“The extent of the brand’s expertise in navigation equipment was displayed in all its glory, including a display dedicated to Charles Lindbergh”
displayed in all its glory, from pieces worn by renowned explorers such as Roald Amundsen and Amelia Earhart to a display dedicated to Charles Lindbergh and his famed transatlantic journey with the Spirit of St. Louis.
After adventure on the high seas and the open skies, the theme switched to sports. Since 1878, Longines has produced increasingly accurate equipment that would separate champions and runner-ups. There’s a model of early broken-wire systems (triggered when a runner literally broke a wire placed across the finish line), to the first chronographs used at racecourses in 1881 and photo-finish equipment from the 1950s. It was also interesting to note that Longines’ involvement in the world of sports didn’t end when digital timekeeping became common. In fact, the brand had chalked up quite a bit of experience in F1 racing and remains an official partner in a number of classic competitions.
Nearing the end of my tour of the museum, I came to a small corner lined with various advertisements used by the brand throughout the years. These ranges from illustrated posters to photo campaigns featuring such timeless icons like Audrey Hepburn during her heydays. A small screen, meanwhile, played video advertisements from the past. The old animated clips were definitely interesting, while the droning black-and-white commercials were full of nostalgia. But none of those could beat the tongue-in-cheek parodies of early James Bond Movies, complete with menacing villains, alluring damsels and a dashing hero.
This nostalgic corner sat side-by-side with a section displaying more modern collections and campaign imagery starring the long list of Longines’ brand ambassadors such as Andre Agassi and Kate Winslet. The contrast between the old and the new—and the progress that it implies—perfectly encapsulates the brand’s recipe for success.
a PersPective time
Personally, however, what really put the whole trip through the Longines Museum in perspective was something that Claude Jaunin, the brand’s now-retired regional sales manager for Asia Pacific. We were standing in the Aventure section, near a huge automated hourglass—a natural resting point as just about every guest to the museum would definitely take the time to see the hourglass strike the hour and flip over.
As we stood there waiting, Mr. Jaunin turned to me and said: “You know, time takes its time.” Perhaps it was an observation of the futility of “wishing” the hourglass to turn sooner; perhaps he was reminiscing of his time with the brand that, at the time, was about to come to its conclusion. Whatever prompted it, his comment that “time takes it time” really struck a chord with me. Innovation and breakthroughs are the things that elevate a brand. But for one to survive for nearly two centuries, taking the time—to do things properly, to preserve ones history—is paramount. And indeed, Longines knows how to take its time.