The Lantern of Fuksas stands as a modern and majestic glass dome overlooking the Eternal City. Designed by Italian architect Massimiliano Fuksas, it offers a constant show of lights by taking the form of a geometric mirror during the day and a hanging beacon in the evening sky. It is within this great “lamp” that Longines launched the Conquest V.H.P. GMT Flash Setting, the third achievement in the Very High Precision quartz collection that uses a smart system of light pulses to easily change time zones.
Developed specifically to reduce the hassle of globetrotting, the novel “flash setting” feature transmits home or travel time data from a dedicated app via the smartphone’s flash. The strobe sequence is read by a sensor on the dial, which then synchronises the watch to the appropriate time. The second time zone is complemented by a swap function that interchanges home and travel time display with a click of the crown.
Like the time-only and chronograph versions, the GMT model is equipped with all the virtues of the V.H.P. calibre, including ultra-precision of plus/minus five seconds per year and a Gear Position Detection system to correct time disruptions arising from impact or magnetic exposure. To learn more about this newest addition to the V.H.P. line, Men’s Folio spoke to Juan-Carlos Capelli, Vice-President of Longines and Head of International Marketing, during the launch event.
What is the status of the Conquest V.H.P. collection today?
We started one year ago in March with the most precise watch in the market. We wanted this watch to have no constraints: perpetual calendar that extends to 2399; long-life battery of five years, with an end-of-life indicator; antimagnetic, which is important as there is magnetism everywhere today; and if the watch is interrupted by magnetism, it is prepared to return to the correct position. Most importantly, we wanted no connection at all – to your phone, tablet or computer. Now, it is time to develop the collection as the reaction has been extremely good. We looked at what people are doing today and realised that they are travelling a lot, and so we created a GMT in the spirit of the collection. The Conquest V.H.P. GMT Flash Setting uses only light – not Bluetooth or Wifi connection – to transmit information from smartphone to watch, allowing you to change time zones in a second.
Why use Flash Setting for the GMT function?
We wanted each Conquest V.H.P. to be a technological product with no constraints. Life is stressful enough, you don’t want to lose more time checking your watch and putting in the correct time when you travel. With this system, you can easily be on your way; you don’t have to read a 250-page manual or take two weeks to adjust the complication. The goal is to simplify using the highest level of technology.
Why not Bluetooth or other existing technology?
We are making a watch and not an electronic product — that is the difference. There isn’t any form of “connection” like Bluetooth or Wifi because we do not want to expose your skin to [electromagnetic] waves. It is important to understand that the watch uses only light and nothing else; you can still adjust through the crown, but everything comes from within the watch. At the end of the day, Longines has been making watches since 1832 and that is what we know how to do, not electronic goods.
What is the biggest opportunity in quartz?
Quartz allows you to do things you cannot with mechanical, within a reasonable price range. It is impossible to have all the USPs of this watch – long-life battery, perpetual calendar, ultra precision, antimagnetic – for the same price in mechanical; it will be 10 times more expensive. Coming from the heart of the watchmaking industry, quartz is the dream. It is the best product you can imagine. When we launched [the Conquest V.H.P.] in Japan earlier in February, many people are interested in quartz again, even though mechanical is popular today. And the Longines La Grande Classique has been the best seller for the past 20 years. So quartz remains an important part of our collection.