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Stories - Style - Gear

The Great Pioneers Survive beyond Time

By Tommaso Lavizzari
4 min read

The Longines Spirit collection reflects the design of the timepieces that accompanied the great pioneers in their conquests: legendary aviators and explorers that conquered skies, seas, and new territories.

The great pioneers like Amelia Earhart, Paul-Emile Victor, Elinor Smith, and Howard Hughes put their trust in Longines on their incredible journeys.

Longines presents new timepieces that are a testimony to their pioneering spirit. A tribute to these extraordinary men and women who, by a record, an exploit or courage, have left their mark on history. They have encouraged new generations to push the boundaries.

Longines on the wrist of the great pioneers

Longines’ timepieces have contributed to the success of numerous pioneering exploits thanks to their characteristics and the original technology. This technology has accompanied explorers on their journeys to the world’s unknown lands, defied extreme weather conditions. Longines has navigated the wild seas and helped to open up new air routes as well as establishing aviation records.

Amelia Earhart, 14 hours and 56 minutes

The Longines technology was essential for Amelia Earhart, who was wearing a Longines Chronograph during her non-stop Atlantic crossing in 1939. With great courage, she managed to win the icy winds and overcome mechanical problems, becoming the first woman to connect the two continents. Before that, in 1938, Amelia Earhart was the first woman to ever fly over the Atlantic as a co-pilot.

«I have often said that the lure of flying is the lure of beauty».

Amelia Earhart, aviatrix
great pioneers

Paul-Emile Victor, up to -40° for 49 days

In 1936, Paul-Emile Victor spent 7 weeks to cross the Greenland ice cap. Even in the particularly harsh weather conditions like those he faced, his Longines chronometers continued to work accurately, helping him to calculate longitude. The adventurer devoted his entire life to polar expeditions.

«These watches made the difference between failure and success. The only thing we are sure to fail is that which we do not attempt».

Paul-Emile Victor, explorer
great pioneers

Elinor Smith, 9,999 meters (39,576 feet)

While flying at 9,144 meters (30,000 feet) in 1951, American aviatrix Elinor Smith lost consciousness. She was trying to break a record when her plane dropped towards the ground.

Elinor Smith regained consciousness at the last minute and managed to land safely. Ten days later, she soared even higher and set a new record of 9,999 meters (39,576 feet), relying on her Longines watch. After becoming the world’s youngest licensed pilot at age 16, Smith set several solo endurance, speed, and altitude records.

«Children must be allowed to dream and have a horizon to work toward. For me, there was only one path: I knew from age six that I wanted to fly».

Elinor Smith, aviatrix
great pioneers

Howard Hughes, 3 days, 19 hours, 14 minutes…

Howard Hughes’ round-the-world flight record was timed by Longines in 1938. The eccentric American is famous for his dual passion: aviation and cinema. He was the most famous user of the Longines Siderograph, an on-board celestial navigation device patented by the Swiss company. The crew of Howard Hughes’ aircraft relied on Longines chronometer watches, set to Greenwich Civil Time and to Greenwich Siderale time, and wore Longines “Second-Setting” watches for observation.

«Do the impossible, because almost everyone told me my ideas were fantasies».

Howard Hughes, pilot and entrepreneur
great pioneers

Longines Spirit restores life to its precious heritage

The Longines Spirit collection brings this rich heritage back to life. Their new models link history with innovation by repurposing the characteristics of pilot’s watches combined with contemporary lines and codes. The large crown, the flange, the pronounced step around the crystal, the front of the dial, the diamond shape indexes, and the large luminous “baton” hands are all elements inherited from the world of pioneering aviation.

Reworked and updated, they blend harmoniously with the overall contemporary design. In addition, great care has been taken with the finishes by alternating brushed, matt, polished, and embossed details.

great pioneers

The elegance of Longines Spirit is equaled only by its cutting-edge technology. Longines has fitted this range exclusively with self-winding movements (L888.4 and L688.4) with silicon hairsprings, which guarantee extreme precision and durability. These calibers, which ensure a power reserve of 64 and 60 hours, respectively, are certified by the Official Swiss Chronometer Testing Institute (COSC). The advanced technology of this new collection is also complemented by the domed sapphire glass with multi-layered anti-reflective coating on both sides, the screw-in crown and the case back engraved and secured by six fixing screws.

The timepieces are available in three hands/calendar versions (in 40 mm and 42 mm cases) and chronograph (42 mm), and a choice of matt black, grained silvered, or sunray blue dials, all of which feature the characteristic five stars.

In the Longines tradition, the five stars – the maximum one can aspire to – attest to the quality and reliability of Longines’ movements. The steel bracelet or light brown, dark brown, or blue leather strap complete the case.

The three-handed model is also available in a “prestige” version, which comes with interchangeable straps (steel bracelet, leather strap, and brown Nato-style strap).

Written by
Tommaso Lavizzari
Tommaso Lavizzari. Freelance Journalist, author and content creator. He was director of Sport Tribune and Soccer Illustrated. He speaks and writes about sports and lifestyle for various magazines, newspapers, radio and TV. He creates editorial content for different brands and companies. He published with Francesco Aldo Fiorentino "SURF. Big Wednesday 40 years later" for Mondadori Electa.
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4 min read

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