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A Tradition of Timekeeping: A Timeline of Longines’ Legacy in Sports

Elegance, precision, and accuracy are only some of the ideals that lay at the foundation of the Longines brand. And, appropriately, it is these ideals that have made countless sports organizations turn to the manufacture to play an inarguably important role at events and tournaments, decade after decade. Beginning from the snowy environs of its Saint-Imier workshop, to crossing seas to reach nearly every continent, Longines has served as timekeeper and, more importantly, innovator, in the world of sports for more than a century.

Below, we chronicle the manufacture’s long and storied history as champions of precision in elite athletic competitions.

1832 – Longines is founded in Saint-Imier as a company specializing in creating and selling pocket watches by Auguste Agassiz and partners Henri Raiguel and Florian Morel.

1867 – The manufacture’s factory in Saint-Imier is inaugurated. The company’s first movement, the 20A, is also produced this year; it later goes on to win an award at the Universal Exhibition in Paris.

1878 – Longines produces the 20H calibre, the company’s first chronograph and its first mechanism that can be used for precision timing.

1886 – Longines’ roots in equestrian performance sport begin with supplying New York sports officials with chronographs used for timing races. These models go on to be used by bettors, buyers, riders, and riding schools.

1888 – The manufacture’s first certified chronometer movement, the 21.59 calibre, is created.

1894 – Longines sends two chronographs to St. Moritz for the timekeeping of its skiing and equestrian competitions.

1899 – Prince Luigi Amedeo of Savoie, the Duke of Abruzzi, goes on an Arctic expedition equipped with Longines timepieces, cementing the brand’s association with adventure and exploration.

1908 – Longines wins first prize at the Neuchâtel Observatory’s pocket-chronometers contest for precision.

1912 – The Federal Gymnastics Festival in Basel serves as the setting for the launch of electromechanical sports timing.

1919 – The International Aeronautical Federation names Longines as its official supplier, developing accurate and reliable navigational instruments for aviation.

1924 – The Longines factory provides timekeeping equipment for military ski races in Saint-Imier, marking the company’s first official foray into timing ski events.

1931 – Legendary pilot Charles Lindbergh designs a navigational instrument with Longines, the Lindbergh Hour Angle Watch, which helps pilots calculate their exact geographical location.

1933 – Longines begins a long-standing tradition of timing the annual alpine ski competition organized by the International Ski Federation in Chamonix.

1949 – Longines seeks a patent for the Chronocaméra, which allows for the recording of the start and end of a sports competition, without the need for human intervention.

1954 – The manufacture’s first quartz clock, the Chronocinégines, sets records for accuracy at the Neuchâtel Observatory: with a 16mm camera attached, it allows sports officials to track athletes’ movements as they pass the finish line with images taken every hundredth of a second. The company also launches its iconic Conquest line this year, pioneering the idea of watch families and collections.

1959 – Longines develops the 360, a calibre designed for observatory timing competitions hinged on accuracy. It sets new records for wristwatches at the Neuchâtel Observatory.

1962 – Longines takes on the role of official timekeeper for the Commonwealth Games in Perth, Australia. It’s a position the company took on once again in 2014, in Glasgow, and in 2018, on the Gold Coast.

1964 – British speed record breaker Donald Campbell sets a world time record with the high-speed Bluebird II on Lake Eyre. Longines serves as the timekeeper for this historical event with the aid of the Chronocinégines.

1967 – The Ultra-Chron collection is created, based around a self-winding calibre designed as an alternative to electronics and quartz that are becoming wildly popular with competing brands.

1979 – Longines is officially named the Ferrari Formula 1 racing team’s timekeeper.

1982 – Ultra-thin watches under the banner of the Agassiz line, precursor to the Longines Le Grande Classique collection, are launched. The company also signs technical partnerships with Ferrari’s and Renault’s Formula 1 racing teams, and becomes the official timekeeper of the F1 races for the next decade.

1983 – The manufacture joins the esteemed ranks of the Societe Suisse de Microelectronique et d’Horlogerie, now known as the Swatch Group.

1985 – The International Federation of Gymnastics names Longines as its official timekeeper for all artistic and rhythmic gymnastics events.

1997 – The manufacture launches the Longines DolceVita collection, which becomes a massive seller with younger consumers. The first European Gymnastics Masters are also held, timed by Longines.

1999 – “Elegance is an attitude” becomes the company’s unforgettable slogan, referencing the brand’s ideals and devotion to multi-faceted elegance.

2005 – Longines unveils the Master Collection, a fully-mechanical collection that reinforces the global trend for mechanical movements, and draws from the manufacture’s centuries of heritage and watchmaking tradition.

2007 – Longines signs on as the official timekeeper of the Roland-Garros tournament. The Longines Sport Collection, made up of the HydroConquest, Conquest, GrandeVitesse, and Admiral lines and designed for sportspeople with a preference for an elegant aesthetic, is also launched.

 

2009 – Addressing the market’s gap for pieces designed for feminine wrists, Longines launches the PrimaLuna collection.

2011 – The company lends its name to the Prix de Diane Longines, cementing a partnership with the world of horse racing and such prestigious events as Royal Ascot, the Melbourne Cup Carnival, the Kentucky Derby, and the Dubai World Cup.

2013 – Longines further strengthens its ties to equestrian sport with the signing of a partnership with the International Equestrian Federation, making it the official timekeeper and official watch for the FEI.

2014 – The company draws from its flagship value, elegance, to create the Elegant collection, a series of mechanical watches inspired by various forms and definitions of elegance.

2015 – The Longines Positioning System, game-changing technology which provides data like race rankings, distance, and speed during equestrian events, is unveiled.

2019 – Longines celebrates its 50,000,000th timepiece, which is launched from the iconic Master collection. Each of the manufacture’s numbered watches dating from its inception are chronicled in a unique archival database.

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