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Longines celebrates its 180th anniversary in Saint-Imier!

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The new Longines MuseumLongines celebrates its 180th anniversary in Saint-Imier!

It is in Saint-Imier, the village where Longines was founded, that the company chose to celebrate its 180th anniversary this Thursday. To mark the occasion, 180 celebrity guests, local politicians, representatives of the Swatch Group and journalists listened to a welcome address.

Recalling Longines’ rich history and its continued development across the ages, the various speakers – including Nick Hayek, President of the Executive Group Management Board of The Swatch Group, and Walter von Känel, Director of Longines – all emphasised the importance of the close ties that link the company to the town of Saint-Imier. Then Pierre-Yves Donzé presented his latest work, Longines – From a Family Business to a Global Brand, which recounts the company’s history. The other highlight of the day was the official reopening of the Longines Museum. The guests had the opportunity of discovering the various refurbished rooms where all Longines’ historical treasures are on display.

In 1832, Auguste Agassiz joined the world of watchmaking when he became an associate of a watch trading office installed in Saint-Imier – this was the start of the history of Longines. Today the company is celebrating its 180th anniversary in Saint-Imier itself, in the presence of 180 celebrity guests. In his welcome speech, the Director of Longines, Walter von Känel, recalled with some emotion the brand’s rich history. With regard to the development of Longines within The Swatch Group, Nick Hayek, President of the Executive Group Management Board of The Swatch Group, said : « It has always been Longines’ and the Swatch Group’s strategy to invest in Saint-Imier in order to preserve the Swiss identity and the one of this valley ».The Mayor of Saint-Imier, Stéphane Boillat, focused on the close links between Longines and the St. Imier valley, while the member of the Swiss Council of States, Philippe Perrenoud, emphasised the important role played by Longines and the Swatch Group within the canton of Berne.

Subsequently, Pierre-Yves Donzé presented his latest book, commissioned to mark the occasion and entitled Longines – From a Family Business to a Global Brand, which recounts the history of Longines, from its origins as a watch trading office to its present-day status as indeed a worldwide brandname. Describing economic and structural issues, as well as technical developments and innovations, this work presents the evolution of Longines through various key people and the strategic and political decisions they took which have shaped the company into what it is today.

Opening of the new Longines Museum

The welcome address was followed by the reopening of the Longines Museum. An initial room, dedicated to the history of the brand known by its winged hourglass logo, was opened in 1992 by the late Nicolas G. Hayek, founder and president of the SMH Group (today The Swatch Group). The entire museum has been refurbished this year, to mark the company’s 180th anniversary, and offers visitors a coherent, structured presentation of all the different aspects of the history of Longines. At the opening ceremony a ribbon was cut by Elisabeth Baume-Schneider, President of the canton Jura Government, Philippe Perrenoud, member of the Swiss Council of States for canton Bern, Philippe Gnaegi, President of the State Council, along with the Mayor of Saint-Imier, Stéphane Boillat and Walter von Känel, Director of Longines. The guests then had an opportunity to discover, or re-discover, the brand’s treasures and heritage.