Skip to Main Navigation Skip to Content

A story of time

Chapter 1

A STRONG LEGACY SINCE 1832

Chapter 2

A WATCHMAKING HISTORY

Chapter 3

A TIMEKEEPING EXPERTISE

Discover

THE PIONEER SPIRIT LIVES ON

Chapter 1

A STRONG LEGACY SINCE 1832

Chapter 2

A WATCHMAKING HISTORY

Chapter 3

A TIMEKEEPING EXPERTISE

Discover

THE PIONEER SPIRIT LIVES ON

a strong
legacy
since 1832

Chapter 1

Auguste Agassiz (left) and Ernest Francillon (right), the founding fathers of Longines

The story of Longines
started 190 years ago.

1832

Auguste Agassiz and his fellow watchmakers founded his workshop in the Swiss village of St-Imier. Without electricity, running water and no means of communication other than diligence, Agassiz and his watchmakers set themselves quite a challenge. They follow a vision: to stand out in quality.

1852

Recognizing the needs for someone who shares his vision, Agassiz brings his nephew on-board. The young Ernest Francillon has no doubt nor fears when it comes to the new age of industrialization: it is the only way to go. He will play a pivotal role in the evolution of the brand.

1867

Inspired by his conviction, Francillon transforms his uncle's watchmaking workshop into a new factory. From 1867, talented artisans work together under the same roof, aided by machines. Longines is one of the first Swiss watch brands to mechanize the production of its watches. Using hydro-electric turbines, the company improves the quality of its components, and this is how highly qualitative and accurate timepieces are successfully produced.

THE LONGINES FACTORY

Located in Saint-Imier, the factory was built on the field Es Longines (‘long meadows’). It is indeed the field name that gave Longines its brand name. The Longines Factory has remained at the same place ever since.

1867
1867
1911
1911
1966
1966
Nowaday
Nowaday

Longines is the 1st registered trademark that is still valid today

When the factory opens, Longines watches are already adorned with a winged hourglass logo and a serial number as a protection against counterfeits and a guarantee of authenticity. From 1880, the brand name is filed in Switzerland, while the logo is registered in 1889.

In 1893, worldwide protection is provided when the brand name and logo are filed with the United International Bureaux for the Protection of Intellectual Property, the forerunner of the WIPO.

Longines is the oldest trademark registered with the WIPO still in use today. Although its graphic appearance has slightly evolved over time, the winged hourglass of Longines has been in constant use since 1867.

A WATCHMAKING HISTORY

Chapter 2
Over time, Longines has built a wide variety of high-beat stopwatches, chronographs, chronometers, and timekeeping instruments. Its watchmakers truly blazed trails and while the brand continues to challenge itself and remains at the industry’s cutting edge of innovation, Longines is rightfully proud of some of the technology it has introduced to the world over the years.

LONGINES’ WATCHMAKING MILESTONES

1878

With its new mechanical procedures, Longines produces its first chronograph pocket watch, the 20H calibre. This is the first mechanism manufactured by Longines that can be used for precise timing, an area in which the brand invests heavily from the end of the 19th century.

1908

The brand’s watchmakers introduce the first pocket watch indicating two time zones in 1908. This watch operated for the Ottoman Empire (today Turkey), for converting between Turkish time and Western time. Double minute- and hour-hands based on a central double pair of hands. A patent is filed in 1911.

1911

Longines challenges the watchmaking
industry when it created one of the
world’s first wrist chronographs, based
on Longines’ calibre 19.73N.

1913

The first Longines compact-sized chrono-caliber for a wristwatch is developed: the 13.33Z. With its 29mm in diameter, it represents the blueprint for modern chronographs. This movement of superior quality includes a 30-minute instantaneous counter and is accurate to a fifth of a second.

1925

The brand’s watchmakers introduce the first wristwatch chronograph with two independent pushers and flyback function. This mechanism enables to reset and start a new time measurement with a single press of the push-button. The pictured model dates from 1928.

1925

Longines develops the first wristwatch to indicate a second time zone, the 10.68N calibre. With its additional hour hand, it is capable of converting local time into universal world time (UTC+0 or Zulu Time). The Z-flag on the dial stands for Zero (UTC + 0) or later Zulu Time. The two red wedges of three minutes indicate periods of radio silence for radio operators on ships.

1927

In collaboration with US Navy officer Philip Van Horn Weems, Longines develops the Weems Second Setting Watch. With an innovative rotating central dial, it enables to synchronize the seconds-hand precisely to a radio time signal. It is a hit with navigators and pilots.

1931

Having made his famous non-stop solo flight over the North Atlantic in 1927, pilot Charles A. Lindbergh inspires Longines to create the first wristwatch with a rotating bezel for astronavigation. Used in conjunction with a sextant and a nautical almanac, the Lindbergh Hour Angle watch helps aviators to calculate their geographical position with the help of the stars.

1936

The Longines factory develops the first serial chronograph with flyback function (calibre 13ZN). It is one of the most technologically advanced chronograph movements of that time. Longines files a patent for the flyback mechanism in 1935, which is granted in 1936.

1936

Using a high-precision 21.29 movement, Longines develops the Siderograph, an astronavigation chronometer. This device expresses Greenwich sidereal time in degrees, minutes and fractions of arc minutes and enables quick calculations of position.

1937

Longines produces the first truly waterproof chronograph, with its typical mushroom-shaped pushers. A patent is filed in 1938.

1942

A special version of Longines’ legendary chronograph movement 13ZN is produced. A minute counter with a central red hand counts the elapsed minutes, which are visible on the whole dial rather than on a very small auxiliary dial. It counts 60 minutes instead of 30 minutes, and on the auxiliary dial there is a counter for 12 hours.

1954

Longines launches its Conquest collection. It is the first step in a new product development strategy – the introduction of product families. Indeed, registered in Switzerland on April 3rd 1954, Conquest is the first product family established.

1956

After Conquest, the elegant Flagship collection is launched, with its distinctive medallion featuring a caravel engraved on the case back.

1958

Longines introduces the Longines Nautilus Skin Diver. It is Longines’ first civilian divers’ watch. Its case features the patented case-sealing “Compressor” technology: The deeper you dive, the more pressure is applied to the gasket and closes the case even tighter.

1959

After the Longines Nautilus Skin Diver, the watchmakers develop a new iconic diver’s watch with two crowns (calibre 19AS), today called Legend Diver. Waterproof to 120m, this timepiece features a bidirectional rotatable inner disc to protect it from underwater obstacles, operated by a second crown.

1959

Longines builds the world’s first high-frequency wrist chronometer oscillating at 36,000 beats an hour (calibre 360), winning 1st and 2nd place in the competition of the most accurate watch at the Observatory of Neuchâtel in 1961.

1967

Inspired by the technical milestone achieved with its calibre 360 and with the aim of offering an alternative to the emerging electronics and quartz used by the competition, Longines launches the Longines Ultra-Chron. A high-frequency watch with a guaranteed accuracy of “one minute a month”, which corresponds to two seconds a day.

1969

Longines develops the first quartz-controlled wristwatch called Ultra-Quartz. It was more accurate than any other production wristwatch.

1992

The winged hourglass brand introduces La Grande Classique de Longines. An emblematic collection which proves an immediate and enduring acclaim.

1997

Inspired by the spirit of the “Dolce Vita”, Longines launches its DolceVita collection. Referring to the brand’s rectangular shaped models of the 1920s, it also embodies the timeless elegance of Longines.

2005

Longines introduces a collection intended to perpetuate its long watchmaking tradition: The Longines Master Collection. This collection is entirely composed of models with mechanical movements.

2007

With the intention to meet the needs of sportspeople willing to remain elegant, Longines introduces its sport pillar. It includes the HydroConquest and a new modernized Conquest collection.

2020

Designed in the same manner as the timepieces of famous pioneering aviators who relied on Longines to realize their feat, the winged hourglass brand launches its Spirit collection.

A timekeeping
expertise

Chapter 3
By working as a professional timekeeper, Longines was always pushing to develop ingenious, highly accurate and elegant innovations. Accurate timing is key in sports timing as an infinitesimal time can define the winner of a race. Athletes, skiers and riders must therefore be able to place all their trust in the timekeeping practices.

Over time Longines has significantly contributed to the evolution of sports timekeeping by developing devices that accurately indicate the fifth, tenth, hundredth up to the millionth of a second. In addition, the brand has developed key innovative equipment to meet the specific timing needs of many sports.

LONGINES’ MILESTONES IN TIMEKEEPING

1912

The first system of electromechanical sports timing is developed by Longines for the starting and finish lines. It uses wires which when broken respectively start or stop the watch. First introduced at the Federal Gymnastics Festival in Basel, this device used a runner’s body to break a clock-connected wire at the beginning and end of a race.

1914

Longines develops the first stopwatch with a high-frequency movement beating 36.000 times per hour, to measure a tenth of a second, based on the calibre 19.73N.

1916

The watchmakers achieve a new milestone: they develop the first stopwatch with a high-frequency movement of 360.000 beats capable of measuring to a hundredth of a second.

1945

Following the essays of 1937, Longines creates the photoelectric-cell-based light beam barrier device for sports competitions. Introduced for the first time at a ski race in Montana, it replaces the broken-wire system as the interception of the light beam activates the chronograph pusher. This technical breakthrough greatly improves the timing of both winter and summer sports.

1949

Longines introduces the Chronocaméra. This high-precision, fully automatic instrument reacts instantly to a signal and gives photographed times in 4 seconds. Ingenious, this system includes Longines’ first quartz clock for sport timing. It records the order, numbers of starts, finishes and the hour, minute, second and the hundredth of a second.

1950

For the World Alpine Ski Championships in Aspen, Longines uses new electromechanical gates, which record both the start and finish times of each competitor. This system is of great interest because the stopwatches are triggered by the sole action of the competitor.

1953

Longines develops a new quartz clock for sport timing, which chalked up a series of records for accuracy at the Neuchâtel Observatory. The Longines Chronocinégines thus features a 16mm camera coupled to a quartz-clock and provides judges with a series of images of athletes nearing and crossing the finish line taken every hundredth of a second.

1956

A new revolutionary device is developed by Longines: the Contifort. Coupled to a quartz clock, this permanent recording process printed the position in time and space of contestants on the finish line. It allows to photograph the time corresponding to the hundredth of a second.

1956

Longines creates the quartz-based device Chronotypogines, a double-track printer-equipped chronograph. This high precision device records time on a paper strip: hours, minutes, seconds, tenths, hundredths of a second and even gives the possibility to appreciate the thousandth of a second. Certified by the Neuchâtel Observatory, it is used for the timing of world speed records.

Since 2010

Longines’ timing equipment of today includes a new reference in sports timekeeping: the Quantum Timer with a high precision of a millionth of a second.

Equestrian Sports

From its foundation to the present day, Longines has always had a close relationship with the world of horses. In fact, Longines’ first chronograph movement of 1878 has been fitted in a case engraved with a jockey and his mount.

These stopwatches have been seen on American racetracks in 1880s and proved to be extremely popular among jockeys and horse lovers alike. It was no coincidence that Longines became involved with the equestrian world so early on. Indeed, they share the same values. Both defined by a long tradition, they also have in common to stand out by their performance and natural elegance.

In 1912 Longines supported its first show jumping competition in Lisbon, Portugal. A connection with equestrian sports that still prospers today. Over the years, countless equestrian competitions have been served by the quality and reliability of the chronographs and instruments developed by Longines.

Alpine Skiing


Professional high-frequency skiing timer with split-second hand
(cal. 24 lines) measuring 1/10th of a second (1938).

Longines also developed the first luminous scoreboards with rotating times for the Nordic World Ski Championships in Zakopane in 1962, followed by new entirely electronical sport timing sets in 1968 and new devices enabling the direct display of sports results on television screens worldwide in 1971.

Since 2006, Longines is the Official Main Partner and Official Timekeeper of the International Skiing Federation (FIS). The winged hourglass brand continues to time the most famous ski races and provides the backbone of results management at all Alpine Ski World Cup and World Championships events.


Professional high-frequency skiing timer with split-second hand
(cal. 24 lines) measuring 1/10th of a second (1938).

Skiing down snowy mountains ranks among the most popular sports in Longines’ home country of Switzerland. In 1924, the brand timed its first ski race in Switzerland. Some years later, the stopwatches from Saint-Imier were timing the World Ski Championships in Chamonix (France). In 1939, Longines presented a skiing timer with a high-beat movement and split-second hand, measuring to a tenth of a second.

For a Ski Championships in Crans-Montana (Switzerland) in 1945, Longines introduced the photocell light barrier on the finish line. A technical breakthrough which activates chronograph pushers when a skier crosses the finish line. Five years later, another innovative device was developed by Longines for the timing of alpine skiing competitions: the electromechanical gates. First used for the 1950 World Alpine Ski Championships in Aspen, they record both the start and finish times and are triggered by the sole action of the competitor.

Rallies

In January 1949, cars from all over Europe participated in the first edition of the Rallye Monte-Carlo after World War II.
Timekeeping was entrusted to Longines, a status it held for more than 30 years. In 1955, the brand from Saint-Imier launched a special punch printing device, called Printogines. Equipped with a clock with a 8-day power reserve, it allowed contestants to punch their own control card at each checkpoint over the more than 5,000km distance.

The reliable and robust device determined the official winning times on the base of the pilot’s recorded passages through all checkpoints.
It was so useful that it was appointed to time all the famous rallies of its period – including the Coupe des Alpes, the RAC Rally of Great Britain, the TAP Rally in Portugal, and the Thousand Lakes in Finland as well as the Rallye Acropolis in Greece and the Rallye de Côte d’Ivoire in Africa.

Cycling Races

The former president of the French Cycling Federation, Jean Pitallier, personally timed every edition of the Tour de France from 1973 to 1980 with a pair of Longines high-frequency split-second stopwatches (ref 7411).

In 1951, Longines has been asked to time the world’s leading cycling event: the Tour de France. The race across France was an excellent opportunity to test a new system that combined a camera at the finishing line with a device recording each contestant’s time on film. This timing system solved the photo-finish problem when closely following competitors reached the line nearly at the same time.

Formula 1


Grand Prix F1 Belgium 1967: Graham Hill (UK) in a Lotus 49.

In 1949 Longines introduced its Chronocaméra – a fully automatic instrument giving photographed times and capable of measuring up to the hundredth of a second. It was so convincing that the International Automobile Federation certified it in 1950.
In the same year, the inaugural season of Formula 1, Longines timed the famous Grand Prix de Monaco and the Indianapolis 500 in the USA as well as Formula 1 races in Barcelona (Spain), Buenos Aires (Argentina), Spa (Belgium), Zandvoort following years.

By 1956, Longines had developed its Chronotypogines, which used a sensor to automatically start and stop time. This system was soon adopted by the International Automobile Federation. In 1980, Longines launched (with Olivetti) a new method to time each car independently by using radio waves.
This led to Longines’ role as Official Timekeeper for all Formula 1 races from 1982 to 1992.

Commonwealth Games

This partnership highlights the ingenuity and accuracy of Longines’ timekeeping instruments.

Since 1962 Longines is also the Official partner and Timekeeper of the Commonwealth Games.
At each edition, Longines’ timekeepers, scorers, sporting specialists and data handlers make their expertise and devices available to the sporting federations and the talented athletes from throughout the Commonwealth.

THE PIONEERS WHO TRUSTED LONGINES