Celebrating its 185th anniversary this year, Longines is one of the oldest and most successful watch manufactures. To mark the milestone, the watchmaker is putting on an exhibition in Singapore in conjunction with Watches of Switzerland at VivoCity from 14 November until 19 November. The exhibition covers the glorious history of Longines, and also showcases the brand’s anniversary watch made for the occasion, the Flagship Heritage 60th Anniversary 1957-2017.
Visiting the exhibition will give you a chance to discover a diversity of vintage watches, timing devices, as well as a range of exceptional photographs, posters, films and archive records, that together illustrate Longines’ tremendous history as one of Switzerland’s leading timekeepers.
Most of the watches on show are landmark timepieces from various points in the manufacture’s 185-year history – just to fire up your appetite, here’s a selection.
Showcase 1 will feature a variety of pocket watches spanning the early decades of the brand. As such, this 1929 pocket watch belongs to a latter era in the brand’s era of pocket watches: presented in a silver case with some fine knurling around its bezel for optimal grip and large, beautifully executed Roman numerals for excellent legibility, this truly is a timeless piece by Longines.
Since its first pocket-chronograph from 1878 Longines has been intrinsically linked to the world of sport. Two splendid examples to this are this 1930 pocket chronograph with a telemeter scale, designed and engineered in a way so that the two sub-dials do not interfere with the measurement scales on the periphery of the dial.
And the simple, yet absolutely elegant looking wristwatch from the mid 1930s is an early “wrist-chronograph,” as it was called at the time, fitted with the 12.68Z manually wound mechanical movement. It has a mechanism called a stop-seconds, a system whereby a push-piece at 2 o’clock could be used to stop the seconds hand, reset it at zero and activate it again.
In 1939, Longines launched a massive, purpose-built 24-ligne calibre designed especially for timing sports events. This movement included the latest technological features of the day and also made it easier to read lap times. Various versions of this calibre were made so as to meet the stringent demands of high-level competitions in many different sports.
In the history of Longines, precision was crucial not only when building sports timing equipment, but also for making clocks and watches as well. Seen here is a COSC-certified chronometer Admiral Automatic from 1973, a beautifully executed piece full of character and boasted exemplary chronometric performance.
Seen here is a “siderograph,” a device Longines as part of its series of navigation tools for use on the sea and sky – this particular piece is from 1938, engineered for reliable and precise timekeeping, suspended on five springs for shock resistance.
While there are many more timepieces on display, the 1962 Flagship Automatic is worth pointing out. It’s a beautiful dress watch with applied indices, elongated lugs, and a subtle, domed dial.
It matters because it serves as the inspiration for the Longines Flagship Heritage 60th Anniversary 1957-2017, which takes the original’s key design elements and turns them into a properly modern continuation. That familiar domed dial is executed in an off-white, silvery finish with a brushed finish, and features applied hour markers for added depth and improved legibility.
At 38.5mm wide, the remake is a bit larger than the original, but still very much modestly sized by modern standards. And speaking of the case, the 60th Anniversary watch will be offered in three variants: stainless steel, and 18k yellow or pink gold. All have a sapphire crystal front with multi-layered anti-reflective coating.
In all three of its variations, the Longines Flagship Heritage 60th Anniversary 1957-2017 is matched with a brown alligator strap with a tang buckle. The steel model is produced in a series of 1,957 pieces, while the two solid gold references are limited to just 60 each iterations.
The exhibition takes place at Watches of Switzerland at VivoCity from the 14 November to 19 November.
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Victor Toth – Czech Republic
Victor Toth is a Prague-based, professional photographer-turned-watch enthusiast and freelance journalist, whose journey into the complex world of fine watchmaking had begun a number of years ago. Over this time it has become his passion to share his understanding of the finer details of beautiful timepieces, all in an effort to encourage a more thorough appreciation of this wonderful and complex universe of fine mechanics.