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longines

Longines

Longines is a luxury watches house based in Saint-Imier, Switzerland. Founded by Auguste Agassiz in 1832, the company is owned by the Swatch Group. Its winged hourglass logo is the oldest registered for a watchmaker.

Longines is known for its 'Aviators' watches. A company director was a friend of Charles Lindbergh; after his transatlantic flight, Lindbergh designed a pilot watch to help with air navigation. Built to his specifications, it is still produced today.

Longines provided timers used at the first modern day Olympics in 1892. In 1899, Longines went to the North Pole with Arctic explorer Louis Amédée de Savoie. It was the first to use automatic timekeeping for the Federal Gymnastics, at Basel in 1912. Today, Longines remains a widely recognized name in sport watches and chronographs.

Based in Saint-Imier since 1832, the Compagnie des MontresLonginesFrancillon S.A. was among the world's leading watch companies. In 2007, Longines had its 175th anniversary. The brand evolved from a comptoir to a full-fledged manufacturing operation and then back down to an établisseur today, since the early 1980s, as a Swatch Group company.

The Longines' story began in 1832, when Auguste Agassiz, brother of naturalist Louis Agassiz, found a job in the hamlet of Saint-Imier, joining ComptoirHorlogerRaiguelJeune (a trader of watch parts), in 1833 taking over the business when he and two of his associates set up a company named ComptoirRaiguelJeue & Cie. The venture was run on the then-prevailing business model based on piecework by people making or processing watch parts in their own homes for the account of a jobber who delivered the blanks, or rough parts, and picked up and paid for the finished ones. The company soon found ways to market its timepieces in distant markets, not least in the Americas

Les Longines

In 1866, Francillon purchased two adjoining plots of land at a place locally known as Les Longines (meaning "the long meadows" in the local dialect) on the right bank of the River Suze in the Saint-Imier valley. Here he built a factory, to gather the entire production under one roof. By 1867, Francillon had convinced some of his pieceworkers to transfer their activities to his newly built factory and hired a young kinsman, the engineer Jacques David, to help him devise the tools and machines which he needed to improve the manufacturing processes. Jacques David was able to mechanize much of the process of watchmaking.

ManufactureLongines

The first in-house Longines movement was created in 1867. The same year Ernest Francillon returned from the World's Fair in Paris with a bronze medal for this watch. From the 1870s on, Longines' industrial options proved judicious and the company grew steadily until the first third of the 20th century. The buildings themselves regularly had to be adapted to the needs of a flourishing enterprise which, by 1911, employed over 1,100 people and sold its timepieces worldwide.

In 1880, on 19 July, the Longines brand and logo were registered at the Swiss Federal Office of Intellectual Property, now the World Intellectual Property Organization. The company had by 1867 already adopted its Winged Hourglass symbol both as a mark of quality and as a defence against counterfeiting.

In the 1970s Longines experienced a breakthroughin development and production. In 1972, Longines was the first world watch maker to introduce a LCD-display watch on the consumer market. There were advances in performance of the watches and their appearance continued to change. In 1980s there were a series of ultra-thin designs following another world record of Longines in 1979 - the thinnestquartz watch called the Feuille d'Or - it was just 1.98 mm thick.

In 1984 Longines introduced the Conquest VHP (Very High Precision) caliber - the first thermocompensated quartz movement. It set new accuracy standards with a variance of only +/-12 seconds a year. Thermocompensation uses a highly sensitive thermometer to measure surrounding temperatures and slightly adjust the frequency of the quartz oscillator to compensate for adverse effects on timekeeping caused by temperature fluctuation.

On 19 February 2001 Longines produced the 30 millionth watch at their factory. In 2002 the brand celebrated the 170th year of the flying hourglass logo.

Longines gradually built a special relationship with the world of sport. Present in Athens in 1896, the company has been closely associated with the worldwide development of sport, timing Olympic Games fourteen times, beginning with Oslo in 1952. Its partnership drove the company to devise a variety of inventions and developments enabling it to determine and display winning times.

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Equestrian sports

In 1952, its Photogines was the first device to visualize the finish line as it measured times. By 1960, the Contifort combined moving images and timing functions. These and other inventive developments contributed to Longines' sporting credentials. Longines started equestrian timekeeping in 1926 at the ConcoursHippique International in Geneva. It has since then officiated at more than one hundred national and international show-jumping competitions in Europe and in North America, providing timing services at competitions including World Championships, European Championships, and Olympic Games along with many CSIO meets as well as, more recently, Arab League competitions.

Gymnastics

After the great success of wristwatches at the beginning of the 20th century, the Longines factory underwent a massive reorganization of methods of production during the 1920s and 30s. In 1912 Longines began a close partnership with gymnastics as the official timekeeper for the 1912 Swiss Federal Gymnastics Meet in Basel. The result of this partnership was the introduction of automatic timing. In 1912 at the Swiss Federal Gymnastics Meet, it introduced the "broken wire" automatic timing system.

Formula One racing

Longines' mastery of advanced technologiesmoved it also to approach Formula One racing, an experience that ultimately led to a partnership with Ferrari of Italy.

Skiing

Longines started in skiing in 1933, and returned to it in 2006, becoming official timekeeper for the FIS's 2006-2007 Alpine World Cup competitions.

Tennis

Longines has been the official timekeeper and partner of the French Open since 2007, as well as the Kremlin Cup and the Japan Open Tennis Championships since 2009. Former world ATP No. 1 Andre Agassi and WTA No. 1 Steffi Graf were named "Ambassadors of Elegance" in 2008and Longines has been a longtime partner and sponsor of Agassi's Foundation for Education and Children for Tomorrow. In 2010, the brand has announced its U.S. and global tennis program aimed at supporting and developing junior athletes.

Tour de France

In addition to the Olympic Games, Longines has timed 31 Tours de France.

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