Making History: 190 Years of Longines Watches
SHARP & Maison Birks + Longines
After almost two centuries of doing anything, you’re bound to get good at it. Such is the case for Swiss watchmaker Longines, which celebrates its 190th birthday this year. The brand, founded in 1832, has been responsible for some of the biggest breakthroughs in timekeeping in watchmaking history, such as developing the first system of electromechanical sports timing for starting and finish lines, the first stopwatch capable of measuring a tenth of a second in 1914, and two years later the first stopwatch capable of measuring a hundredth of a second.
For CEO Matthias Breschan, this rich history — particularly when it comes to horological innovation — is at the heart of the continued success of Longines.
“It’s almost unbelievable what Longines has invented in these 190 years,” says Breschan, who became CEO of the brand in July of 2020, a few months into the COVID-19 pandemic. “Longines invented GMT movement, Longines invented flyback movement, and of course Longines has had such an advantage when it comes to high-frequency technology. It’s the pioneering spirit of the brand.”
This trailblazing quality and pursuit of precision has made Longines a preferred partner of sporting events across the world for almost a 100 years, ranging from skiing to cycling to Formula 1 — Longines held the role of Official Timekeeper for all Formula 1 races from 1982 to 1992. And since 1962, Longines has been the official partner and timekeeper of the Commonwealth Games, highlighting the ingenuity and accuracy of its timekeeping instruments.
To celebrate this major milestone, the brand has released the Master Collection 190th Anniversary, which triangulates the past, present, and future of Longines. The collection distills the last two centuries into three unique timepieces, the designs of which offer a playful twist on the brand’s unique and understated elegance. “These timepieces perfectly represent the two key pillars of Longines, which are elegance and watchmaking tradition,” explains Breschan.
As vintage watches become more popular — especially among a younger demographic, expanding the interest in watches far beyond a limited community of collectors — Breschan is confident that Longines is poised to capture this new audience, thanks to its history and heritage.
“At Longines, we have a fantastic base on which to build our future,” he says. “We can really cherry-pick our most iconic inventions from the past to develop new products that recall the history of the brand.”
See more Longines watches at MaisonBirks.com