Many people are familiar with Swiss watches and some even own or use them. They have a reputation for being exquisite, functional, and high-quality. Swiss watches are also one of the most expensive items that you could buy, with the cheapest Swiss watch going at around a thousand dollars and with the most expensive being sold at millions of dollars. Some of the most popular Swiss watch brands in the world include Rolex, Omega, Patek Philippe, and Longines.
But many people who are not familiar with watches may not know that Longines is a Swiss watch brand. But the brand is one of the oldest watch brands in the world, established years or even decades before the foundation of Rolex, Omega, and Tissot. This article will delve into the facts about the brand that you should know.
1. Albert Einstein Once Owned Two Longines Watches
Many luxury watch brands tap into celebrities for endorsements, and Longines is no exception to that. Renowned Australian actor Simon Baker and award-winning British actress Kate Winslet became ambassadors for the brand. And Aubrey Hepburn was also known for wearing the Longines Dolce Vita, one of the brand’s most popular and classic watches. But more than being endorsed by very popular celebrities both in the past and present, Longines watch is proud to adorn the wrist of history’s most prominent genius: Albert Einstein.
Now for most people and even for some watch enthusiasts, the German theoretical physicist who became famous for his theories on general and special relativity may not look like a lover of exquisite timepieces. But Albert Einstein owned three watches in his lifetime, and two of them are made by the brand! The first watch that Albert Einstein used was a gift from a rabbi who gave the timepiece to Einstein in 1931. The tonneau-shaped watch, made with 18-karat yellow gold, was engraved with the words “Prof. Albert Einstein, Los Angeles, Feb. 16, 1931.” Albert Einstein was also once seen wearing this Longines wristwatch, and a photo was taken to prove it.
The second watch from the brand that Albert Einstein once had was a silver-colored pocket watch, which constantly changed hands after Einstein’s death before finally finding a home at the Historisches Museum in Bern, Switzerland, where the pocket watch has been on display ever since. Einstein once gave his Longines pocket watch to his elder son, Hans Albert. Elizabeth Einstein Roboz, Hans Albert’s widow, then gave the timepiece to a Swiss diplomat as a thank-you gift for his services in memory of Albert Einstein. The Swiss diplomat, Henry E. Bovay then donated the pocket watch to the Historisches Museum and stayed there ever since.
2. The Brand Was Named After A Location
Many luxury watch and jewelry brands in Switzerland and elsewhere are usually named after the people who established them. For instance, Tissot was named after Charles-Félicien Tissot and his son Charles-Émile Tissot, who founded the company in 1853. Cartier was named after Louis-François Cartier in 1947. The brand is an exception to this, as it was named after a location in the Jura region of Switzerland. Before having its iconic name, the brand was used to be called “Raiguel Jeune & Cie” due to Auguste Agassiz’s partnership with two layers, namely Henri Raiguel and Florian Morel. Auguste Agassiz, as many watch nerds may have known, was the founder of Longines and became the sole head of the watch company until he suffered from illness. This prompted him to entrust his watch company to his nephew, Ernest Francillon.
A bright and trained economist, Francillion helped create the innovations that the brand would soon be known for, which would include its brand name. While Auguste Agassiz helped the company grow through his partnership with several contacts in the United States, Francillon helped the company reach greater heights by first producing a crown-wound pocket watch that would distinguish the company from its competitors and then allowing the firm to adopt mass-production methods. When it opened its first factory in an area within southern Saint-Imier in 1867, this area was known by the locals as “Les Longines” or long meadows in French. The company soon adopted this name, and the brand name “Longines” was born. The brand’s thirst for innovation would not stop there, as the watch company created its first in-house movement in the same year when the brand inaugurated its first company. While the company would soon be acquired by the larger Swatch Group, the company never left its birthplace and it remains headquartered in Saint-Imier to this day.
3. The Brand Keeps Records of All Watches It Ever Sold
The company is proud of its long and colorful history as a Swiss watch manufacturer, and the company opened the Longines Museum in Saint-Imier, which was renovated and restructured in 2012. This museum houses everything related to the brand, from the watch models and instruments that the company has created to the posters and images for the brand’s advertisements. There is an entire room in the Longines Museum where you could see all of the past and present advertisements that the brand has launched as well as testimonials from the celebrities that used and currently use the brand. The Longines Museum has many other interesting parts including a secret room that only authorized people could access, but the most fascinating thing about this museum is that it houses around 800 written records that the brand created and kept from the years 1867 and 1969.
These records contain logs and other important information about every timepiece that the company has sold for almost 100 years. Nowadays, these documents are used to provide more information to antique watch users and collectors about the history of the watches they own. But more than giving interesting details about old Longines watches, these records are also a testament to how proud the brand is in its elegant and timeless Swiss watchmaking traditions.
Should You Buy A Longines Watch?
Longines watches are both cheap and expensive, depending on who you ask. For ordinary people, these watches are expensive as the cheapest timepiece from this company goes at around 500 USD. But for watch collectors and enthusiasts who are used to seeing high prices from other watch brands like Rolex and Omega, Longines watches are relatively cheap and are considered to be entry-level luxury watches. But every watch from the brand holds a long history of elegant and high-quality watchmaking that the company has been known for since its foundation more than a hundred years ago. The brand is also the fifth most recognizable Swiss watch brand in the world, and these factors make Longines watches worth buying especially if you are looking to buy a durable, useful, and elegant wristwatch from a manufacturer with a long history of fine craftsmanship.