I do not know about you, but for me, Longines is a brand that has not occupied a lot of space in my watch-related focus. To be sure, I am well aware of the brand, and run across their print ads with some regularity. Today, you might be familiar with their sponsorship in horse racing, or perhaps their aviation history. Let’s take a peek a bit further back, however. Today’s edition of Historical Horology will go back to the start of the Longines brand.
Longines was founded in 1832 by Auguste Agassiz in the Jura region of Switzerland. At the time, that region saw families specializing in particular components, and then another party would assemble the components together into movements. While Agassiz and his partners started off in the component collection business (and then farming things out to be built), they eventually built their own assembly facility, moving away from the common model at the time.
In 1866 the brand was moved to a newly purchased piece of property known as les longines, or, The Long Meadows. Of course, that is where the Longines name comes from. Then, the very next year, the brand decided that it wasn’t going to focus on key wound movements. Instead, they went in the direction of movements wound via the crown (aka, what we all know and love today).
In 1876, Longines investigated what the Americans were doing in terms of industrialization. They came back from that trip with all manner of ideas, and had, by 1880, increased their production capabilities to the point of being able to manufacture everything in-house.
It is from this base that quite a few notable movements have come from, as well as many sports time and aviation-related watches (including some carrying the Lindbergh name). For a more in-depth look at these, as well as the life of the Longines logo and how the brand is integrated with the Swatch Group today, check out this article over at Worn and Wound.