Longines can proudly claim its status as one of the oldest Swiss watch brands. Founded in Saint-Imières in 1832, Longines celebrates the brand’s grand 190th anniversary with three commemorative pieces from its master collection. Based on an unusual blend of contemporary matte texture dials and hyper-classical engraved Breguet numerals, the Master Collection trio honors the brand’s past and present with great style. The 190th anniversary of the Longines Master Collection is here.
A brief history of Longines
Since 1832 Longines has been in the air – continuously – to survive this long in any climate depends a lot on innovation and efficiency, and Longines has combined both since its inception. One of the most innovative ideas was to unify all production processes under one roof, rowing against the tide of the établissage system, where individual components are produced by different families and then assembled and sold through a comptoir or trading office. By 1867, Longines had become a leader in mechanical production and produced a 20-line movement known as caliber 20A with an award-winning anchor escapement at the Universal Exhibition in Paris in 1867. Two years later, the 20H caliber chronograph movement was launched, paving the way for the brand’s career in precision timekeeping and becoming an important companion in horse racing – a Longines presence in the equestrian world. Taking home Grand Prix awards at ten world festivals and winning countless observatory chronometry prizes, Longines has also developed the ‘Broken Wire’ sports timing system, inspired by an athlete’s body crossing the finish line; The clock would start or stop when the wire was broken, and in 1912 became the first electromechanical sports timing device.
A wristwatch chronograph with fifth-of-a-second precision appeared in 1913, and in 1919 the brand became the official supplier of the International Aeronautical Federation, which was developing navigation equipment for aviation. Other highlights of the early 20Th The century includes the legendary and patented chronograph caliber 13ZN.
Aviation was the way forward and Longines worked with pilots Horn Weems and Charles A. Lindbergh to develop advanced precision navigational equipment. In 1945, Longines produced its first automatic movement, the caliber 22A, and ten years later developed its first quartz watch for athletic competitions – the Chronosinegins. One of the few brands to embrace quartz, including the world’s thinnest 1.98mm Feuille d’Or wristwatch in 1979, Longines was a natural ally to the exciting world of F1 and was appointed official timekeeper from 1982-1992. Despite its foray into the quartz sector, sales flagged and Longines was bought by Ebauches SA in 1971 and part of the Swatch Group in 1983, abandoning in-house production and relying on the conglomerate’s readily available ETA movements. Aiming to produce affordable luxury watches with the charm and heritage of the brand’s nearly two centuries of history, Longines currently occupies the fifth position in Morgan Stanley’s Top 20 Swiss Watch Company Ranking (2022).
The Master Collection 190th-Anniversary
Following a renewed market preference for mechanical movements in the early 2000s, Longines introduced its Master collection. Easily eye-catching with a selection of classic and more contemporary models, the Master collection offers a wide variety of automatic watches, including straightforward three-hand dress watches introduced in 2018, chronographs, moon faces, power reserves and annual calendars. At that time its type was affordable.
The styling of the latest Longines Master Collection 190th Anniversary models is more on the classic or traditional end of the collection spectrum. Available in three case metals – 18k rose gold, 18k yellow gold and stainless steel – the new watches are a mix of old and new. A contemporary diameter of 40mm is paired with a slim case height of 9.35mm and the surfaces are polished for a more elegant look. Unusual but works very well is the shape of the dial. Using several dials with a contemporary matte and often granular finish, the stainless steel version features a sandblasted silver-coloured dial, a yellow gold brushed gray dial and a pink gold very attractive granular anthracite dial.
Contrasting with the contemporary textures are the classic Breguet numerals that are not applied or painted but etched into the dial. The Arabic numerals on the silver dial make the metal stand out, while the yellow and rose gold feature matches the gold-filled engraved numerals. The effect is very pleasing and works a treat in the rose gold model. Apart from the elegant leaf-shaped hands and the central seconds hand indicating the minute track in the shape of dots on the rim, the only other information on the dial is the vintage Longines brand name at noon and the inscription ‘Automatic’ at 6 o’clock. .
The sapphire caseback reveals the contemporary Longines caliber L888.5 based on the ETA A31.L11 automatic with a frequency of 25,200vph and a power reserve of 72 hours. Used in many Longines models, the self-winding movement is equipped with a silicon balance spring. The rotor, decorated with Côtes de Genève stripes and perlage on the mainplate, offers a view of the cutout representing the wings logo and the engraving of the brand name and the perlage on the plate.
Availability & Price
Three Longines Master Collection 190Th The anniversary models come with an anthracite alligator leather strap and a triple-folding clasp with a push-piece opening mechanism. Both gold models are limited editions of 190 pieces. A non-limited steel model will retail EUR 2,300. The prices of the gold models are yet to be confirmed.
More information at Longines.com.