When something concerns a record breaking flight, a winged hour glass, or a long meadow then the Longines brand can’t be that far off in the distance. However, as the case with most rumours passed from lips to ears, not all that’s heard about this traditional Swiss brand from the Swatch empire will pander out to be true. Keeping this slice of wisdom in mind, here are our top 6 myths and misconceptions in circulation about Longines.
Longines was first trademarked as intellectual property in 1893. Therefore, Longines is the first, registered watch brand in the world. Yet, this doesn’t mean it’s the oldest, still active watch manufacturer. Blancpain was founded in 1735, almost a whole century before Longines started producing watches in 1832. However, Blancpain’s production was temporarily suspended for a period of time, but resumed course, thanks to the personal initiative of Jean-Claude Biver. To this day, the oldest unbroken production record is held by Vacheron Constantin, whose watch production opened for business in 1755.
The 60 year anniversary of his famous Atlantic flight occurred in 1987. A special edition of the Hour Angle Watch was produced and not only since then, rumor-mongers believe that it is very watch that Lindbergh wore during his historic solo flight. Actually, the tool watch that simplifies determination of a plane’s position was launched five years after Lindbergh’s legendary feat. A collaborative effort between Lindbergh und Longines, it simplifies the ascertainment of the degree of longitude on long distance flights.
Omega hasn’t been the only timekeeper of the Olympic Games, Longines has as well. Its fame as a first rate, high precision manufacturer of watches helped to ensure that it was bestowed with the honour in 1896. Longines also won a bid for the games against Omega in 1940, however they weren’t held due to the raging of the Second World War. The next Olympic honour followed in 1952. In 1968 and 1972 Longines shared the rights, first with Omega and then with Junghans.
Nowadays, due to the nature of how exclusive rights are awarded at most large scale sporting events, such a mutual sharing of timekeeping would be more or less unthinkable. In the 1960s and 1970s, however, it wasn’t out of character. In the same vein, Longines also ensured that it didn’t come up short in terms of awards for itself. It was consistently rewarded prizes and innovation trophies e.g. at the World Fair in Paris in 1879.
It is often assumed that Rolex was the first manufacturer that created this visual trademark and Wilsdorf himself is frequently referred to in regards to the watch logo. While the Rolex symbol is often thought of as being the first, the emblem from Longines is actually considerably older. It was drafted in 1893, long before the era of Rolex and therefore, Longines’ winged hourglass might be the oldest watch symbol in the world.
Ernest Francillons, nephew of the founder Auguste Agassiz, opened the doors of his first watch factory in 1867. The many steps of production were integrated and combined into one single process in-house. However, the first watches constructed according to specific industrial benchmarks were created at the beginning of the 19th century and aren’t necessarily connected to Longines in anyway.
For a considerable amount of time, Longines was a family run enterprise. Therefore, it is naturally assumed that the company, just like most other watch makers in family hands, proudly chose the name of its original founder. Yet in Longines case, the namesake of the brand actually comes from the watch factory Ernest Francillon built. It was called Les Longines, an expression that reflected a regional dialect, and which roughly translates to long meadows.