Longines and the world of aviation share an intimate and long-standing relationship that spans more than 100 years.
In honour of the watchmaker’s glittering heritage, its crucial role in some of history’s most important journeys, as well as to pay tribute to brave and illustrious aviation pioneers like Amelia Earhart, Elinor Smith, Howard Hughes and Paul-Émile Victor, it debuts the aviation themed Longines Spirit Collection.
What do these legendary aviators and explorers have in common? They all relied on Longines to navigate them through their lonely (and often, treacherous) pioneering exploits.
The first female pilot to fly across the Atlantic Ocean, Amelia Earhart completed her solo flight in 1932. It was an arduous journey plagued with mechanical difficulties and merciless weather conditions, resulting in a failed landing at her scheduled destination of Paris. Armed with pure grit and her trusty Longines chronograph, she pulled off what seemed like an impossible task and completed the journey in a record 14 hours and 56 minutes.
“I have often said that the lure of flying is the lure of beauty.“
– Amelia Earhart
Earhart’s flight across the Atlantic from 1. Trepassey, Canada to 2. Londonderry, Northern Ireland, UK
Telegram from Amelia Earhart to Longines after her solo non-stop transatlantic flight in 1932. She was wearing a Longines wristwatch.
French ethnologist and explorer Paul-Émile Victor spent 50 years documenting the earth’s polar wildernesses. In 1936, he spent seven weeks crossing the Greenland ice cap accompanied by his workhorse Longines chronometers that prevailed through sub-zero temperatures of -49°C and harsh Arctic conditions.
“These watches made the difference between failure and success.”
– Paul-Émile Victor
Letter from Paul-Émile Victor to Longines about his polar expeditions in the 1930’s. He is grateful to the accuracy of his Longines watches and devices.
At just 16 years old, Elinor Smith became the youngest licensed pilot in the United States. In 1931, the dare devil passed out mid-flight 30,000 feet in the air whilst attempting to set the world altitude record, regaining consciousness just in time to land the plane. Her second attempt, at 32, 576 feet, gave her the women’s record. Accompanying her through this momentous occasion, and other endurance, speed and altitude records, is her Longines watch.
“I remember so vividly my first time aloft that I can still hear the wind swing in the wires as we glided down. By the time the pilot touched the wheels gently to earth, I knew my future in airplanes and flying was inevitable as the freckles on my nose.”
– Elinor Smith
Longines advertisement, here from 1930, publicising one of the altitude records set by Elinor Smith. She was wearing Longines watches.
In 1938, Howard Hughes circumnavigated the globe in 3 days, 19 hours and 14 minutes, a world-record that was timed by Longines chronometers and chronographs. He is the best-known user of the Longines Sidérograph (a flight instrument for celestial navigation that was patented by Longines) and issued Longines chronometer watches and Second-Setting watches for his crew.
“Do the impossible, because almost everyone has told me my ideas are merely fantasies.”
– Howard Hughes
Hughes’ flight around the world starting at 1. New York, USA to 2. Paris, France, then 3. Moscow, Russia, 4. Omsk, Russia, 5. Yakutsk, Russia, 6. Fairbanks, USA, stopping one last time in 7. Minneapolis, USA before heading back to New York.
Longines advertisement following the record round-the- world flight by Howard Hughes in 1938. The plane was equipped by Longines chronometers and chronographs.
LONGINES SPIRIT COLLECTION
All the dials come stamped with five applied stars, a nod to the past and a Longines symbol of excellence that represents enhanced quality and reliability of the brand’s movements. Five stars is the maximum number that can be achieved.
Closed caseback secured by six screws features an engraving of a globe and the brand’s iconic winged hourglass logo.
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Longines, a brand steeped in aviation history spanning more than 100 years.
Longines became the official supplier to the International Aeronautical Federation, equipping aviation pioneers with high-precision navigation instruments that would time their record-making journeys and feats.
At the behest of Charles A. Lindhberg, the famous pilot who first crossed the Atlantic Ocean in a non- stop solo flight, Longines developed the legendary Lindhberg Hour Angle Watch. It enabled pilots to easily calculate longitude position and when used in conjunction with a sextant and nautical almanac, allowed them the means to pinpoint their exact geographical location.
The Longines Weems New Second-Setting watch, based on the Weems System of Navigation developed by US Navy Officer Philip Van Horn Weems, is the first wristwatch with a turning bezel graduated to 60 seconds. It allows the wearer to synchronise the second hand with a GMT signal and was an essential navigation tool.
The watchmaker also introduces the first patented chronograph wristwatch with flyback function.
The timepiece of choice for American and Czech armed forces? Longines.
Longines High Frequency Split Second Chronographs were the ultimate instruments for professional timekeeping as they were used for all types of important events from Olympic games to the timing of Donald Campbell’s water and land speed record attempts on the Bluebird.
THE STANDARD EDITION
The three-hand “Standard” models are offered in 40mm or 42mm satin and polished stainless steel cases. They are available in three dial variants – grained silver, matte black or sunray blue – and with a light brown leather strap, dark brown leather strap, blue leather strap or polished steel bracelet. Guaranteeing 64 hours of accurate timekeeping is the COSC-certified L888.4 self-winding movement that is equipped with a silicon hairspring.
THE PRESTIGE EDITION
The “Prestige” edition of the three-hand model comes with three interchangeable straps (steel, leather and brown leather NATO) that allows one to easily switch the straps at whim. It is also powered by the COSC-certified L888.4 self-winding movement that is equipped with a silicon hairspring and guarantees 64 hours of power reserve.
THE CHRONOGRAPH EDITION
Only available in a 42mm satin and polished stainless steel case, the chronograph is offered with three dial colours: matte black, grained silver or sunray blue and with a steel bracelet or leather straps in dark brown, light brown or blue. It is equipped with the COSC-certified L688.4 self-winding movement that is fitted with a silicon hairspring and guarantees 60 hours of power reserve.