One of the top watch brands in the world is the ‘Longines’ brand. The watch business started in Switzerland’s Saint-Imier region where the watches were made inside the worker’s home in the form of contract work. This company was founded by Auguste Agassiz in 1832. In 1866, Ernest Francillion, nephew of Agassiz built a factory to make watches in the south of Saint-Imier region called the ‘Les Longines’.
In 1867 the factory started manufacturing mechanised watches. Then, Francillion introduced the first brand name in the watch industry called ‘Longines’. The word ‘Longines’ was engraved on all the company’s watches. The watches produced had more modern features.
Francillion decided against the use of winding keys in watches and started using the crown-winding mechanism. The factory started producing Lepine watches with cylindrical escapement and watches with Swiss lever escapement. It also started producing smaller ladies’ watches with the 12-, 13- and 14-lignes movement. In the first year, the factory produced watches with in-house calibres and others with supplied movements.
In 1867, the factory employed 40 workers and in 1875 the number increased to 120. The workers now worked for specific hours and their work was inspected more closely. In 1880- 1890 the production process in the factory began to be modernised to stay competitive internationally.
The factory started producing chronographs and high-precision chronographs which became most sought after. The company made many technical innovations, streamlined the watch production and expanded internationally.
The company produced the pilot’s watch which became a legend and in 1938 when Howard Huges circled the globe in an aircraft, it was fitted with Longines instrument. The company also developed watches for marine navigation, fashionable ladies’ watches and watches for use in the tropics.
In 1946 Longines introduced the first automatic watch and by 1950 this watch was in great demand. In 1954, the company launched its automatic model ‘Conquest’ which was a huge success. The company now produces one million watches per year and it is amongst the top five brands in the world.
In 1971, the company became a part of ETA and later transferred the production of watch movements completely to ETA. ETA continues to produce watch movements for Longines. In 1998 the Swatch group was formed with Longines as one of its strongest brands.
Longines offers a combination of elegance and top performance in their various collections. Each watch collection has its style while remaining true to timeless elegance, this is the core value of the brand.
The company’s winged hourglass logo which was registered in 1889 is the oldest active trademark registered with WIPO. The brand has a global presence and there are authorised Longines watch showrooms in Mumbai where you can find these luxury timepieces.
The collections are categorised into main groups: Classic and Sport. The Classic offers collections like the Watchmaking Tradition and Elegance. The Sport offers collections like Performance, Avigation and Diving.
- The Watchmaking Tradition consists of the Longines Master Collection, Record Collection, Heritage Classic and Flagship.
- The Elegance consists of Longines Dolcevita, the Longines Elegant Collection, La Grande Classique De Longines, Longines Primaluna and Longines Evidenza.
- The Performance consists of Conquest Classic and Conquest.
- The Avigation consists of Longines Spirit and Heritage Avigation.
- The Diving consists of Hydroconquest, the Longines Legend Diver watch and the Longines Ultra-Chron.
Longines celebrated its 180th anniversary in 2012 by launching two new collections called the Special Edition 180th Anniversary models and the Saint-Imier Collection.
Special Edition 180th Anniversary model
The flagship model is the numbered and limited rose gold Longines column-wheel single push-piece chronograph. It is a tribute to the chronographs built earlier by the brand. A pusher is integrated into the crown for start, stop and reset chronograph functions. The automatic calibre is developed by ETA exclusively for Longines. A steel variation is available.
The towns in the Saint-Imier region have a special bond linking them with the Longines brand. The brand has remained in the same location since it was founded in 1832. For this reason, Longines has dedicated a special collection to its hometown.
This collection has only mechanical watches and a model from 1945 served as an inspiration. The cases are available in stainless steel, gold and a combination of stainless steel and gold. The models contain automatic ETA movement.
The Longines ladies’ watches are a combination of images and ideas and are available in Longines watch showrooms in Mumbai. In 1992 the company introduced the ladies’ watch that became an icon. The model is the La Grande Classique De Longines.