A ship captain at the age of 17,
Joseph-Elzéar Bernier is a character straight out of a novel. Playing an important role in charting the map of the Far North, he was always accompanied by his faithful Longines chronometers on his adventures.
In 1904, during his expedition to the North Pole from Quebec, Captain Joseph-Elzéar Bernier relied on two Longines chronometers to read Greenwich time, an essential indication in navigation. The pieces were from the Express Monarch series, initially designed for use by railway companies.
The Quebecois adventurer became captain at the age of 17, having already spent many years crossing the seas and oceans on cargo ships mostly carrying Canadian wood.
He became interested in the poles and led, as an agent for the Canadian government, an exploration expedition to the Canadian Arctic islands north of Hudson Bay, specifically to the island neighbouring Greenland, Baffin Island, and Melville Peninsula. During the 429 day-long expedition, the chronometers on board his ship were off: one by 13 seconds and the other by 4 seconds. This is why Captain Bernier and his crew placed their trust in Longines timepieces and stayed loyal to them over the years, adopting the new innovations in Longines chronometers with each expedition.
The very first Longines chronometers (calibres 21.59 and 21.60) were chosen by Bernier from the outset to help him navigate the most inhospitable lands: the Far North. Designed on request from the pioneers of rail travel, they would also equip ships.