History of Longines Watches

Longines has an incredibly detailed history. To understand the journey the brand has taken from starting as a small company founded by Auguste Agassiz and two other partners in 1832, to becoming one of the world’s most recognised watch manufacturers, it's necessary to look at some of Longines’ biggest milestones. The company first served as a middleman between independent craftsmen and retailers, building connections in the US as a result of Agassiz’s overseas travels. Agassiz’s nephew took over the company in 1852 and the first St Imier-based facilities were set up 15 years later. In the same year, Longines created its first in house movement, the 20A, followed by its first chronograph movement in 1878. Its precision was utilized throughout the world of equestrian sports. The company logo and name are the oldest still in trade and have remained unchanged since 1889.

In navigation, Longines created a range of wristwatches that enabled the wearer to synchronise the second hand with GMT signal in 1927. Just 18 years later, the launch of the brand’s first automatic movement came with an innovative rotor winding mechanism for large scale manufacture. In 1954 Longines launched one of its most popular collections to date. The Conquest line of timepieces was the predecessor to the Flagship collection, which is still widely collected today. A distinctive medallion featuring a caravel engraved on the case back became one design element in particular that differentiated the Flagship watch from anything else on the market at the time. Over the next few years, Longines would design an electromechanical calibre intended for observatory competitions and would time Donald Campbell aboard his high-speed Bluebird II car as it raced across Lake Eyre in Australia to set a world record. The self-winding Calibre L340 was then developed, featuring in the brand’s Ultra-Chron collection, along with the revival of the quartz watch in the form of the Ultra Quartz models.

During the quartz crisis of the 1970s, Longines remained firm in its manufacture of automatic movements but also created the flattest lady’s quartz watch in 1979 before focusing its attention on bringing out the La Grande Classique collection, which was instantly met with resounding success. For ten years Longines was made the official timekeeper for F1 races and during the ’80s enveloped watches fitted with the V.H.P quartz movement. The 90s saw the release of the DolveVita watch collection as well as the company’s “Elegance is an Attitude” slogan. During 2003, Longines’ barrel-shaped watches came into fashion, followed by the perfectly round Master watch collection equipped with an incredibly reliable self-winding movement.

In 2007 the Longines Sport collection was born with four sub-categories; HydroConquest, Conquest, GrandeVitesse and Admiral. These timepieces cemented the company’s ties with the sporting industry, including its role as partner and official timekeeper of the French Open Tennis Championship at Roland Garros, and the Alpine skiing competitions. The Longines Prima Luna collection was released in 2009 followed by the St Imier collection three years later. The brand’s more recent innovations include colourful models from the HydroConquest collection, finished with luminescent dials and equipped with a screw down water resistant casing, as well as the Longines Aviation Oversize models.

Longines has since collaborated with the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities (IFHA) and celebrated the year of the horse with a special Equestrian Lepine Pocket Watch in rose gold. Continuing to build on its foundations of authentic, genuine Swiss watch manufacture, Longines stands proud as an innovator and pioneer of aviation tools, divers watches, classic dress watches and timekeeping instruments for the sporting world.