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.
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.