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Compagnie des Montres Longines, Francillon S.A.
Founded1832; 191 years ago (1832)
FounderAuguste Agassiz
Area served
Key people
RevenueCHF 1.47 billion (2017)
Number of employees
340 (2009)
ParentThe Swatch Group

Compagnie des Montres Longines, Francillon S.A., or simply Longines (French pronunciation: [lɔ̃ʒin]), is a Swiss luxury watchmaker based in Saint-Imier, Switzerland.[1][2] Founded by Auguste Agassiz in 1832, the company has been a subsidiary of the Swiss Swatch Group and its predecessors since 1983.[3][4] Its winged hourglass logo, registered in 1889, is the oldest unchanged active trademark registered with WIPO.[5][6]



Longines was founded in Saint-Imier in 1832 by Auguste Agassiz, a Swiss watchmaker and brother of biologist Louis Agassiz.[3][7] Auguste had two partners, lawyers Henri Raiguel and Florian Morel; the company's original name was Raiguel Jeune & Cie.[8][9] By 1846, Raigeul and Morel had retired from the watch industry, leaving Agassiz as sole company head.[3]

Several years later, Agassiz brought in his bright, enterprising nephew, trained economist Ernest Francillon, into the business.[3] Francillon was the mastermind behind several impressive innovations that would distinguish the company from its competitors. One early stroke of genius from Francillon was to solely produce crown-wound pocket watches rather than the prevalent key-wound alternative. Later, when Agassiz started suffering from ill health, he passed leadership to Francillon.


Under Francillon, the company began segueing out of the établissage system and moved towards more modern production methods. Francillon solidified his firm's progression to mass production in 1867 by establishing his first factory.[3][9] Its location, an area in southern St. Imier known locally as Les Longines ("long meadows"), gave rise to the Longines name. To help further his efforts to improve the production at Longines, Francillon brought on Jacques David, a talented engineer. In addition, Francillon appointed David as Technical Director and put him in charge of the new factory. By 1867, it was also marked the year the Longines factory produced its first in-house watch movement, the 20A. The 20A, built with an anchor escapement (usually employed in pendulum clocks), was wound and set via a pendent crown. The innovative movement won an award at the 1867 Universal Exhibition in Paris.

Several years later, the U.S. watchmaking industry was earning making strides in industrialized watch manufacturing. Francillon sent Jacques David to the 1876 World's Fair in Philadelphia to gather new ideas and strategies from American watchmakers. Upon returning, David wrote a 108-page report detailing what he learned during his trip; the report is considered one of the most significant documents in watchmaking history, detailing the inner workings of American watch factories, including the entire production process, from raw materials to finished watches, and the highly-effective internal structure and quality control measures implemented in American factories. In his analysis, David concluded the Swiss watchmaking industry needed to change significantly to keep pace with its American competitors.

Longines Serial Number 183 "Attesa" date 1867. On 6 November 2018, Longines announced discovery of serial number 183, dated 23 October 1867, currently the Oldest Longines watch known. Its caliber is an August Agassiz 4 (AA4).

Longines was the world's first watch trademark and the first Swiss company to assemble watches under one roof.[10]


In 1878, Longines developed its first chronograph movement, the 20H,[3] a "mono-pusher" chronograph, in which all 3 chronograph functions (start, stop, and reset) were controlled via the crown. With the 20H, Longines could produce stopwatches suitable for precise timing in professional events. This was when Longines began building its reputation in equestrian sports, such as horse racing and jumping.

By 1880, Longines was known for the quality and precision of its timepieces.[9] To Francillon's dismay, the brand became a target for counterfeiters. Longines counterfeits were not only directly stealing business and revenue from Francillon, but also potentially damaging his company's reputation. Francillon trademarked the Longines name in 1880 and its winged hourglass logo in 1889.[3] By 1886, Longines had established itself as a primary supplier of timing equipment for most New York sporting officials.

Notable Longines calibers:

  • Longines 20H pocket chronograph
  • Longines 18.72 pocket chronograph
  • Longines 19.73 pocket chronograph


In 1927, P.V.H. Weems collaborated with Longines to produce the first wrist watch, the Weems Avigation watch. The watch was 47 mm in diameter.

In 1931, Longines collaborated with Charles Lindbergh to introduce the Hour Angle aviation watch.

Longines Weems ref 3931 c.1937 US Naval Academy Annapolis Dial

In 1937, P.V.H. Weems again collaborated with Longines to produce a second, smaller (33mm) Weems avigation watch (reference 3930, 3931, and 4036).

In 1953, Longines deployed the first quartz movement.[11]

In 1954, Longines introduced a timekeeping instrument called Longines Chronocinegines.[12]

Notable Longines calibers:

  • Longines 12.68z time only or wrist watch chronograph
  • Longines 13.33z wrist watch chronograph
  • Longines 13ZN wrist watch chronograph
  • Longines 30CH wrist watch chronograph
  • Longines 37.9 time only
    Longines Seconds Setting Watch. Sidereal Time ref 4356


In 1983, Longines' owner ASUAG merged with SSIH (which owned Omega SA) to form the Société Suisse de Microélectronique et d'Horlogerie (SMH). SMH became The Swatch Group in 1988, and Longines continued without R&D and production activities of its own.[13] In the 1990's, Swatch differentiated and repositioned its various brands in order to better compete in all market segments, with Omega becoming the high-end brand intended to compete with Rolex and Cartier, while Longines was positioned in a less-expensive segment, its watches redesigned as objects of elegance and classicism, emphasizing the historical tradition of manufacture, as opposed to the craft of watchmaking.[14] In 2019, Longines licensed its name and branding to Marcolin for a collection of men's and women's optical frames and sunglasses.[15]

Automatic watch with day of the week, GMT, date and small seconds
Longines Master Retrograde Small Seconds

Intellectual property and marketing[edit]

Longines began using the slogan "Elegance is an Attitude" in 1999. Their previous slogan, "The World's Most Honoured Watch" was used for most of the 20th century.[16][17]

The Longines Logo is the oldest registered trade mark still in use in its original form registered with the World Intellectual Property Organization.


Since Longines developed its first chronograph movement in 1878, the brand has steadily built strong relationships with various sporting organizations, events and teams worldwide. First came horse racing, then additional equestrian sports such as show jumping, endurance riding and eventing (a "triathlon" of dressage, cross-country, jumping).

Today, Longines is designated as official timekeeper, partner, and watch for competitions worldwide including:[18]

Notable patrons and owners[edit]

A Founding Member of State of Israel, Nahum Sokolow
Vice-Admiral Sir James Andrew Gardiner Troup RN British Admiralty Director Naval Intelligence. Supported development of Bletchley Park where Alan Turing broke the Enigma Code.

Notable Longines brand ambassadors and timepieces owners include Humphrey Bogart, Harry Connick Jr., Audrey Hepburn, Dr Nahum Sokolow, Aaron Kwok, Lin Chi-ling, Eddie Peng, Steffi Graf, Andre Agassi, Aishwarya Rai, Kate Winslet, Mikaela Shiffrin, Simon Baker, Jung Woo-sung, Bae Suzy and Jennifer Lawrence.[19][20][21][22][23][24][25]

Notable Longines historical figures include

See also[edit]


  1. ^ In addition to the two timepieces from Longines, Albert Einstein also had a Patek Philippe pocket watch, which he ordered in 1915 (the year he completed his theory of General Relativity) and is now kept in the Patek Philippe Museum in Geneva, and a possibly German-made, unknown-brand pocket watch (circa 1900), which was auctioned by Christie's for GBP 266,500 in London on 13 July 2016.


  1. ^ "Longines - Swatch Group". www.swatchgroup.com. Archived from the original on 2021-11-02. Retrieved 2019-02-04.
  2. ^ "Company Overview of Compagnie des Montres Longines Francillon S.A." www.bloomberg.com. Retrieved 2019-02-04.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g "History of Longines in 1832 - 1832". www.longines.com. Archived from the original on 2021-02-04. Retrieved 2019-01-23.
  4. ^ "History of Longines in 1983 - 1983". www.longines.com. Archived from the original on 2019-02-07. Retrieved 2019-02-04.
  5. ^ "Longines Watch Company: Madrid's Oldest Mark". Archived from the original on 2022-07-01. Retrieved 2022-07-01.
  6. ^ "Longines - A Timeless Logo". fhs.swiss. Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry. October 12, 2009. Archived from the original on 2018-01-23. Retrieved 2018-01-22.
  7. ^ Francillon, André (2005). History of Longines. p. 75. Archived from the original on 2020-03-09. Retrieved 2020-06-04.
  8. ^ "The history of Longines® in 1832". www.longines.com. Archived from the original on 2019-01-24. Retrieved 2019-01-23.
  9. ^ a b c "A History of Longines | Xupes". www.xupes.com. Archived from the original on 2019-01-24. Retrieved 2019-01-23.
  10. ^ Judy, Dean (2002). 100 Years of Vintage Watches: A Collector's Identification and Price Guide. Iola, WI: Krause. p. 170. ISBN 9780873494533.
  11. ^ Judy, Dean (2008). Watches: Warman's Companion. Iola, WI: F+W Media. ISBN 9781440219085. Retrieved 19 October 2023.
  12. ^ Knowles, Arthur; Beech, Graham (2001). The Bluebird Years: Donald Campbell and the Pursuit of Speed. Sigma Leisure. ISBN 9781850587668.
  13. ^ "The History of Quartz Weekend: Part 2 - Longines, the Swiss Enter the Fold". Watchonista. 2018-06-09. Archived from the original on 2020-08-21. Retrieved 2019-01-10.
  14. ^ Donzé, Pierre-Yves (2014). A Business History of the Swatch Group The Rebirth of Swiss Watchmaking and the Globalization of the Luxury Industry. NY: Palgrave Macmillan. p. 69. ISBN 9781137389084. Retrieved 25 September 2023.
  15. ^ Turra, Alessandra (2019-10-08). "Marcolin to Develop Omega and Longines Eyewear Collections". Women's Wear Daily. Archived from the original on 2022-09-03. Retrieved 2022-09-03.
  16. ^ "Longines Ambassadors of Elegance". www.longines.com. Archived from the original on 2018-12-07. Retrieved 2019-01-23.
  17. ^ "Aishwarya Rai Bachchan : Longines Ambassador of Elegance Since 1999 | Longines®". www.longines.co.uk. Archived from the original on 2019-01-24. Retrieved 2019-01-23.
  18. ^ Anthony, Paul. "Longines Watch Brand History - An Enduring Quest For Elegance". bespokeunit.com. Archived from the original on 2019-01-11. Retrieved 2019-01-10.
  19. ^ "Profiles In Time: Humphrey Bogart's Watches". Crown & Caliber Blog. 2017-04-21. Archived from the original on 2020-08-11. Retrieved 2019-01-22.
  20. ^ "Harry Connick Jr - Longines: Ambassador Of Excellence". Federation of the Swiss watch industry FH. Archived from the original on 2019-01-24. Retrieved 2019-01-23.
  21. ^ "Profiles in Time: Audrey Hepburn's Watch". Crown & Caliber Blog. 2018-01-04. Archived from the original on 2020-09-27. Retrieved 2019-01-22.
  22. ^ "Aishwarya Rai Bachchan : Longines Ambassador of Elegance Since 1999". www.longines.com. Archived from the original on 2021-01-14. Retrieved 2019-01-22.
  23. ^ "Kate Winslet : Longines Ambassador of Elegance". www.longines.com. Archived from the original on 2019-01-24. Retrieved 2019-01-24.
  24. ^ "Jung Woo-Sung : Longines Ambassador of Elegance". www.longines.com. Archived from the original on 2022-07-05. Retrieved 2022-07-05.
  25. ^ "Bae Suzy : Longines Ambassador of Elegance". www. longines.com. Archived from the original on 2022-08-24. Retrieved 2022-09-29.
  26. ^ a b "Albert Einstein's Longines watch fetch... - 16/10/2008 | Longines Media Center". mediacenter.longines.com. Archived from the original on 2020-10-25. Retrieved 2019-01-22.
  27. ^ a b "[EINSTEIN, Albert (1879-1955)]". www.christies.com. Archived from the original on 2020-11-27. Retrieved 2019-01-23.
  28. ^ Broer (2005-07-02). "Einstein's Longines on display". Fratello Watches. Archived from the original on 2019-06-03. Retrieved 2019-01-22.
  29. ^ "Profiles in Time: Albert Einstein". Crown & Caliber Blog. 2018-03-22. Archived from the original on 2019-06-10. Retrieved 2019-01-22.
  30. ^ "Unique and Historically Important Longines, No. 4876616, case No. 66968. Made in 1930, presented to Professor Albert Einstein on February 16th, 1931 in Los Angeles". catalog.antiquorum.swiss. Archived from the original on 2019-06-03. Retrieved 2019-01-22.
  31. ^ "Longines gold watch - Albert Einstein | Watch ID". www.watch-id.com. Archived from the original on 2020-11-11. Retrieved 2019-01-28.
  32. ^ Weems, Philip Van Horn (1943). Air navigation. George A. Smathers Libraries University of Florida. New York and London: McGraw-Hill book company, inc.
  33. ^ a b c d e f g h i "WatchTime April 2021 WatchTime". www.watchtime-shop.com. Retrieved 2023-09-29.
  34. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l "The Pioneer Spirit Lives On | Longines". www.longines.com. Retrieved 2023-09-29.
  35. ^ a b c d e f g Bucher, Written byRuediger (2022-03-01). "Ready for Takeoff: The Story of Longines and the Pioneers of Aviation". WatchTime - USA's No.1 Watch Magazine. Retrieved 2023-09-29.
  36. ^ Forster, Jack (September 2, 2015). "In-Depth: The Science, History, And Romance Behind The Longines Lindbergh Hour Angle Watch". Hodinkee. Retrieved 2023-09-29.

Further reading[edit]

  • Donzé, Pierre-Yves. "Dynamics of innovation in the electronic watch industry: a comparative business history of Longines (Switzerland) and Seiko (Japan), 1960-1980." Essays in Economic & Business History 37.1 (2019): 120-145. online

External links[edit]