Longines

Owner of the world’s old­est watch­mak­ing trade­mark and cre­ator of the chrono­graph, Longines is famed for its com­mit­ment to pre­ci­sion, beauty and horse-based sport­ing events.

Identity - - ICON - TEXT: MAX TUT­TLE

The Longines name turns 185 this year, and is more promi­nently than ever sup­port­ing some of the world’s most pres­ti­gious sports con­tests, from ski­ing to horse rac­ing.

The com­pany’s story is even older. It was 1832 when Au­guste Agas­siz set up his com­pany in Saint-Imier, Switzer­land. Since then, Longines and its pre­de­ces­sors have pro­duced 30 mil­lion watches, most bear­ing its fa­mous logo.

First used in 1867, and patented in 1889, the Longines ‘ Winged Hour­glass’ sym­bol is the old­est trade­mark or logo still in use in its orig­i­nal form that’s reg­is­tered with the World In­tel­lec­tual Prop­erty Or­ga­ni­za­tion (WIPO).

The com­pany has also pro­duced many dis­tinc­tive and dar­ing watches, in­clud­ing the world’s first LCD model and the Feuille d’Or of 1979 – at just 1.98mm thick, the thinnest quartz watch.

Innovation has al­ways been part of the com­pany’s his­tory: when Ernest Fran­cil­lon, the nephew of Agas­siz, took re­spon­si­bil­ity for run­ning Longines, he moved from the pre­vail­ing ‘piece­meal’ method of watch pro­duc­tion to an ‘al­lun­der-one-roof’ fac­tory sys­tem.

The plots of land he bought were known as Les Longines (‘the long mead­ows’), pro­vid­ing the new com­pany with not only a site for its new pro­duc­tion fa­cil­ity, but also its name.

In 1888 Longines en­tered the do­main of high-pre­ci­sion time­keep­ing with its first cer­ti­fied chronome­ter, and in 1913 made his­tory with the beau­ti­ful­lyengi­neered 13.33Z chrono­graph.

Ever since, the com­pany has been in­trin­si­cally linked with sports – most no­tably, since 1926, with eques­trian com­pe­ti­tion, giv­ing it a par­tic­u­larly strong con­nec­tion to the UAE. In­deed, the brand’s old­est known ad­verts that fea­tured its iconic logo, from 1881, were related to horse rac­ing. To­day, it is the of­fi­cial part­ner and of­fi­cial watch of the Emi­rates Longines Show Jump­ing League in the UAE, and is Of­fi­cial Time­keeper of Mey­dan Group, which in­cludes pre­sent­ing the Longines Dubai Sheema Clas­sic at the Dubai World Cup.

In 2014, Longines com­bined two of its key pas­sions, and cel­e­brated the Chi­nese Year of the Horse, by launch­ing the Eques­trian Lépine, a rose gold pocket watch with a back adorned with a horse jump­ing an ob­sta­cle. Its in­spi­ra­tion? The Lépine pocket watch from 1927, which lives at the Longines Mu­seum in the com­pany’s home town of Saint-Imier.

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