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The Complete Buying Guide to Longines Watches
From the Legend Diver to the Spirit and beyond.
Welcome to Brand Breakdown, a series of comprehensive yet easy-to-digest guides to your favorite companies, with insights and information you won’t find on the average About page.
Longines is one of the nineteen watch manufacturers that comprise the massive Swatch Group. Located in Saint-Imier, Switzerland, the brand produces luxury watches with a modern internal inventory and part delivery system — it leverages its automation in conjunction with traditional watchmaking to produce nearly two million watches annually.
There are over 1,200 different models in the Longines catalog, though that number does take into account that every strap option or dial color variation results in a different SKU. This number of models available allows Longines to serve the diverse tastes of global markets — the brand achieves an enormous market presence by strategically positioning its watches at a price point within the Swatch Group below Omega and above Tissot.
Longines currently concentrates its sports sponsorships to alpine skiing, archery, and equestrian sports, with brand ambassadors such as Kate Winslet, Mikaela Shiffrin, and Andre Agassi. The combination of high-profile partnerships, the volume of luxury watches produced, and the winged hourglass logo make the Longines brand recognizable around the world.
The history of Longines starts long before a list of mergers leading to the Swatch Group. The Swiss watch manufacturer was founded in 1832, and their breakthrough in watchmaking came in 1878 through developing the first chronograph watch movement, the caliber H20. (The H20 features start, stop, and reset functions controlled by a single monopusher in the crown.) By 1886 Longines was supplying pocket watches with chronograph complications that could be used to time professional-level sporting events, which began their connection with equestrian sports.
Longines began the transition from pocket watches to wristwatches in 1913 with the 29mm reference 13.33Z, a chronograph. In 1919, just post-World War I, Longines was named the official watch supplier to the International Aeronautical Federation as aviation gained popularity. During World War II, the brand was one of twelve companies contracted by the British Ministry of Defense to manufacture the W.W.W. (Watch, Wrist, Waterproof) for British soldiers, which are collectively known today as the "Dirty Dozen." During these early decades of the 20th century, famous Longines wearers included theoretical physicist Albert Einstein, legendary actor Humphrey Bogart, and aviation pioneer Amelia Earhart.
In the 1970s, Longines resisted manufacturing quartz watch movements and instead developed ultra-thin mechanical movements. These thin movements bridged the gap until Longines joined the Societe Suisse de Microelectronique et d’Horlogerie (SMH) in 1983 — the conglomerate that would continue to evolve into the Swatch Group.
Longines maintains detailed numerical records by the serial number of every watch that they have produced, and owners can request “Certificate of Authenticity” and/or an “Extract from the Archives” for detailed information about their timepiece. (This process is detailed on the Longines website.) Interestingly, the brand's winged hourglass logo continues to be the oldest registered trademark in the world that is still being used for its original purpose.
Below, we've included a guide to each model line within the collection as well as several standout models.
The Elegance Collection is the largest and most diverse collection in Longines’ catalog, and is organized into five product lines: La Grande Classique de Longines, Longines PrimaLuna, Longines DolceVita, Présence, Longines Symphonette, Longines Lyre, and Flagship. Elegance focuses on dress watches: Gem-set cases and diamonds abound. But it's about more than classy timepieces — many of Longines’ classic and more versatile designs can be found here.
The Watchmaking Tradition line — which contains the largest number of watches of any line — features pieces that showcase Longines’ rich heritage. It's divided into six subcategories: The Longines Master Collection, The Longines 1832, The Longines Elegant Collection, Record Collection, Longines Evidenza, and Heritage Classic. If you're looking for a luxury timepiece that has roots in that past, Longines pulls from its historical catalog to inspire many of the timepieces found here, some of which come in precious metals.
When thinking about flight-inspired watches, multi-time zone and circular slide rule timepieces often come to mind, though Longines takes a different approach. The Avigation collection of watches breaks down the pilot’s watch into a simpler format, while the three Avigation subcategories are highly legible and focus on the pre-jet era. These classic timepieces combine vintage styling with modern robustness. Many of the watches in the Avigation collection have vintage Longines counterparts.
Longines’ Diving collection offers both modern and vintage-inspired dive options that appeal to diverse aesthetic preferences. Along with the distinct dive watch models available, there are different colors and sizes available, particularly in the HydroConquest line. Within the HydroConquest line, Longines offers both three-handers and chronographs, all with 300m of water resistance. Swiss manufactured quartz and mechanical movement are both offered, and the collection consists primarily of stainless steel cases with a few models that have gold-colored PVD coating for a two-tone look.
Longines doesn’t purely focus on its rich back catalog for inspiration — the company is also introducing luxury timepieces with modern designs and features. Longines centers the Performance collection around the Conquest derivative, which is divided into three very distinctive sub-categories: The Conquest Classic is a contemporary design with a mid-size case, which you'll recognize because its case shape is similar to that of the HydroConquest. Remove the Hydro and you are left with Conquest, a similar watch without the diving mastery. The third Performance sub-category is the V.H.P (Very High Precision), all of which feature quartz movements with an extraordinary level of accuracy.