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Longines

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Longines – The Promise of Heritage

Longines has been a top dog in the watch industry for quite a few years, known not only for its pioneering spirit, but also its production of watches with high precision specs. In the past, Longines had a presence on the American market and offered top shelf products at relatively affordable prices. In a 1950’s advertisement, it proclaimed that it’s entirely a matter of preference if someone wants to buy a cheaper watch and that there would be no point in purchasing anything other then a Longines’.

As often as the luxury watch branch loves to exaggerate in their advertisements, there’s still something to be taken away from this boast: A hike in price for mechanical watches makes what Longines has on the table all the more attractive. Its core business model consists primarily of a variety of three handed watches and chronographs in a price range between 500 – 2,000 GBP. Hardly any other manufacturers offer this type of sweeping price class, which all but ensures them a key position as one of the most adaptable brands on the market. However, this isn’t the sole reason why their watches are so popular and enjoy a steady stream of revenue in St. Imier.

Longines’ overall success could probably best be condensed into three words: consistency, fairness, and taste. Its gentlemen’s timepieces usually aren’t bigger than 42mm and while heritage collections are a dime a dozen in the watch branch, Longines has one of its own. It perfectly covers all the bases for those that just can’t get enough of the vintage-retro look.


Longines Collections

Conquest

The word Conquest is as omnipresent at Longines as Heritage and can be found in connection with the sub-collection Conquest Classic and Hydro Conquest. There’s a whole lot of variety to be had here, from diving watches to chronographs and even elegant dress watches.


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Heritage

Longines has dedicated its rich history to the name Heritage in numerous models that in their design, are very vintage inspired. It has also created with the Heritage 1942, a column wheel chronograph that is available in a black (L2.768.4.53.2) or white (L2.768.4.113.2) dial. Their monochrome Arabic numbers and their tachymetre scales on the dial borders, appear to come straight out of this period in time.


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Evidenza

The Evidenza collection was denounced for many years as too old-fashioned. However, the round and angled case forms are becoming once more en-vogue. The Evidenza was launched into stardom thanks to its appearance in the movie Casablanca, while worn on the wrist of Humphrey Bogart.


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Master Collection

The most popular Longines collection doesn’t just embody harmonious watches with vintage inspired designs. From the retrograde displays to the moon phase feature, pretty much everything is on-board that makes this timekeeper stand out. However, a special emphasis has been placed on the styles of the 20s and 30s of the last century.


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La Grande Classique

Classic and elegant dress watches for him and her, offered not only in gold, but also stainless steel. The ladies collection contains a variety of watches with diamonds that either decorate the case frame or are applied as hour markers. The men’s collection, on the other hand, is even more reduced and gets right to the point. All models are characterised by their timeless elegance and simple appearance, regardless of their intended gender.


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Longines broken down into numbers

2,781: 2,781 different models

Longines’ philosophy of watch production is the polar opposite of Tudor or Rolex with their relatively slim portfolios. As of 2015, Longines has a wide variety of watches totaling 2,781 different models. It’s not an exaggeration to say that Longines aims to provide everyone with just the perfect model. While there is a large selection for gentlemen, the ladies collection has always been equally important. The retro-like Master Collection (L2) and the Conquest Collection (L3), which includes the diving watch model Conquest is quite popular. Their designs invoke the imagery of days long since past.

40: More than forty million watches

Throughout its history, Longines has sold roughly about 40 million watches and isn’t far behind Omega and Rolex in its yearly production. It’s also making progress towards a seven figure number in annual sales, and has obtained the number four spot worldwide. In terms of revenue, It stands right alongside the big three; Rolex, Omega, and Cartier. At the same time Longines is one of the biggest Assembleurs of ETA movements. Even though it distinguishes itself by the manufacture of high end chronographs, most of its watches consist of three hand watches, which make up 85% of its volume of production.

0: Zero meridian from Greenwich

That the measurement of longitude could be so vital is something that hardly anyone knew better then Charles Lindbergh. He was, after all, the first person that flew a single motor airplane over the Atlantic Ocean. Closely cooperating with Longines, Lindbergh also developed the first watch that could precisely determine the longitude, by displaying the hour angle in reference to the zero meridian from Greenwich. This aided in determining the flight navigation in both an East and West direction. The Longines Lindbergh Hour Angle Watch is today a legendary timepiece many would more than love to call their own. The good news is that it’s actually affordable.

71.50: 71.50 US Dollar price tag for a Longines in the 1950s

In the 1950s, models from Patek Philippe or Vacheron Constantin were available for about 400.- USD, whereas Rolex’s cost about 150.- USD. Longines has long been known as the manufacturer with an almost unbeatable price-performance ratio. In 1952, a watch from Longines could be purchased for 71,50 USD. Today, the brand still remains true to its roots by offering valuable watches worth every penny.

4: Four years on air

Nowadays, new products are spread lighting fast throughout the internet at the click of a mouse button. However, in the past the greatest innovations were usually presented first at world fairs. Longines didn’t only just hold several precision records at the end of the 19th century, but also won a substantial amount of gold medals at the world exhibitions in Paris and Vienna. Eventually, Longines slowly began to break into the American market. In between 1951 and 1955, it became the sponsor and namesake of the television show Longines Chronoscope. Celebrities and famous personalities of the times, such as John F. Kennedy or Richard E. Byrd, were interviewed before the newest Longines model was then presented. This showed how one of the earliest manufacturers of precision time watches undertook a big effort to expand into the United States.


A Chronology of Longines


1832: Longines is founded by Auguste Agassiz in St. Imier, Switzerland.

1867: The first watch factory begins operation. Several production stages for the completion of a watch are consolidated all into one place. With this long term plan for the manufacturing of high precision series watches, Longines scored itself numerous prizes in the following years e.g. at the world exhibitions Vienna (1873) and Paris (1879).

1893: Longines is trademarked and becomes the world’s oldest registered watch brand.

1896: The brand presides over the awarding of medals at the first modern day Olympic Games.

1918: Longines launches its first watch for aviators.

1931: The Longines Hour Angle Watch is presented and it is used by pilots to determine the degree of longitude. From this point forward all overseas flights used this as a tool in navigation.

1941: The Tonneau shaped Evidenza comes out on the market.

1954: The Conquest series is presented to the public and along with it, Longines’ concept of a watch series altogether.

1959: The Flagship series becomes the second collection of Longines. Its prominent feature is the caravel engraved on the bottom of the case.

1967: One hundred years after the opening of the factory Les Longines, the Ultra-Chron is launched, a highly accurate automatic watch. The model’s successor follows six years later with the Super-Quartz (not to be mistaken for Breitling’s high performance quartz model which bears the name of SuperQuartz).

1997: The Longines Dolce Vita is rolled out.

2005: The Master Collection is launched.

2010: Breitling presents its first in-house movement without chronograph functionality.

2015: The Hydro Conquest, created specifically as a diving watch, is incorporated into Longines’ extensive portfolio.

Longines Aficionados

It’s well-known that Longines watches were worn during the Arctic Expedition led by Admiral Richard Byrd. Other pioneers such as Roald Amundsen, Louis Amédée de Savoie, and Sir Hubert Wilkins also placed their faith in its craftsmanship. Charles Lindbergh and Amelia Earhart relied upon their Longines during their daring flights. A Longines Evidenza starred in perhaps the most famous of movies, Casablanca, strapped to the wrist of Humphrey Bogart as “the kid” Ingrid Bergmann begged him to look her in the eyes. The watch wasn’t only his favourite in his role as Rick Blaine, but also in his private life. Today, top models such as Miranda Kerr, the ex-tennis punk Andre Agassi, and the Mentalist Simon Baker are the brands most prominent ambassadors.