Longines is renowned in the luxury watch industry for excellent timepiece accuracy and high-quality craftsmanship. Here's what you should know before you buy.
A brief history of Longines Watches
Derived from the Swiss Les Longines meaning long meadows, Longines pays homage to the first factory site built in Switzerland in 1867 to manufacture the luxury watches we know today.
The Longines brand started in 1832 when Auguste Agassiz and his two partners established the Saint-Imier establishment to make and sell pocket watches. After becoming head of the company and the watches finding success in the United States, Agassiz took on his nephew, Ernest Francillon, to run the company. Here, Francillon worked on ways to improve the manufacturing methods in watchmaking.
While under Agassiz, the brand used common procedures used in watchmaking whereby watchmakers would work at home and supply their products to the trading offices. However, Francillon wondered about how the industrial revolution would impact the manufacturing process so he decided to take all the different stages of watchmaking and bring them all under one roof.
To achieve this, Francillon bought two adjoining pieces of land in 1866 and built his factory which was completed a year later. The factory was built on the bank of the River Suze, known locally as Les Longines', meaning long meadows, and so Francillon adopted this name for his factory.
Francillon then took on Jacques David who helped develop the machines required for perfecting watch manufacturing. Because of his innovation and industrial thinking, Francillion continually expanded the factory until the early 20th Century.
The research into technology at Longines rewarded them with various prizes, the first of which was awarded at the Universal Exhibition in Paris in 1867 for its first pocket watch product - the 20A. Throughout the brand's history, technical research has allowed Longines to produce high-precision timekeeping and quality manufacturing.
Due to its precise timekeeping reputation, Longines is the official timekeeper in many sports, including equestrian, horse-racing, Formula 1, alpine skiing competitions and gymnastic competitions. To this day, Longines continues to be a reliable and precise timekeeping brand, not only for sports but for all the masses.
Who owns the Longines brand today?
Longines has been a subsidiary of the Swiss Swatch Group, formerly Socit Suisse de Microlectronique et d'Horlogerie (SMH), since 1983. Founded by Nicholas G Hayek, the Swiss Swatch Group is the world watchmaking leader, with other brands such as ETA, Omega, Harry Winston, Hamilton and more under the company.
The current president of Longines is Matthias Breschan who has previously worked for the Swatch Group sister brands, Hamilton and Rado, for a number of years.
Where are Longines items produced now?
Longines watches are still being made in Switzerland, St-Imier, where they were first produced and have remained there since. They are the only watchmaker to have stayed in their original hometown to this day.
What is in the Longines range?
Longines continues to produce one of the most precise timekeeping watches in the world, but their range also includes sunglasses and straps for watches. The Longines tradition of keeping to quality is evident with their ability to provide original straps for watches so you can keep the authentic look of your watch or you can customise it to your preference.
In 2019, Longines began designing, producing and distributing the new optical and sun eyewear range for men and women. This new range embodies the brand's aesthetic and technological know-how to provide exquisite products. The optical and sunglasses range was developed in compliance with the strictest quality requirements and meticulous attention to detail, much like the production of its watches.
Where can I buy Longines products?
Longines products are widely available both online and in-store“ thanks to the company's selected network of retailers. You can find approved retailers in your country that sell authentic Longines products on their websites. Select countries can also purchase from Longines' online stores. At Chisholm Hunter, we stock a wide range of official Longines products including the high-performance HydroConquest for professional divers; the exquisite La Grande Classique collection; the classically authentic Master collection and the impeccable design of the Spirit watches.
How much do Longines products cost?
As with any luxury watch line, prices are on the higher end however, in relation to the rest of the watch industry, Longine places itself as a more attainable and affordable luxury brand compared to its pricier competitors.
Many high street retailers will have Longines products starting from around the £600 mark for the Conquest or La Grande Classique collections and up to several thousands of pounds for collections with more advanced technology and design.
The technical precision and high-quality build of Longines watches coupled with its devotion to tradition and research have helped place the company as the successful luxury brand it is today.
How can I tell if a Longines product is genuine?
Many Longines watches have very small numbers and markings printed on the dial below the number 6. These small markings show the movement number and plate number, which you'll need a magnifying glass to see. Counterfeit Longines watches usually don't have these markings but the ones that do are often done improperly, with defects and have more scratches on the dial surface.
Another way to find out if your Longines watch is genuine is to check the back of the watch case. A genuine Longines watch will be engraved with the watch brand name, the name of the country the watch was manufactured in and special trademark patterns for the watch brand. An authentic Longines watch case is fine and exquisite with a high finish and consistent assembly. A counterfeit watch will have a rough and imprecise watch case. Usually, letters are engraved on the open position of the case to show the amount of gold plating but counterfeit products will not have this mark. You can also check for the authenticity of your watch by going directly to Longines. Since 1867, Longines has kept a record of every single serial number of its watches so you can receive detailed information about your watch and a certificate of authenticity if it is genuine. Longines serial numbers are found engraved on the back of the watch case and are 5 to 8 digits long. In some cases, the serial number may be found on the movement or inside the watch so you may have to remove the case to see it.
Where can I get my Longines watch appraised?
If you'd like to get an appraisal of your Longines products then look for a local jeweller or watchmaker who offers a valuation service.
Older pieces that are in excellent condition will hold their value the best and holding on to pieces that have complicated mechanical workings will give you the highest resale price.
How do I wear my Longines watch?
The beauty of the Longines collection is that a single watch is enough to lift any outfit. Each of the Longines collections will match the occasion, day and outfit. For formal events, many of the Longines collections provide the simple, minimalistic and elegant watch you need to match your outfit.
For casual wearing, you can wear a watch from any of the collections and match it to your outfit, ensuring your arms have the right amount of luxury with elegant dials, gold or silver accents and a classic strap to elevate your look.
How to clean a Longines watch?
Longines watches have been designed to be durable but once in a while, they can require some cleaning to maintain their sharp and elegant look. It's recommended to use a toothbrush and soapy water to clean the metal bracelets and waterproof casings. Then, rinse with clean water and dry with a soft cloth. Your Longines watch should be looking as good as new.
Think a Longines watch could be for you? Take a look at their collection here today.
Introducing the Blancpain Fifty Fathoms 70th Anniversary Act 3 Limited Edition mens watch 5901 5630 NANA, a timepiece that embodies innovation and craftsmanship. Inspired by the famous line from Shakespeare’s The Tempest spoke by spirit Ariel in Act 1, “Full fathom and five thy father lies.” The watch is based on an old favourite from 1957, a military specifications model used by the US Navy and made by Blancpain for its divers. In this article, we’ll delve into the key features of Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Act 3 watch, highlighting its commitment to excellence and innovation.
Jean-Jacques Fiechter, co-CEO of Blancpain, had developed a keen interest in diving and archaeology in his teens when he learnt about WWII divers protecting boats from mines. He took up diving as a hobby while leading Blancpain, during this time he had a near-death experience where he ran out of air and made an emergency ascent. It was this incident that inspired him to create a timepiece that would also act as a diving instrument. He began developing a watch with a diving scale that would not be accidentally turned during manoeuvres, water-resistant to fifty fathoms, self-winding, and with great legibility.
Jean-Jacques Fiechter on a dive.
Innovation and Adancement
The Fifty Fathoms has been the standard for diving watches since Fiechter's invention, at a time where amateur diving was in its infancy. It stands as a well-established watch among collectors and divers, however 20 years ago Blancpain was reviving from the Quartz Crisis and was focusing on developing high complications in its classic timepieces.
Marc A Hayek, current President of Blancpain, took over from Jean-Claude Biver in 2002, a year later the 50th anniversary of the Fifty Fathoms was occurring. He saw this as an opportunity to renew the Fifty Fathoms as a full collection, as an avid diver himself he drove the development with passion. 20 years later, we’re looking at the third limited edition watch for The Fifty Fathoms’ 70th anniversary.
Drawing inspiration from the 1957 MIL-SPEC, this model incorporates a sizeable circular moisture indicator, guaranteeing the watch’s water resistance integrity after prior use, thereby ensuring its safety for subsequent dives. In line with the pioneering innovations of its diving predecessor in Act III, several enhancements have been made, notably the further refinement of the diving bezel’s racheting mechanism. This improvement ensures that there is no adjustment when turning the bezel in either direction, maintaining a consistently smooth rotation.
This timepiece will excite and thrill diving watch fanatics, powered by the Calibre 1154.P2, a no-date version of the 1150 movement. The 1154 movement, previously featured in Blancpain’s limited editions, boasts a 100-hour power reserve. It operates with oscillating weight, adhering to Blancpain’s traditional rotor design, albeit modified with a cut-out to enhance shock resistance in the winding system – resembling an anchor. The recent enhancement involves the incorporation of a silicon balance spring, enhancing the movements magnetic resistance to an impressive 1,000 gauss, a notable upgrade for the watch.
For the first time ever in a Fifty Fathoms and Blancpain watch, it comes in a 9K Bronze Gold alloy. Mixing gold, copper (50%, so it can be called “bronze”), silver, palladium, and gallium. Simultaneously initiated in the metallurgy department of both brands, the creation of this material involved a collaborative effort. The inclusion of 37.5% gold (marked as 9K) serves as a stabilizing agent for the bronze, effectively averting irregular oxidation and fostering an aged patina reminiscent of vintage gold watches. The subtle golden tint preserves the precious metal’s warmth and appears striking in a brushed, matte texture. Notably, the case measures 13.3mm in thickness.
Variances are present in the lugs, not immediately discernible to the observer. Blancpain's choice to incorporate sharply angled lugs for the first time in the Fifty Fathoms marks a departure from the previously employed rounded ones. As this marks the inaugural use, it prompts speculation regarding whether this style will become the standard for upcoming models. Delievered in Blancpain's iconic presentation packaging, this limited edition watch is truly a collector's item. Each timepiece is accompanied by a certificate of authenticity, ensuring that you are investing in a genuine and high-quality product.
Key Specifications of the Blancpain Fifty Fathoms 70th Anniversary Watch
- Case Material: Bronze-gold
- Case Width: 41.3mm
- Case Depth: 13.3mm
- Display Type: Analogue
- Water Resistance: 300 meters
- Closing Mechanism: Pin Buckle
- Bracelet: NATO fabric strap
- Glass Type: Sapphire Crystal
- Guarantee: Official Blancpain 2 Year Warranty
- Movement: Automatic
In conclusion, the Blancpain Fifty Fathoms 70th Anniversary Act 3 Limited Edition 5901 5630 NANA is more than just a watch. It is a testament to Blancpain’s commitment to excellence and innovation. Embrace timeless elegance and immerse yourself in the world of luxury with this remarkable timepiece. Discover this watch at Chisholm Hunter.
Think Blancpain Fifty Fathoms could be the one for you? Take a look at our collection here today!