Do a quick Google search on affordable Submariner alternatives and more often than not you’ll see a Longines Hydroconquest on that list. Even if you’re just looking for a budget-friendly dive watch, this collection represents a no-nonsense daily beater regardless of whether or not you spend a lot of time underwater.
The latest Hydroconquest however, seems to depart a bit from its light-on-the-wallet approach instead offering a new 43mm case in black ceramic. As you could probably gather from the name, the watch takes on a darker aesthetic, offering a black dial and a black ceramic bezel and case. Instead of going black on black, the watch still stays functional with contrasting numerals in white, both on the dial and bezel. Of course being functional dive watch, the bezel is unidirectional and is waterproof up to 300m.
Another extra detail that differs from the regular Hydroconquest is the chemical composition of the ceramic material ZrO2 (zirconium dioxide) printed on the dial. Zirconium dioxide is also known as zirconia and in its cubic state the material can be used to simulate diamonds (otherwise known as cubic zirconia). The ZrO2 case on the Longines Hydroconquest does come with all the coveted properties of ceramic, namely it is scratch resistant, and is unreactive to the environment which is great for prolonged periods in seawater.
The movement is the automatic Calibre L888.3 that was developed by ETA exclusively for Longines. And while it would have been cool to also have a black ceramic bracelet (which would probably drive the price way up), the watch instead comes paired with a nice black rubber strap that sits flush with the case.
Case: Black ceramic, ZrO2
Case size: 43mm
Movement: Calibre L888.3
Water Resistance: 300m