to explore
No one dived deeper than scientist Auguste Piccard and his son Jacques in their bathyscaphes, and they trusted the accuracy of Longines. When Jacques Piccard reached the deepest point in the sea, Longines stopwatches were used to time the activation of the ballast tanks.
Auguste and Jacques Piccard stood besides the bathyscaphe Trieste in Napoli (Italy), on 22nd October 1956.
In the 1930s Swiss scientist Auguste Piccard explored the stratosphere in his balloon before descending deep into the ocean. Piccard built in 1948 the first bathyscaphe (FNRS 2) that could withstand great external pressure. After he sold the submersible to the French Navy, Professor Piccard, with his son Jacques, built an improved bathyscaphe named Trieste. On 30th September 1953, they dived together to a record depth of 3,150 m (10,335 ft). Longines accompanied them in this feat as not only did Jacques Piccard wear a Longines wristwatch, the cockpit was also equipped with Longines watches, precise to 1/5 of a second. The Longines timers scanned all phases of the dive – including the descent time, resurfacing time and oxygen consumption – and one of them was hooked up to a safety device.
After several years of use, the Piccards sold the Trieste to the United States Navy in 1958. The bathyscaphe was modified, so that on 23rd January 1960 Jacques Piccard and U.S. Navy Lieutenant Don Walsh descended to a record depth of 10,911 m (35,797 ft) near the deepest point in the Mariana Trench, close to Guam in the Pacific. Two Longines stopwatches were used to time the dropping of the iron ballast, required to resurface. The watchmakers from Saint-Imier continued to accompany the Piccards in their adventures. In 1964, Jacques built a tourist submarine named Mesoscaph that took visitors on a discovery of the deep waters of Lake Geneva in Switzerland. Timers made by Longines were, once again, on board.
These Longines stopwatches were in the cockpit of Piccard's bathyscaphe when he reached the record depth of 10,911 m (35,797 ft) in the Mariana Trench in 1960.
The cockpit of the Mesoscaph submarine with Jacques Piccard and the panel of four Longines timers on his left.