Where there are people there are contradictions and struggles. The same to the development of timepieces. Revolutionary Civil Wars, even the World War I/II, Quartz Crisis destroyed many of watch brands, but quite a few of them persists to today. Every of watch brands experienced some shocks, like bottleneck, acquisition. Every has different experiences, but finally, each of decisions they did is right in special situations.
Longines ranks below Omega, but in the past, Longines had a higher reputation when it was an individual watchmaker. Many of us bought hours-minutes-seconds watches and Conquest watches by Longines, but in fact, its advantage is chronograph in the peak period. Before Longines stopped to produce in-house chronograph movements in the 1950s, most brands, Patek Philippe, Vacheron Constantin included, introduced semi-finished chronograph movements from Valjoux or Lemania. Before the 1950s, chronograph movements Longines produced not only gave it self-sufficiency but were in high quality. Longines had two star chronograph movements, 13ZN and 30CH.
The picture above shows that the movement is not an ordinary model. After seeing complicated-structured mechanical movements, many can’t imagine it by Longines. What’s more, Longines 13ZN, hand-wound chronograph movement, was launched in 1936. 13ZN was the most famous chronograph movement, available in two versions: normal grade and special grade. They have different structures and functions, but both of them were top for Longines at that period. 13ZN features 8-teeth column wheel, bimetal temperature compensation wheel, aclinic clutch and balance wheel suspension. The outstanding point of the special version is the design for Central minute hand and 60-minute chronograph inner bezel instead of 30-minute counter/sub-dial. The design was unique then. The blued-steel minute hand and the red second hand are in contrast. The normal version is quite excellent, featuring two-eye counters and Flyback.
Because of Valjoux and Lemania rising and high cost of 13ZN, Longines 30CH was born in the right moment. 30CH, 29.8mm×6.2mm, was fitted with 8-teeth column wheel, aclinic clutch, shock system, double-arm screw balance wheel and regulator pin. Although it is inferior to 13ZN, it is popular with collectors. Once, an antique Longines chronograph 30CH in 18K pink gold was auctioned for 20,000 dollars.
22A was the first self-winding mechanical movement by Longines, born in 1945. Automatic movements were not only in small amount but wound through pendulum bob or bump rotor in the 1940s. The early automatic movements by Omega works through the theory of bump rotor. Central self-winding tourbillon applied to Longines 22A, so Longines was one of the earlier watchmakers using self-winding technology. From the picture, we can see a thin bearing fixing the self-winding tourbillon. 22A supplies approx 36-hour power reserve.
Although Longines was forced to lower its grade after acquisition, Longines had a splendid history. It’s possible for Longines to climb the peak of the watchmaking field in the future.