Longines Watches: Reviews, History, News, and More

Longines Watches History

There are only a handful of Swiss brands with as storied or diverse of a line-up as Longines. Having established their roots in Saint Imier in 1832, they were among the first of the major houses to set up a factory to produce all components under a single roof.  For what it’s worth, they’ve also earned bragging rights as Switzerland’s oldest trademarked logo. With an early foothold with resources and capabilities for mass-production, they were a key supplier for military and science-related applications during the early twentieth century.

More impressive, however, was their contributions to the watch world as reputably the finest producer of early in-house movement chronographs, with their release of the 13ZN caliber in 1936, followed by the 30CH in 1947.  To seasoned collectors, these movements are among the most sought-after grails one could hope to include in their watch box.

At the forefront of Longines’ early interests were ties to aviation.  As early as 1923, Longines was the “official watch for keeping world aviation records,” and as such, many different models found their way to the wrists of pioneers seeking to trump each others’ feats for distance traveled.  Their most memorable releases were the “Lindberg” and “Weems,” (directly inspired by their pilot namesakes), models that continue to be produced to this day.

Probably the most remarkable point of attraction to Longines’ current collection is their Heritage line, an opportunity to own homages from their varied archives of yesteryear. Also impressive is their commitment to customer support and record keeping, an opportunity to verify the origins of any serialized timepiece you might own today.

Are Longines Watches Good Quality?

Longines are among the finest watches you can own today without breaking the bank.  All of their crystals produced are sapphire and movements are commonly decorated with perlage or geneve stripe finishing.  Details such as the hands are genuinely blued and even the quartz options include additional engineering for time-keeping with their V.H.P. (very high precision) take on performance.  Universally understood as more complicated to produce, many of their chronograph movements are column-wheel based, a deliberate point of engineering that’s considered to be “higher grade” in manufacturing.

While the Swatch Group strategically places them as “Tier III,” below Omega but above Tissot, they would be right at home on the wrist of an English equestrian fanatic without feeling like they’re attempting to be something they’re not.

How Much Do Longines Watches Cost?

While the majority of their watches cost less than $2,000, their current offerings range between $1,300 and $6,500 MSRP.  For this reason, along with their painstaking efforts to be marketed as “elegant,” many would consider them “accessible luxury.”  However, reaching back to their earlier in-house chronographs from the forties could mean prices will above the $7k mark.

Do Longines watches Hold Their Value?

There are but few watch brands that “hold value” long enough to be considered points of investment. Thankfully, in Longines’ favor is a massive catalog for inspiration from which they’re able to reproduce models that are very unique in character today. If one could not afford an original diver from the sixties, they’ll turn to their homages today and can expect those numbers to hover in value after a 20% drop. Limited releases tend to command higher premiums for a greater length of time. As with Rolex, sport models considered unique in character will likely be the most collectible for Longines in the future.

Is Longines A Luxury Brand?

A lot can change in corporate restructuring. Whereas it may have once been unanimously understood that Longines was considered the highest standard for manufacture timekeeping, their reputation has pivoted over the last half century.

Today, Longines’ marketing campaign is built on the slogan, “Elegance is an attitude.”  Everything about this “on the nose” attempt to be seen suggests a perception of high class association. Their sponsored events are classic and “top hat” by nature: Equestrian sports, Archery, Tennis, and Alpine Skiing. Categories omitted are contact sports, automotive racing, or “tool watch application.”

It’s a perception that suggests that you don’t need to be wealthy to own a Longines watch, however owning one could be a lifestyle statement that fits the bill.  An easier way to say this could be “affordable luxury,” and there’s nothing wrong with that.

If scale of luxury were dictated by several concepts, (materials used, uniqueness of design, and how the brand image is managed) consider the following:

  • Many of Longines’ cases are offered in 18k solid gold options, however the vast majority of them are gold-plated.
  • Many of their movements may be unique modifications within Swatch’s ETA line-up, but none are technically in-house.
  • When an AD goes out of business, among the first brands to be discounted will be Longines because the company imposes less strict standards to flex on pricing.

Let’s pretend for a moment that quartz were not an option and your only choices were established brands based out of Switzerland.  If Hamilton were considered the baseline for satisfying mechanics in a watch of quality build, Longines would be the next step up (and sometimes a very large step). You’ll never see quadruple retrograde or single push-piece chronograph complications alongside a Khaki Field. Nonetheless, Swatch group has deliberately placed Omega, Blancpain, and Breguet as their top tier price points. Unless you choose to introduce categories of “Haute Horology,” it would probably be most fair to categorize Longines as “top-notch, entry-entry level luxury” at best.

Most Important Collections: Conquest Collection, Heritage Collection, Master Collection

Podcast Episodes Featuring Longines Watches

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