Longines is one of the very oldest Swiss watch manufacturers with an unparalleled history of invention, innovation, patents and awards. It is also responsible for some of the most exquisite watches, and watch movements, ever produced. The very highest accolades are reserved for its achievements in the development, and indeed the invention, of the wristwatch chronograph. Just a brief glance inside a chronograph, from any era, is enough to convince one how great an achievement this was. Released as early as 1913, Longines’ Calibre 13.33Z was a huge technical breakthrough. Early aviators and sports events, such as ski championships and motor racing Grand Prix, all relied heavily on the most technologically advanced and sophisticated chronographs available at the time, almost all supplied by Longines. Further, in 1919, Longines was appointed the official supplier for the International Aeronautical Federation (IAF) which led the company to be involved in many aeronautical expeditions during the early 20th century. The most famous of them was Charles Lindbergh’s solo, non-stop flight from New York to Paris in his aircraft, “Spirit of St. Louis,” in May 1927.
It is also worth mentioning here that due to the technical challenges and sheer costs involved in development and manufacture, very few watch companies, even today, make their own chronograph movements. The largest producers of these movements for high-end watches throughout most of the 20th century were the relatively unknown brands of Valjoux and Lemania. For example, before 2000, Rolex used Valjoux 72 and Zenith El Primero movements in both its Daytona and Chronographs.