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      The History of Longines

      Longines logo

      Longines was founded in 1832.

      Longines Founder: Auguste Agassiz Founded in 1832

      *Auguste Agassi, founder of Longines

      In 1866, he purchased land south of Saint-Imier and built a factory on what is now known as the Longines.

      The current company name Longines comes from this.

      In the early days of watchmaking, the typical movement had a cylindrical escapement and was wound by a key.

      However, Francillon opposed key-winding mechanisms and from 1867 onwards produced only watches that were wound via the crown.

      In 1867 Francillon brought in Jacques David to help introduce industrialization, which he was passionately pursuing.

      David was responsible for running the equipment and mechanical systems in the new factory.

      Longines winding watch

      In 1876, Francillon sent a delegation led by David to the World's Fair in Philadelphia.

      There they witnessed factory production in the American watchmaking industry.

      The delegation brought back many ideas which they implemented in the new factory.

      By 1880, Longines had sufficient production capacity to produce all its movements in-house and was no longer dependent on movement suppliers.

      In the first half of the 20th century, Longines gained fame for its aviation watches and continued success with its sports timers.

      They continued to push their chronograph expertise to greater heights.

      Famous calibers and their reference numbers

      The Calibre 20A was the first movement produced by the Longines factory in 1867.

      This 20-line caliber won an award at the Paris Universal Exhibition that year.

      This 20-line calibre had an anchor escapement and a crown winding and setting system.

      Longines Caliber 20H Chronograph Movement

      The Calibre 20H was Longines' first chronograph movement, produced in 1868.

      The central chronograph seconds hand was started, stopped and reset to zero via the mono push crown.

      The caliber 19.73 debuted in 1890.

      This double-sided chronograph featured a traditional vertical two-register dial on the front and a double-track tachymeter on the back.

      The slim profile Cal. 19.73N followed in 1909.

      Longines early 19.73N movement

      *Longines early model 19.73N movement

      Eventually, this caliber was modified into a split-second chronograph in 1922.

      By the beginning of World War II, this design had been changed to a stronger hairspring, bringing the frequency up to 50Hz.

      Therefore, elapsed time can be measured to 1/100th of a second.

      The "Caliber 13ZN" was born in 1936.

      The Longines 13ZN movement

      *Caliber 13ZN

      This caliber is available in several versions and is patented.

      There are ones with 30 minute counters and ones with 60 minute counters.

      Longines Caliber 22A, the first automatic movement

      *Longines Caliber 22A, the first automatic movement

      Caliber 22A was the first automatic movement released in 1945.

      In 1960, the extremely thin Calibre 340 was introduced, featuring an off-centre rotor in a movement just 3.45 mm thick.

      From here, Longines moves on to new thinner movements.

      In 1969, Longines introduced the UltraQuartz, its first quartz movement with an analogue display.

      Longines claims this movement is the first quartz ready for mass production.

      In 1972, LCD digital displays were introduced, which consumed much less power than contemporary LED watches.

      By 1977 the quartz crisis was in full swing and Longines responded with the calibre L990.

      This was an ultra-thin automatic movement with two barrels and a thickness of just 2.95 mm.

      In 1979, Longines introduced the Golden Leaf, a "paper-thin" quartz watch.

      It has an analog display and is just 1.98mm thick.

      Longines Paper-thin Movement

      The Longines row wheel chronograph was introduced in 2009.

      Its engine is Longines' own ETA calibre A08.231, designated L688.

      Lindberg Hour Angle Watch

      Lindbergh's Hour Angle watch was introduced in 1931.

      It puts into practice Philip van Horne Weems' concepts for simplifying navigation and is based on earlier Longines models.

      The Weems watch was introduced in 1927, the same year Lindbergh made his first solo nonstop transatlantic flight.

      Its notable feature was the rotatable central dial, controlled by a second crown at the 4 o'clock position.

      The dial was marked with 60 equal increments to synchronize the seconds with the transmitted radio clock.

      Lindbergh drew on his experience from his transoceanic flights and combined some of Weems' concepts with new features to create a new watch for Longines.

      The new watch was 47.5mm in diameter and had both a central seconds hand and a rotating bezel (adjusted in angle).

      This clock was used in conjunction with a sextant and a nautical almanac to calculate longitude.

      Longines (left), Lindbergh Watch (right), Weems Watch

      Modern versions of both the Weems Second-Setting watch and the Lindbergh Hour-Angle watch are still available today.

      Both are powered by the Longines caliber L699 and both have a diameter of 47.5mm.

      Entry into sports timing

      The aforementioned calibre 19.73, which debuted in 1890, was a major foundation for Longines' involvement in competitive sports.

      In 1922, this calibre was modified into a split-second chronograph, and with the help of a stronger hairspring, it was able to measure time to 1/100th of a second.

      Until 1938, Longines engineers were creating large 24-ligne (54.14 mm) chronograph movements for use in sporting events.

      This was because the larger the movement, the more accurate it was.

      Other versions of this caliber 19.73 were equally large, vibrating at 50Hz and able to time to 1/100th of a second.

      They remained in production until the 1970s, and were able to compete with quartz timers.

      Longines Caliber 19.73 movement capable of measuring to 1/100th of a second

      In 1954, Longines developed the Chronocinégines, a quartz-based photography system, but the sports industry at the time tended to rely on mechanical timers.

      Therefore, during the 1950s, Longines continued to develop the split-second chronograph.

      The result was the birth of the Caliber 260.

      The chronograph seconds hand rotates around the dial in 30 seconds instead of 60, making it easier to measure tenths of a second.

      Nowadays, Longines is known as the official timer for equestrian sports, horse racing, tennis and gymnastics.

      This includes tennis tournaments such as the US Triple Crown and the French Open.

      A logo that has been loved for a long time

      The Longines winged hourglass logo has been in use, in some form or another, since 1867.

      The current Art Deco style version came into use in 1942.

      The Longines brand name was filed with the Swiss Intellectual Property Office in 1880.

      The logo was registered with the firm in 1889.

      Longines: A logo that has been loved for a long time

      The brand name and logo were submitted to the United Nations Intellectual Property Office (later the World Intellectual Property Organization) in 1893.

      This makes Longines the oldest brand name registered with WIPO and still in use today.

      Relationship with ETA

      Throughout its history, Longines has gained a reputation for developing specialized movements.

      In 1971, Longines was acquired by ASUAG, which merged to become SMH and later the Swatch Group.

      After being acquired by ASUAG and the subsequent merger between ASUAG and SSIH, the new conglomerate's movement manufacturing was transferred to Ebauches SA and then to ETASA when the two were integrated.

      However, Longines continued to consult with ETA, resulting in Longines' own movements over the years.

      Currently, four are in production, including the A08.231 mentioned above, with further development ongoing.

      Recent Releases

      Notable recent releases include the Conquest Classic collection and the Avigation Oversized Crown model.

      The Conquest Classic Chronograph is powered by the L688 movement and evokes the classic style of the early days.

      Longines Left: Avigation Oversized Crown Model Right: Conquest Classic Chronograph

      The Avigation Oversized Crown model closely resembles 1940s-style pilot's watches.

      It is available in three versions: a three-hand model, a GMT model, and a monopusher chronograph with two registers.

      The chronograph is equipped with the L788 movement, which is also used in the classic design Avigation watch Type A-7.

      The Type A-7 has a monopusher (crown) at the 12 o'clock position and the dial rotates 45 degrees with the lugs.

      This allows you to have a good view of the clock while driving a vehicle without taking your hands off the wheel.

      Our goal

      Longines will continue to move in its own unique direction.

      The Swatch Group is also doing very well, continuing to release great new models.

      You can see this by looking at growth in the current economic climate.

      Asia and the United States remain strong markets, and it seems certain that Longines' reputation will continue for some time to come.