Today we are diving into a question that has often made its rounds in our horological conversations: Are Longines watches any good?
The name ‘Longines’ might be familiar to some people as a brand offering luxury timepieces at a relatively accessible price point.
Others might be hearing about it for the first time. Either way, it’s a brand that piques curiosity and prompts questions, especially when planning to invest significantly in a wristwatch.
So, as an avid watch collector and expert who’s handled a plethora of timepieces over the years, it was high time we addressed this query.
Through this blog post, we aim to explore the brand’s history, assess the quality, and evaluate the performance of some popular Longines models.
When we speak about Swiss watchmaking, one brand that invariably finds a mention is Longines. A subsidiary of the Swatch Group, Longines has etched its name in the annals of horology as a purveyor of quality timepieces that beautifully blend tradition, performance, and elegance.
Founded in 1832 by Auguste Agassiz in Saint-Imier, Switzerland, Longines holds the record for the oldest registered watch brand logo still in use today – an eloquent testament to its longevity and consistency.
Over nearly two centuries, this brand has deftly navigated the highs and lows of the industry to remain a key player in the global luxury watch market.
Looking back, Longines has had quite a remarkable journey. The brand initially specialized in navigational equipment before venturing into wristwatches.
An important milestone in its illustrious history came in 1931 when it collaborated with legendary aviator Charles Lindbergh to create the Hour Angle aviation watch. This was followed by numerous other military-inspired timepieces, emphasizing the brand’s commitment to precision and reliability.
The evolution of Longines has been marked by strategic alliances and acquisitions. The brand was bought by ASUAG in 1971, which later merged with SSIH in 1983 to form the Société Suisse de Microélectronique et d’Horlogerie (SMH). SMH eventually rebranded as the Swatch Group in 1988, under whose stewardship Longines continues to thrive.
Despite some struggles, particularly during the quartz crisis of the 1980s when the brand’s craftsmanship faced challenges, Longines has managed to maintain its stature.
Today, it sponsors various sports events, including horse riding, archery, tennis, and skiing, cementing its role in precision timing and sports chronograph.
With a heritage of almost 200 years and a reputation for delivering value, Longines symbolizes Swiss craftsmanship and technological innovation in the watch industry.
The Longines product line
When it comes to variety, few brands can rival Longines. The brand’s extensive product line is an exhibition of diversity and depth, ranging from vintage reissues to contemporary designs.
It offers various timepieces to cater to different tastes, requirements, and budget levels.
Three lines in the Longines collection stand out: the Heritage, Sport, and Watchmaking Tradition lines. Each has its unique selling points, design ethos, and technical features.
A nod to its past, the Heritage Collection embodies Longines’ deep-rooted watchmaking tradition. These timepieces draw inspiration from the brand’s iconic models from the 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s, making them highly desirable among watch enthusiasts.
For example, the Longines Heritage Classic is a beautiful illustration of the brand’s best days. This watch exhibits an art deco style with a two-tone silver dial and blued hands.
Its modest 38.5 mm case is powered by an L893 automatic movement, offering up to 64 hours of power reserve. The watch has an 11-mm case height, 19-mm lug width, and 30-meter water resistance. It’s a versatile timepiece that radiates old-school charm while fitting modern sensibilities.
The Sport Collection is a testament to Longines’ commitment to precision, functionality, and athletic elegance. These watches are designed for those who require reliable timing instruments in their sporting endeavors.
A notable example is the HydroConquest series. With a 43-mm case width, it’s larger than the Heritage collection watches, making a bold statement on the wrist.
The HydroConquest is a diver’s watch boasting a 300-meter water resistance rating, a unidirectional bezel with a ceramic insert, and a scratch-resistant sapphire crystal. It’s powered by an L888 automatic movement and is available in different colors and strap options.
Watchmaking Tradition Collection
The Watchmaking Tradition collection combines classic designs and modern horological innovations.
These timepieces are a tribute to the brand’s centuries-old expertise in crafting refined and reliable watches.
A fine example of this line is the Master Collection. It offers a delightful blend of elegance and complexity with moon phase functions and small seconds subdials.
The 42-mm case houses an ETA-modified L889 movement, all protected by a scratch-resistant sapphire crystal. It’s a versatile timepiece that balances dressy and sporty aesthetics.
The pros and cons of longines watches
The world of luxury watches is vast and diverse, and every brand has unique strengths and weaknesses.
Longines, an undeniably reputable brand, is no exception. Let’s delve into what sets Longines apart from its competitors and look at the areas where it could improve.
Pros of Longines watches
- Value for Money: The luxury watch market can sometimes be prohibitive due to high prices. However, Longines offers a relatively accessible entry point into Swiss-made luxury watches. The quality of craftsmanship, design, and materials, combined with reasonable pricing, makes Longines a strong value proposition. For example, their HydroConquest series offers a luxury diving watch experience at a fraction of the cost of a Rolex Submariner, making it a popular choice among watch enthusiasts.
- Rich History: With over 180 years in watchmaking, Longines has a legacy that few brands can boast. It’s a brand that has stood the test of time, and the Heritage Collection, which recreates classic models, embodies the historical essence of the brand.
- High-Quality Movements: Longines has access to high-quality ETA movements, which it modifies to meet specific requirements. For instance, the Heritage Classic utilizes an L893 movement (a modified ETA A31.501), providing an impressive 64-hour power reserve.
- Wide Variety: As mentioned earlier, Longines offers a broad range of watches, catering to various styles and preferences. Be it a sporty, dressy, or vintage-inspired watch, Longines has you covered.
Cons of longines watches
- Lack of Brand Recognition: While Longines is a respected name in the watch community, it may need more widespread recognition than some top-tier luxury brands like Rolex or Patek Philippe. However, this is more of a perception issue than a comment on the quality of Longines watches.
- Impacts of the Quartz Crisis: Like many other Swiss watch manufacturers, the quartz crisis in the 70s and 80s hit Longines hard. Some purists argue that the brand lost some of its prestige during this period when it started producing quartz watches alongside mechanical ones. Yet, it’s worth noting that Longines has managed to navigate the crisis successfully, maintaining the quality of its quartz watch line, which has its own set of dedicated followers.
In conclusion, the pros significantly outweigh the cons when considering Longines. They offer high-quality, well-crafted watches at a more affordable price point, making them an excellent choice for first-time luxury watch buyers and seasoned collectors.
Comparisons with other luxury brands
Regarding luxury watches, the market is dominated by heavyweights such as Rolex, Omega, and Patek Philippe. These brands have carved out a niche with their unrivaled craftsmanship, precision, and strong resale value.
However, their high price tags can often be prohibitive for many watch enthusiasts. This is where Longines enters, offering a gateway to luxury timepieces that will keep the bank intact. Let’s delve deeper into this comparison.
Known as the king of luxury watches, Rolex has a second-to-none reputation. Its timepieces are renowned for their precision, durability, and iconic designs.
While Longines can’t compete with Rolex’s prestige and resale value, it offers a more affordable alternative for those who appreciate Swiss watchmaking craftsmanship and history.
Watches like the HydroConquest can provide a similar aesthetic to the Rolex Submariner at a fraction of the cost.
Omega’s reputation is built on its innovative spirit, precision, and commitment to quality, as reflected in its participation in numerous historical events, including being the first watch on the moon.
Compared to Omega, Longines focuses more on traditional and classic designs, leaning heavily on their long history. While Omega watches are typically more expensive, Longines offers similar quality and reliability at a more accessible price point.
As one of the oldest watch manufacturers in the world, Patek Philippe stands at the pinnacle of luxury watchmaking, known for their exquisite craftsmanship, exclusivity, and astronomical prices.
Longines, while different from the grandeur and prestige of Patek Philippe, still holds its ground with high-quality timepieces, rich history, and much more approachable pricing.
Longines is a brand that successfully bridges the gap between affordable and luxury. While it might not compete with the brands mentioned above on prestige and brand recognition, it certainly stands out in terms of value for money, providing an excellent alternative for those searching for a well-crafted Swiss timepiece without spending a small fortune.
Are Longines watches good?
After diving deep into Longines’s rich history, impressive collections, and market positioning, we return to the central question: Are Longines watches good? The simple answer is an unequivocal yes. However, a simple ‘yes ‘needs to fully encapsulate the brand’s nuanced standing in the horology world.
Firstly, Longines’s legacy is deeply rooted in tradition and innovation. Founded in 1832, the brand has continually demonstrated its ability to blend its rich heritage with modern watchmaking techniques to create pieces that appeal to a broad range of customers. The variety in their product line, from the elegance of the Master Collection to the sporty appeal of the HydroConquest, attests to this.
Secondly, we’ve discussed some criticisms of Longines. Longines might garner different immediate recognition in high-end luxury watches than a Rolex or a Patek Philippe. However, their access to high-quality ETA movements, the variety they offer, and their dedication to maintaining a long-standing watchmaking tradition set them apart.
Finally, when it comes to value for money, Longines holds its own. They offer timepieces that boast Swiss quality and craftsmanship at a more accessible price point, especially when compared to some of the industry heavyweights.
So, who would find a Longines watch a good fit? If you appreciate Swiss watchmaking history, value versatility and craftsmanship, and are looking for an accessible entry point into the world of luxury watches, then Longines is a brand worth considering. Whether you’re an avid collector or a first-time buyer, Longines offers a broad spectrum of designs and styles that suit different tastes and occasions.
To sum up, Longines presents a compelling proposition in luxury timepieces. It is a testament that quality, heritage, and luxury can sometimes have an exorbitant price tag.
Longines watches definitely merit a seal of approval. They showcase a perfect blend of heritage and innovation, offering Swiss quality at a more accessible price. Whether you are a first-time buyer or a seasoned collector, Longines’ wide range of designs caters to diverse tastes and occasions. If you value quality, history, and affordability in a luxury timepiece, Longines is worth considering.