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.
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.
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.
Longines challenges the watchmaking industry when it created one of the world’s first wrist chronographs, based on Longines’ calibre 19.73N.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Longines produces the first truly waterproof chronograph, with its typical mushroom-shaped pushers. A patent is filed in 1938.
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.
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.
After Conquest, the elegant Flagship collection is launched, with its distinctive medallion featuring a caravel engraved on the case back.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Longines develops the first quartz-controlled wristwatch called Ultra-Quartz. It was more accurate than any other production wristwatch.
The winged hourglass brand introduces La Grande Classique de Longines. An emblematic collection which proves an immediate and enduring acclaim.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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 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.
This partnership highlights the ingenuity and accuracy of Longines’ timekeeping instruments.