The Rise of Longines Watches: A History of the Longines Watch Company

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Longines watches have a long tradition and look back upon an eventful history. Today, Longines is a well-known brand; perhaps some of you are wearing a Longines watch right now, or are planning to add another Longines watch to your collection. But what is the story behind Longines watches’ rise to popularity? Who created the first Longines watch? And how did Longines watches get their name?

This FREE download, WatchTime Spotlight: Longines, gives you the answer, shedding light on the fascinating history of Longines. This FREE Download invites you to a journey that begins in the year 1832.

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In 1832, Auguste Agassiz founded a comptoir in the village of Saint-Imier, in Switzerland’s Jura region. Agassiz then became an active participant in the watch business known as “Comptoir Raiguel Jeune.” As of 1838, this business became known as “Agassiz & Compagnie,”  which would develop into what we know today as the Longines watch company. The timepieces produced by this company, the predecessors to today’s Longines watches, developed a reputation for quality that extended far beyond the Swiss border.

Our story also delves into another important figure in the history of Longines watches, Ernest Francillon, the man behind many of the brand’s innovations. Francillon’s mission was to replace the mostly handmade individual timepieces with precise, serially manufactured products. In 1867, he started to construct a new factory building for the company, locating it beside a river in an area called “Les Longines,” which means “the long meadows” in the local dialect. The new Longines watches attained great success but  also attracted unscrupulous counterfeiters. To defend against fakes, Longines developed the winged hourglass logo that’s still engraved on many of the company’s movements and cases, the legally protected trademark of Longines watches. These are just a few of the interesting tidbits you’ll find in this comprehensive history of the Longines watch company. Get the whole story in our new FREE download.

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The Longines story is full of innovative timepieces, from early ones like the Lépine Caliber 18 L to later pieces like the Longines Evidenza and Longines LungoMare. We also reveal the innovative technological advances made for Longines watches, such as the “Vibrograph,” a device for controlling the rate of watches, which debuted in 1946.  While continuing to create mechanical timekeepers, the company also pioneered innovations in quartz technology for its Longines watches. One was the first portable quartz clock, in 1954, which exceeded its era’s requirements for precision and reliability. Longines watches still incorporate both technologies today; both quartz and mechanical have been represented in the brand’s diverse product portfolio for many decades.

To learn more about these developments, and to see more famous Longines watch models and calibers, download this FREE article now. Fans of Longines watches will appreciate knowing more about models like the Ultra-Thin, Conquest Perpetual Calendar, Flagship, La Grande Classique de Longines, Longines Dolce Vita and 1492 Christobal C.  What are you waiting for?

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Today Longines is part of the Swatch Group, which has ensured that Longines watches have continued to evolve over the years, exactly as Francillon and his successors might have wished. The spirit of those early pioneers is still alive and well in Longines’ longtime CEO, Walter von Känel, a resident of Saint-Imier since 1945. He said, “I’ve always been fascinated by watchmaking. Watchmaking shaped our whole region in those days, and I secretly knew that it would one day offer me the opportunity to discover the great wide world.” He was right.

If you’d like to know more, download our FREE article and become an instant expert on Longines watches!

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  • The history of Longines watches.
  • The development of the first Longines watch.
  • What makes Longines watches special
  • The most important calibers and models of Longines watches.

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  1. Giorgio Osti

    I think I have said it several times: the 13 zn and the ch30 chronos of the fourties and fifties, not only were comparable with the finest chronos in these times, like Patek, Vacheron and Rolex, were the first ones to introduce interesting specs like “flyback” chronographs for pilots, but their calibers were fully developped in house whereas the others relaid on bass like Valjoux, lemania, victorin Piguet amd the like .

    Due to the fact, that the inhouse ranking, within the Swatch group, of the longines brand is, nowadays below Omega, whilst I think it shoud be at least on the same level, with a special spot for fine chronographs with real in house movements, not ones bought inside the group from ETA, this has, for real afficionados like me, a pleasant side effect: i bought two very fine, pink gold longies, of which one replaced my grandfather’s watch, which was stolen, for a bargain.

    And amongst my chronographs, my pink gold fly back chrono ch30 , from the thirties, is the one I prefer!

    Giorgo Osti

  2. George Michael. vlassis

    yeah longines have been making Swiss . Time pieces for piece.evidenza.divers..heritage. Thanks again George from Sydney Australia

  3. Jonathan W. Fink

    LI own a Longines Hydroconquest. I love it. It is a classically styled dive watch with enough signature elements to render it identifiable as a Longines. The fit and finish buries anything in it’s class and a class above for function ality. The Hydroconquest is a true tool watch that I am comfortable to get dirty with, without worrying about, and still feel good wearing afterwards.

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