Longines was founded in 1832 under the name Raiguel Jeune. It began as a small watch assembly workshop in Saint-Imier, Switzerland, but in 1867, the business established a new workshop for serial movement production. It was then that the company adopted the name Longines, which roughly translates to “the long meadows.”
The brand gained notoriety for their pilot’s chronographs in the early 20th century. The Hour Angle Watch, for example, helped Charles Lindbergh calculate longitude during his famous transatlantic flight from New York to Paris.
The 13ZN chronograph came along in 1936. This timepiece is widely regarded as housing one of the greatest chronograph movements ever produced. Today, the brand belongs to the Swatch Group. They are famous for their links to equestrian events and their accessibly-priced mechanical watches that often draw inspiration from the brand’s rich archives.
Longines Models: Luxury or Not?
High-end collectors prize Longines 13ZN chronographs, which command increasingly high prices at auction. The average watch fan will recognize the brand for their sports watches like the Longines Conquest and Longines HydroConquest or their more historical models like the Big Eye chronograph, Lindbergh Hour Angle, Legend Diver, or Heritage 1945 – to name a few. The good thing is that all of these iconic watches are still available on Chrono24 for less than $1,000.
In terms of price, you can get good value for your money with Longines. The brand has an extensive library of models powered by reliable movements from ETA, another member of the Swatch Group. Most Longines watches sell for between $1,000 and $4,000, though more prestigious vintage examples like their Art Deco watches or 13ZN chronographs can reach five figures at auction.
Longines: Brand Perception
Longines is a great place to start if you’re new to watch collecting and have a few thousand dollars to spend. Whether you’re looking for a dress watch, military watch, chronograph, or diver, Longines has a timepiece with inspired design and a solid movement for you. Longines is also an easy way to get into the vintage market with almost a century’s worth of models available. Plus, their Heritage timepieces are some of the most handsome modern watches in their price range.
Perhaps the leading expert on Patek Philippe in the Western Hemisphere, John Reardon wore a Longines before he wore a Patek, and John Goldberger, one of the world’s most highly-regarded collectors, wrote a whole book on vintage Longines. If you want a dependable watch and have a soft spot for times gone by, Longines is worth a look.