Watches that break from conventional wisdom tend to provide the most memorable experiences on the wrist. We search out such examples around here and embrace new watches that aren’t afraid to cut against the grain in some way, shape, or form. Doing so presents a risk for brands, particularly large, well established brands. A by-the-numbers design meant to appeal to the largest possible swath of the population must, by definition, be as inoffensive as possible. Deviation from the template risks putting out a percentage of would-be buyers, but it also creates grounds for differentiation, a necessity in today’s crowded landscape of watch brands young and old. Achieving balance here means a design that’s unique and exciting, while being accessible enough to sell to enough people to make it work financially.
Generally, the larger the brand the safer they play with this equation. But that’s not always the case, as many large brands still produce polarizing yet recognizable watches that have a focused appeal to a group of die hard fans. I’ll let you conjure up your own examples of watches that fall into this category. One such testament is the Longines HydroConquest, a watch with a big personality that’s been emblematic of the era it was originally designed in, the mid ‘00s. Longines was ahead of the game when it introduced the HydroConquest in 2007, presenting a fully modern, forward looking take on a serious dive watch at Baselworld, and even offered in both 39 and 41mm size options. The design has evolved in a few subtle but important ways in the intervening years, but this year the collection welcomed its first proper re-design in the form of a GMT.