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.
Swatch and Blancpain have just released the sixth watch in the Bioceramic Scuba Fifty Fathoms Collection, introducing OCEAN OF STORMS. This collection celebrates Blancpain’s iconic Fifty Fathoms, a timepiece that revolutionized watchmaking by becoming the first true diver’s watch more than 70 years ago. This new non-limited model is dedicated to Oceanus Procellarum, the biggest lunar mare or “sea” on the moon. Powered by their signature mechanical movement, SISTEM51, it is available worldwide as of January 11 in selected Swatch stores.
Bioceramic Scuba Fifty Fathoms Collection
In September last year, Swatch and Blancpain teased their collaboration with a mysterious AD that sparked intrigue. Sparse two-page spreads of images of water and a remarkably minimal Swatch logo, were strategically placed in the world’s largest newspapers. They released their collaboration watches, the Bioceramic Scuba Fifty Fathoms to mixed reviews. Online there were a lot of discussions about the collab, with a large part being negative. However, this didn’t have a negative impact on sales. Infact, the launch had the knock-on effect of increasing sales of Blancpain watches overall. Now, Swatch and Blancpain have announced the latest in the series, the new Ocean of Storms. This edition is the most faithful recreation of a Fifty Fathoms yet. Like its counter parts, it is inspired by a specific ocean and features a depiction of that ocean alongside a nudibranch on its caseback, but with a twist. Instead of being dedicated to a terrestrial ocean, it shows an image of the Ocean of Storms, which is a region of the moon. The nudibranch is the Okenia Luna, a grey slug that’s a similar colour to the surface of the moon.
Design and Functionality
Regarding the dial, the Bioceramic Scuba Fifty Fathoms Ocean of Storms does everything it possibly can to look like a standard Fifty Fathoms. Featuring a black unidirectional rotating bezel, a black sunray brushed dial and the characteristic 12/3/6/9 numerals interspersed with triangle indexes. It also has the date window positioned in the same place between 4 and 5. However, there are a few differences as it obviously must feature the logos of both brands. While the modern Fifty Fathom’s has a depth rating of 300m/1,000ft, this model only has a depth rating of 91m/300ft. This depth equivalent is in reference to the Fifty Fathoms, which the original Blancpain was specced to and which gave the model its name.
Bioceramic, is simply the name for Swatch’s environmentally friendly plastic. This bioceramic has a thickness of 14.4mm and the watch has a diameter of 42.3mm. Powered by Swatch’s SISTEM51 automatic movement, a mass-produced calibre with a 90-hour power reserve. It stands as a rather polarizing aspect of the item, eliciting scrutiny from numerous collectors regarding it’s qality. However, it marks an advancement from the MoonSwatch’s quartz movement, boasting the unique quality of being both mechanical and accessible, bridging a notable gap in the timepiece landscape.
- Case Diameter: 42.3mm
- Case Material: Bioceramic
- Dial: Black
- Water Resistance: 91m (9.1 bar)
- Movement: Swatch calibre SISTEM51, automatic, 51 parts
- Frequency: 21,600 vph (3 Hz)
- Power Reserve: 90h
- Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, date
- Strap: NATO strap made from recycled fishing nets removed from the sea with Bioceramic pin buckle and loops
- Price: £340, available worldwide from 11/1/2024 (the day of the new moon) at selected Swatch stores
Undoubtedly, it stands as the most remarkable and authentic Scuba Fifty Fathoms to date — arguably a feature that should have taken the spotlight from the beginning. Just as the Mission to the Moon is widely regarded as one of the coolest MoonSwatches, being a sincere homage to the original timepiece, this sentiment reverberates online following its recent launch. The reception was notably more positive than what accompanied the original quintet. Yet, the latest watch doesn't address the primary criticisms of its predecessors, retaining the same robust plastic case and identical movement. This marks another instance of a somewhat mixed success. The Swatch x Blancpain Bioceramic Scuba Fifty Fathoms Ocean of Storms is priced at £340 and is available exclusively from select Swatch boutiques.
Think Blancpain could be the one for you? Take a look at our collection here today!