It is a little known fact that Longines was one of the few brands chosen by NASA in the 1960's to undergo their testing to determine the watch that went into Space.
Omega ultimately succeeded in that endeavour but it is an example of Longines prowess that they were even considered as a contender. Today, though Longines is a hugely successful and international brand, their heritage is often overlooked. Established in 1832 by Auguste Agassiz, the company began by selling pocket watches and gained much traction especially in North america via his family connections. In 1866, his nephew, Ernest Francillon moved the business to an area in St. Imier known as "Les Longines," which laid the basis for the brand name as we know it today. That same year Longines not only developed their first ever in-house movement but also stamped the movements with their logo of an winged hour glass.In 1876, Longine's Technical Director visited the Universal Exhibition in the United States, where his report on the advancements made in America is widely considered to be the catalyst for the industrialisation of the Swis watch industry. This focus led to a flurry of advancements and forward thinking by Longines.
In 1878, they created their first precise chronograph movement, symbolic because of the brands future involvement in many endeavours requiring precise time keeping in the age before quartz and electronic registers. Furthermore, from 1880 to 1893, Longines became the first brand to register their name and logo first with the Federal Office of Intellectual Property and then the international recognised United international Bureaux for the Protection of International Property. This was a world first for any watch Brand thus paving the way for al modern Brands.Working off the success of their movements, Longines has single handedly won more awards at the internationally recognised Grand Prix de Horology than any other company. Two further points of note that cement Longines' fantastic heritage is being named as the official partner to the International Aeronautical Federation in 1919, which led to the creation of the Weems Seconds Setting watch in conjunction with US Navy Officer Philip Van Horn Weems that specifically aided navigation by helping to calculate longitude and latitude. Furthermore, Charles A. Lindbergh's legendary solo flight over the North Atlantic saw Lindbergh directly contribute to Longines' famous Lindbergh Hour Angle watch. At such a time, when the birth of travel by flight and other feats of endeavour were being executed, Longines watches remained a loyal partner for precision time keeping.Over the next century, Longines continued to build on this foundation introducing models such as the Flagship and Conquest lines and even embraced the quartz revolution. In 1983, the brand joined the SMH Group that duly became the Swatch Group. As a power house of Brands, their combined knowledge and network helped to ensure the survival of the Swiss watch industry during very difficult times. Today, Longines is know for their quality watches from simple elegant Dolce Vita models to sport Conquest watches but in their Heritage family lies a nice homage to the watches that began this story. Though Longines is a mass production brand, their histroy is as important if not moreso than more more allegedly prestige companies.Discover the world of Longines watches in-store or contact us directly for further information. New Cavendish Jewellers remains the only independent agent for Longines watches in the W1 area of London.