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.
OMEGA has been creating luxurious world-class watches with excellent precision, allowing the brand to be the official timekeeper for NASA and many sporting events.
A Brief History of IWC Watches
OMEGA watches originally started out in Switzerland as a small watch workshop called Louis Brandt & Fil in 1848, run by Louis Brandt. Brandt & Fil was a modest business that sold watches to customers around the world. After 30 years, Brandt passed away and his sons carried on their father’s business.
The brothers created their first mass-produced calibre in 1885, named the Labrador, and designed the first minute-repeating clock in 1892. Two years later, they produced the Omega Caliber which had interchangeable parts. The 19-line movement sent waves in the watchmaking industry and gave the business its name.
Due to its standard-setting commitment to accuracy and precision, OMEGA became the official timekeeper for athletic events throughout Switzerland in 1905. This led to OMEGA being named the official timekeeper for the Olympic Games in Los Angeles in 1932. The partnership has lasted to this day, with OMEGA serving as official timekeepers at almost twenty Olympic games.
In 1940, OMEGA was the single largest supplier of watches for the British armed forces and its allies. The watches had to undergo rigorous tests to prove their reliability and strength on the front lines. With its water-resistent, shockproof and antimagnetic properties, the OMEGA watches proved their worth.
When astronaut Wally Schirra wore an OMEGA Speedmaster on his Mercury Sigma 7 Mission in 1962, it became the first watch to enter space. Just three years later, OMEGA earned NASA’s seal of approval and established the Speedmaster as the official chronograph for American space missions.
1968 saw OMEGA qualifying for the NASA certification for all manned space explorations. Out of four watch brands, OMEGA Speedmaster was the only watch to survive the intense tests. Even to this day, the original Speedmaster is the only watch certified by NASA and other international space agencies. Astronaut Buzz Aldrin wore the OMEGA Speedmaster on his wrist during the first flight to the moon in 1969 and the watch was instrumental in the Apollo 13 mission to bring the astronauts safely home.
In the1990s, the OMEGA Seamaster debuted in James Bond, appearing on the wrist of Pierce Brosnan. Since then, a watch from the Seamaster range has featured in every James Bond movie.
Whether in space, sports or pop culture, OMEGA has maintained its reputation as one of the most reliable, accurate and functional watch brands in the world.
Who owns the OMEGA brand today?
OMEGA is currently a subsidiary of The Swatch Group, the world’s largest watch company. Established in 1983 to resolve the quartz crisis that threatened traditional Swiss watchmaking, The Swatch Group also owns other watch brands such as Longines, Tissot, Mido, Rado, Hamilton and more.
The current President of OMEGA is Raynald Aeschlimann.
Where are OMEGA watches produced now?
OMEGA still produces its watches in Bienne, Switzerland and has recently opened a new production facility. The watches have been produced in Bienne at the same site since 1882. IWC still produces its watches in Switzerland, where the factory is sandwiched between the Rhine river and the old town. In 2018, the company’s newly renovated factory was revealed to make better room for growth and create more space for its machines and facilities.
What is in the OMEGA Range?
OMEGA continues to produce one of the most precise timekeeping watches in the world, but their range also includes accessories and fine jewellery that are an extension of the brand’s devotion to elegance, durability and precision. OMEGA’s accessories include watch straps, cufflinks, bracelets, keyholders, eyewear and fragrance.
OMEGA’s watch range includes Constellation, Seamaster, Speedmaster and De Ville.
Characterised by the unique star symbol at the 6 o’clock position, the OMEGA Constellation range combines mechanical precision in its clock mechanism and exquisite beauty to provide you with elegance to any outfit.
Introduced in 1948, the Seamaster collection has been the go-to watch for divers and military submarines due to its unrivalled functionality and reliability. As the chosen watch for James Bond, the Seamaster earns its reputation for excellence.
As the first watch to be worn on the moon, the OMEGA Speedmaster collection delivers record-breaking precision, reliability and functionality since its arrival in 1957.
With precise technology, the OMEGA De Ville range provides elegance, sophistication and luxury to the wearer. The range, which dates back to 1967, has seen numerous revolutionary improvements over the years, including being the first watch to have the unique OMEGA Co-Axial escapement.
Where can I buy OMEGA products?
OMEGA products are widely available both online and in-store through their own website and selected retail partners. You can find OMEGA stores in your country on their website as well as authorised retailers that sell a range of OMEGA watches.
At Chisholm Hunter, we stock a wide range of official OMEGA watches including the James Bond watch in ‘No Time To Die’; the classicly stylish De Ville watch for ladies; the technologically precise Speedmaster watch; and the elegant and sophisticated Constellation watch.
How much do OMEGA products cost?
As with any luxury watch line, the prices of OMEGA watches are on the pricier end with the cheapest watch costing over £2,000 and the most expensive costing you over £58,000.
While some of these may be a little out of your price range, many high street retailers will have OMEGA watches starting from around the £2,000 mark for the De Ville Prestige range and over £24,000 for collections with advanced technology and design, such as the Seamaster Diver 300M range.
How can I tell if an OMEGA watch is genuine?
Every genuine OMEGA watch has a serial number that is unique to it. If you have a watch from a current collection, your local OMEGA Boutique or service centre can inform you if your model matches the serial number on the watch. Although this does not ensure the watch’s legitimacy, it is a useful indicator.
Genuine OMEGA watches are completely silent. So, if your watch makes a notable ticking sound, it may be fake.
Counterfeit OMEGA calibres are very difficult to duplicate. The Co-Axial escapement wheel, for example, is completely unique to the brand. When the wrong movement is discovered within a watch, it shows that it’s a fake OMEGA watch.
With OMEGA spending considerable time investing in their hand movements, genuine OMEGA watches should have a smooth and seamless ticking motion. If there is a stammering second hand, the watch may not be genuine. When pulling the crown to change the time, you should see the second hand stop on a genuine watch. If it moves, then it might be a fake.
If the watch claims to be a certified Master Chronometer, it means it cannot be affected by magnetic fields. Test this by placing a magnet close to the watch. If the watch works normally, then it is a genuine OMEGA watch but if it stops ticking then you may have a counterfeit on your hands.
Check the authenticity of your watch by going to an authorised OMEGA Boutique. If, upon inspection, your watch is genuine then you can get a Certificate of Authenticity which details information about the authenticity of the watch and its condition.
Where can I get my OMEGA watch appraised?
If you’d like to get an appraisal for your OMEGA watch then look for a local jeweller or watchmaker that offers a valuation service.
If you have an older OMEGA watch, you may want to hold onto it as an early 1957 Speedmaster watch has been sold at an auction for over $3.4 million in 2021. 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 OMEGA watch?
The beauty of OMEGA is that a watch from any of the collections can bring a sense of luxury to your look. Each of the OMEGA collections will match the occasion, day and outfit.
For formal events, match the main colours of our outfit with the dial colours, e.g. wearing this blue dial Speedmaster watch with a blue suit. Utilise your watch as a statement piece by wearing a contrasting colour watch to your outfit, e.g. wearing a silver-plated, white dial De Ville Prestige watch with a black tux. For ladies, you can match your jewellery with the accents of your chosen watch, e.g. wearing this De Ville Prestige watch with your gold jewellery.
For casual wearing, wear a watch from any of the collections and match it to your outfit. Wearing the most iconic OMEGA watches from the Speedmaster range ensures your look will be elegant and classy with the right amount of luxury.
How to clean my OMEGA watch?
OMEGA 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 with soapy tap water to clean metal bracelets and water-resistant cases. Dry with a soft cloth.
IWC watches have been designed to look exquisite but once in a while, they can require some cleaning to maintain their sharp and elegant look.
It’s recommended to use a microfibre cloth to wipe the dial surface, going around the case, lugs, crown and even the back of the watch. Dip the microfibre cloth into some water and clean the dial, but make sure to avoid the straps. Avoid using soap and water as some of the molecules can enter the watch and damage the mechanism.
Think an OMEGA watch could be for you? Take a look at their collection here today.