is down to the way that the lugs curve down sharply as they extrude from the case.Legibility is excellent as well, with white Superluminova used on the polished Arabic numbers, indices and hands.
The benefits of ceramic are well known – scratch-resistance, lightweight, heat-resistance and anti-allergic. It also has a unique feel to the touch. Given that Longines is part of the Swatch Group, some amount of technology transfer must have occurred from sister brands Rado and Omega to make this particular case. Of course, if you wanted a 300m water resistance diver from Rado, you would not find one, as it is a brand that doesn’t really focus on dive watches. You could get one from Omega, but you’d be looking at a higher price from this particular Longines model.It’s no surprise then, that I was told off-handedly that this watch has largely accounted for a spike in sales from the HydroConquest collection in 2019. Given the value of what is being offered here. I can believe it to be true.