Longines is one of the world’s most recognizable watch brands known for the ‘luxurious and functional’ concept. How does Longines stand compared to Rolex or Omega? Is Longines a luxury watch brand?
Longines is an entry-level luxury watch brand. It is placed underneath Omega or Glashütte Original but above Tissot and Hamilton on The Swatch Group’s watches family. Longines watches are also mostly four-figure in pricing, unlike middle-tier brands that are mostly under $1,000.
Keep reading to know more about Longines and how they stack against our list of what makes a luxury watch brand luxury.
We also discuss other popular questions about Longines, such as if they are worth investing in and their respectability.
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What Makes A Watch Brand Luxury?
In general, luxury watches separates themselves from the generic, regular watch brands in several areas:
- In-House Movements and Technology
- Brand Image
Materials: Luxury watchmakers frequently use higher-quality materials in their watch parts. Instead of 316L stainless steel, you might see more expensive metals like bronze, titanium, or gold alloys. Top-grain leather and diamonds are also commonly used in luxury watches.
Assembly: Luxury watchmakers frequently assemble their watches in-house instead of relying on automation or outsourcing the task to outside contractors. There is also more hand assembly done on luxury watches than with machinery. This ensures that all of their watches meet high-quality standards.
In-House Movements & Technology: Luxury watchmakers frequently develop their own movements to ensure better performance and accuracy. There is also a propensity to develop proprietary technology to improve their watches. To save money, regular and low-cost watchmakers frequently use movements from other companies. Some even outsource the entire production.
Design: Iconic and well-known designs are standard among luxury watchmakers. These designs can also define and serve as a model for future watches designs in the same category. The Rolex Daytona, for example, has become a benchmark for all chronograph watch designers and builders to strive for.
Homages: It is common to see homages to models from high-end watchmakers. Homages exist to serve customers who want the original but cannot afford the price. It is a good option for these people because homages are made to look like the original but not to the point of being an exact copy.
Fakes: In the luxury watch market, fakes are common. These illegal clone/fake/imitation watches are frequently sold as ‘replicas.’ Only luxury watches are cloned because they are costly and out of reach for many people. Regular watch models are rarely cloned because the profit margin is so small that the fake watchmakers’ time isn’t worth it.
Brand Image: Luxury watch brands frequently project an image of prestige, class, exclusivity, and, of course, luxury. They cultivate this image by associating with and sponsoring individuals, events, and media that project similar images.
Prices: Luxury watchmakers frequently charge higher prices for their timepieces. The idea is to position their watches as ‘aspirational’ items, expensive, and only accessible to those who have achieved success in life. This also helps to keep the brand exclusive. A higher profit margin also enables watchmakers to conduct premium marketing campaigns, strengthening their brand image.
We explained the characteristics of luxury watches much deeper in a separate article, so feel free to check it out if you intend to dive deeper into this subject.
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Can Longines Be Considered As A Luxury Watch Brand?
Longines is an entry-level luxury watch brand. In Swatch group’s portfolio of brands, Longines is placed lower than full luxury brands such as Omega and Glashütte Original but higher than middle-tier brands like Hamilton and Tissot. Most Longines watches are priced above $1,000 as well.
|Characteristics||Luxury Watch Brands||Longines||Pass?|
|Materials||May use 904L steel, titanium, precious metals, gemstones||Titanium, bronze, diamond, alligator leather||✅|
|Assembly||Mostly hand assembled||No such claims, all watches are Swiss made||❌|
|Movement||Almost all have in-house movement||In-house movement shared within watch group||✅|
|Proprietary Technology||Almost all have proprietary technology||No proprietary technology||❌|
|Design||Often iconic, and sets trends.||Great, iconic design (eg. Master Collection)||✅|
|Homages||Have homages made after their models||Have homages made after it, also makes homages||✅|
|Fakes & Imitation||Suffers from fakes and imitation||Widely counterfeited||✅|
|Brand Image||Prestige, exclusivity, class||Quality, history, luxury||✅|
|Prices||At least four-figure.||Almost all models are over $1,000||✅|
Longines watches do use premium materials. You may see their models being offered with gold alloys such as titanium, bronze, 18K gold, diamonds, and alligator straps.
Even the lowest-priced models come with a sapphire crystal with an anti-reflective coating. Stainless steel models are usually made with 316L stainless steel, common with many other watchmakers but solid and sturdy.
Longines does not claim to fully hand-assemble their watches or assemble all of their watches in-house.
This is understandable since Longines is part of the Swatch group. They may share production facilities. The watch prices could signal a higher degree of hand assembly, but not 100%.
Longines does claim that their watches are ‘Swiss Made.’ In the eyes of Swiss Law, this means:
- 60% of any Longines watches are produced in Switzerland (e.g., design, parts, labor, etc.)
- Any Longines watches operate a Swiss movement.
- Any Longines watches are encased and inspected in Switzerland.
We can interpret this as Longines’s commitment to producing high-quality watches. This is important as many companies now like to play on their Swiss heritage, but have long moved their production elsewhere, usually to East Asia.
In-House Movements and Technology
Longines does use in-house movements, although not in the traditional sense. This is because Longines watch movements are modified from ETA’s movement.
For example, the Longines L888 movement is based on ETA’s A31.L02 automatic movement. One of their quartz movements, the L157, is based on ETA’s 255.112 quartz movement.
You can still consider these in-house movements, as ETA is part of the Swatch group. You can see their movements used in other watch brands within the group.
Tissot, Hamilton, Certina, Mido, and Omega have at least some of their watches running ETA-based movements.
This is a great strategy to reduce development costs and allow watch brands to leverage each other. Plus, when these watches run a similar movement, servicing becomes easier for watchmakers, as parts might become interchangeable.
Longines has a reputation for producing excellent watches with classic looks. Longines’ Master Collection series of watches contains models with classic designs such as textured dials, intricate hands, and Roman hour markers.
When you couple up such a design approach with complications such as moon phase, power reserve indicator, and retrograde hand displays, you get watches that have the look of Jaeger Le-Coultre, Breguet, or A.Lange & Söhne.
These are ultra-luxury watches, and for Longines to offer something similar at a much lower price point is a great bargain.
Longines is something you might consider if you like classical, luxurious, serious design. Yet, you do not want to splurge out an arm or a leg for those ultra-luxury watches.
Aside from those, Longines also have modern designs, such as the Conquest collection. Watches from these collections carry Longines’ lighter and more casual side, similar to how the Datejust is when compared to the Cellini.
Longines is in a unique position – it has models made into homages by other companies. At the same time, it also has models that could be considered a homage to watch models more luxurious to it.
ALSO READ: What Are Homage Watches?
Some Chinese homage watchmakers, such as Cadisen and Guanqin, have produced homage watches for the Longines Conquest and the Master Collection watches.
At the same time, when looking into Longines’ catalog, you will notice some watches bear semblance to other more iconic models.
For example, The Longines DolceVita collection features watches that could be said to be a more premium homage to the Cartier Tank.
Longines suffer from counterfeiting, similar to many watch brands out there.
A simple google search would reveal multiple vendors selling ‘replica’ Longines watches out there.
When looking into several replica sites, they are offering Longines watches at a price much lower than the original.
Despite the price, these are replica watches with an unproven track record in reliability and performance. You also cannot guarantee the quality of its watch parts are on par with the original.
The movements are also unknown in origin, meaning servicing might be a problem in the future. That’s if you are shameless enough to walk to a watchmaker and request servicing for a replica watch.
These watches are counterfeit and fake and are illegal to purchase. So think twice before you purchase these and support criminal enterprises with your money.
Longines has a great brand image. It has been noted that Longines is one of the most recognized Swiss watch brands globally.
Longines is also known to have a long history. Its winged logo with hourglass trademark is the world’s oldest unchanged, registered in 1893 and still used today.
Longines is associated with elegance, luxury, and timelessness. Albert Einstein and Amelia Earhart are known to be wearers of Longines.
Longines also sponsors many athletes and celebrities to wear Longines, such as Leonardo DiCaprio, Aishwarya Rai, Andre Agassi, and many more.
Longines also sponsors sporting events such as the Commonwealth Games, horse races, and ski jumping championships.
Longines are not priced to be affordable, but they are not priced extravagantly to the point that it becomes something of a Rolex or Omega.
On its website, of the 259 models on offer, only 8 are under $1,000. The most affordable model is the Conquest on quartz, at $800. The most expensive watch in its’ online store is the Longines Master Collection with 18k rose gold case (ref: L2.7188.8.131.52.3) at $7,000.
On Amazon, you can get Longines watches starting from $600.
This fits nicely into the Swatch group placing of Longines as an entry-level luxury watch brand, together with Rado and Union Glashütte.
Is Longines An Entry Level Watch?
Longines is not an entry-level but an entry-level luxury watch brand. Entry-level brands such as Casio or Swatch have most of their watches at under $500. Longines watches are priced above $1,000 in most cases. They are made with materials that rival a full luxury watch such as Rolex.
Longines is far from being an entry-level watch. Longines’s watches are made with excellent materials. It is normal to see titanium, bronze, gold alloys, alligator straps, sapphire crystals, etc., on Longines’s watches.
Longines is also not placed as an entry-level watch brand under Swatch group’s portfolio of brands. That position is given to Swatch and Flik Flak, a brand of watches for children.
In fact, Longines is seen as an even more premium brand of watches than many other middle-range brands such as Tissot, Movado, Hamilton, or Rotary.
Is Longines A Respected Brand?
Longines is a respected and reputable brand. It has a long history and has contributed to aviation watches. The watches are also classical, elegant and look like ultra-luxury watches such as Jaeger-LeCoultre.
Longines has a long history of producing fine watches. It has contributed immensely to the development of aviation watches in the interwar years.
Longines has also made classical watches with intricate finishing, such as those under their Master Collection. These watches could rival ultra-luxury brands such as Jaeger-LeCoultre or A.Lange & Söhne.
If you wear a Longines, you will be seen as someone who is ‘on your way up,’ climbing in stations in life. You will become more successful and strap on something much more luxurious one day, such as a Breguet or a Rolex.
Overall, Longines is not just a respected brand. It is a reputable, historical, and well-recognized brand.
Is Longines A Good Investment?
Longines watches belong to the entry-level luxury, which could signal some potential as an investment piece. Longines watches have a significant number of collectors, and Longines itself restores vintage pieces and sells them. The most expensive Longines was sold for $596,000 in 2008.
For a long time, there has been interest in Longines watches, and some vintage models have been well sought after. The most expensive Longines ever sold is the 1929 Gold Longines worn by Albert Einstein. That watch was sold in an auction for $596,000 in 2008.
Longines also has a strong group of collectors with passions that could rival Rolex or Seiko collectors.
Longines also helps collectors by having a ‘Collectors Corner’ on their website. Here Longines restore vintage Longines with original parts and offer these watches out to collectors. There are watches as old as the 1930s on the list.
Who Owns Longines?
Longines has been owned by the Swatch Group since 1983. Longines is currently an entry-level luxury watch brand under its portfolio, together with Rado and Union Glashütte. Other brands within the Swatch group include Tissot, Hamilton, Omega, Breguet, and Swatch.
Longines is placed strategically between middle-range brands such as Hamilton but below luxury brands such as Omega.
If you are on the lookout for a more affordable luxury type of watch, then Longines would be an excellent place to start.