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Brief History: Longines Watch Company

Including Serial Numbers & Production Dates

1832 - Present

Ernest Francillon

Ernest Francillon

In the early 1800's Swiss watchmaking was truly a cottage-industry. Watches were produced using the "etablissage" method, where individual tradesman working out of small studios or their homes would produce parts (or sub-assemblies) which were then assembled and sold under the auspices of a single brand. In 1832, Auguste Agassiz began selling etablissage-produced watches under the name "Agassiz & Compagnie" and was particularly successful selling those watches in North America.

In the 1850's, Agassiz passed control of his company to his nephew, Ernest Francillon. Francillon wanted to modernize the production of watches and believed that bringing all the final assembly and finish operations together into one factory would be a more efficient method of production. To accomplish this, Francillon built a factory on a piece of land known as "Les Longines" and the Longines brand was born. This method of production proved to be very successful, and by the early 1900's the Longines factory employed over 1000 people and had achieved worldwide distrubution and success with its products.

The Longines "Winged Hourglass" (actually a winged clepsydra for those who care about such things) is the oldest registered trademark for a watch company, having been registered in 1880. The Winged Hourglass logo first appeared on Longines watches in about 1867.

Longines - Wittnauer

The A. Wittnauer Co. became the exclusive sales agent for Longines in 1880, starting a relationship that would last for 114 years. In 1936, the Wittnauer Co. was sold by the Wittnauer family and renamed the Longines-Wittnauer Co., a name that became so linked in the minds of the public that most assume that Longines and Wittnauer watches are the same. In fact, they produced distinctly different movements, though both are of similar excellent quality.

Longines Chronographs in Sport and Aviation

Longines was the first company known to have created precision timers for sporting events. They pioneered the "broken wire" system, as well as the first "photo finish" mechanism, which linked precision timing with a photographic record of the event. Longines timers are still used in many sporting events, especially equestrian and gymnastics competitions. Longines produced some really beautiful sport chronograph watches in the 30's and 40's, using Longines own in-house movements. Original Longines chronographs are very collectible.

Longines was also famous for their Aviator's watches. After his historic flight, Charles Lindbergh helped Longines design a pilot's watch with special features for air-navigation. Longines is also the official timer of the World Air Sports Federation, and has provided the timing equipment used to verify world aviation records, including Lindbergh's historic first non-stop solo crossing of the Atlantic. Aviation pioneer Amelia Earhart was also known to have worn a Longines watch, which is described here.

Longines "Winged Hourglass" Logo

Longines "Winged Hourglass" Logo

Vintage Longines - Wittnauer Watch Repair

Longines produces some really beautiful wristwatches; classic designs that look as good today as they did 50 years ago. Their watches are collectible, affordable and are often very reliable time-keepers. Another advantage for the collector is that parts can usually be found to repair Longines watches.

Modern Longines Watches

At the time of this writing, Longines is part of the Swatch Group, the largest Swiss watch conglomerate. We do not repair modern, battery-powered Longines watches, but please contact us if we can help you with the restoration of your vintage mechanical Longines watch.

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Longines Watch Company

Longines Serial Numbers and Dates

This table can be used to establish the approximate age of your Longines watch using the serial number. Longines serial numbers are usually found on the back plate of the movement.

Year S/N
1867 1
1870 20,000
1875 100,000
1882 250,000
1888 500,000
1893 750,000
1899 1,000,000
1901 1,250,000
1904 1,500,000
1905 1,750,000
1907 2,000,000
1909 2,250,000
1911 2,500,000
1912 2,750,000
1913 3,000,000
1915 3,250,000
1917 3,500,000
1919 3,750,000
Year S/N
1922 4,000,000
1925 4,250,000
1926 4,500,000
1928 4,750,000
1929 5,000,000
1934 5,250,000
1937 5,500,000
1938 5,750,000
1940 6,000,000
1945 7,000,000
1950 8,000,000
1953 9,000,000
1956 10,000,000
1959 11,000,000
1962 12,000,000
1966 13,000,000
1967 14,000,000
1969 15,000,000
IMPORTANT:

Be sure to use the serial number on the movement (the works) of the watch. Do not use the serial number from the case.

Can’t find your serial number in the table? Click here for an explanation and example of how to use our serial number tables.

Need help finding the serial number on your watch? Click here for instructions on how to identify and open most common case types.

Renaissance Watch Repair is not affiliated with the Longines company. The Longines name and names of various Longines watch models are trademarks of Longines and the Swatch Group, and are shown herein for educational purposes only.