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Longines launches a new model that is even more accurate than a chronometer: the new LONGINES ULTRA-CHRON ticks at 10 beats per second. Read this!
The new high-frequency movement guarantees greater precision and benefits from over 100 years of experience that Longines can boast in the manufacture of high beat rate movements. Inspired by the original 1968 Longines Ultra-Chron Diver, the new model echoes the iconic design of its predecessor and is extremely resistant to shocks, scratches and water pressure.
In 1968, Longines launched the Ultra-Chron Diver, the first diver’s watch to feature a high-frequency movement. By this time, Longines had already established itself as a pioneer in high-frequency technology. As early as 1914, the brand had developed its first high-frequency instrument, the winged hourglass, which could measure time to the nearest tenth of a second. Then in 1959, Longines developed the first high-frequency movement for a wristwatch: an observatory chronometer that set new precision records.
The new Longines Ultra-Chron is inspired by the design and professional diving features of the 1968 model. It features a unidirectional rotating bezel as well as a screw-down case back and crown. It also offers excellent readability and is water resistant to 30 bar (300 meters).
The cushion-shaped 43mm steel case of the Longines Ultra-Chron features a diver’s bezel with a sapphire crystal insert with luminous markers. The black-grained dial features a white minute track with rhodium-plated appliqués and baton indexes coated with Super-LumiNova.
About the movements –LONGINES ULTRA-CHRON L2.836.4.52
The original Ultra-Chron logo is proudly emblazoned on the dial and caseback. This new Longines Ultra-Chron also features a distinctive red minute hand, which, like the hour hand, is coated with Super-LumiNova@ for optimal readability.
The heart of the new Longines Ultra-Chron is the caliber L836.6, an in-house high-frequency movement. A watch is said to be “high frequency” when the balance of its movement oscillates at 36,000 beats per hour (10 beats per second). These movements, launched by Longines in 1914 (to time to the tenth of a second) and 1916 (to time to the hundredth of a second), set standards in precision. Starting in 1959, the Longines brand used high-beat movements to increase the accuracy of its watches. Thanks to the reduction of disruptive effects, the fast-beating caliber proved to be particularly stable.
The accuracy of the Longines Ultra-Chron is confirmed by its certification as an “Ultra-Chronometer” by TIMELAB, an independent Geneva-based testing laboratory. This distinction goes beyond the usual “Chronometer” certification. The “Ultra-Chronometer” procedure tests the watch head and subjects the finished product to a 15-day inspection. In these the watch is subjected to a series of tests at three temperatures (8 0 C, 23 0 C and 38 0 C) to confirm that it meets the strict precision criteria (ISO 3159:2009 standard).
The Longines Ultra-Chron is available with either a leather or steel bracelet and comes in a special watch box with a black NATO strap made of recycled material.
The new Longines Ultra-Chron will appeal to all watch lovers who are passionate about cult timepieces from one of the most innovative eras of watchmaking. But it will also find numerous new fans who like to wear a piece of watchmaking history on their wrist.
With its centuries-old watchmaking know-how, the Longines brand has been a pioneer of numerous technical developments. Today, it continues to bear witness to an unstoppable spirit of innovation. The constant quest for excellence has led Longines to equip all of its automatic timepieces with top-of-the-range movements featuring a silicon balance spring. This material is not only particularly light and corrosion-resistant, it is also insensitive to conventional temperature variations and magnetic fields. Its unique properties improve the accuracy and longevity of a watch. They allow Longines to offer a 5-year warranty on these models.
The history of Longines high frequency watches
More than 100 years of experience in manufacturing high-frequency timepieces have made Longines the leading expert in professional timekeeping and sports watches. The fast-pulsating movements are capable of measuring to the tenth or hundredth of a second. Moreover, they have proven to be extremely accurate. Over the years, Longines has developed a wide range of stopwatches, chronographs, and chronometers with high beat rates.
1914: Stopwatch with 5-Hz high-frequency movement and drag-seconds hand [KAL. 19.73N]
As early as 1914, Longines used high-frequency movements, accurate to a tenth of a second, in its hand-held stopwatches for timekeeping at sporting events. Powered by the caliber 19.73N with a balance oscillating at 36,000 beats per hour, this chronograph proved extremely successful in sports, military, and medical applications. The model shown is equipped with a sweep seconds hand, a modification introduced by Longines in 1922. To improve reading of the tenth of a second, the chronograph hand rotates once around the dial in 30 seconds. The 15-minute counter is located on the subdial at 12 o’clock.
1916: Stopwatch with 50 Hz high frequency movement to measure to the hundredth of a second [KAL. 19.73N]
In 1916, Longines is able to measure to the hundredth of a second. Based on the modified 19.73N caliber, the engineers in Saint-Imier increase the speed of the balance to 360,000 beats per hour. This enables the exact reading of the hundredth of a second. To achieve this, the chronograph hand flies back across the dial to its original position in just three seconds. The scale on the edge of the dial is divided into very small hundredths of a second increments. At 12 o’clock, there is an instantaneous minute counter that can measure up to three minutes.
1938: High frequency ski timer (5 Hz) with drag second hand [KAL. 24 LINIEN]
With the increasing importance of sporting events, Longines was repeatedly appointed as the official timekeeper. In 1938, Longines develops a larger and more accurate movement: the 24Lines movement. This chronograph is constructed based on a navigation chronometer (cal. 24.99). The ski race timepiece shown here (from 1939) ticks at 36,000 beats per hour to measure a tenth of a second. The chronograph hand completes one rotation in 30 seconds, making it easier to read fractions of a second.
This professional three-pusher stopwatch, equipped with a second sweep seconds hand and 30-minute recording, is encased in a Staybrite steel case. The movement is regulated in three positions and causes a sensation at the Neuchätel Observatory with its high accuracy. Longines produces a variant of this caliber for measurement to the hundredth of a second.
1957: Professional high-frequency, split-seconds chronograph with tenths of a second measurement [KAL. 260]
Improving the 24-line caliber of 1938, Longines launches a chronograph of the same size in 1957 with a 30-minute counter and a system for stopping the balance. This professional instrument still features minute and hour hands. However, it can also measure tenths of a second thanks to its high-frequency movement (36,000 vibrations per hour). It has a flyback function and a sweep seconds hand. The 1966 model pictured has a special chronograph hand with a so-called vernier scale: There are nine “teeth” at its end. When the hand is stopped, each of the teeth stops exactly on one of the seconds markers on the dial. The number at the bottom of the tooth indicates the number of tenths of a second.
1959: First high-frequency wristwatch Observatory Chronometer [KAL. 360]
In the 1950s, the Longines brand is convinced that scientific efforts must be stepped up in order to maintain its competitiveness. Following the technical drawings of August 1958, Longines is ready to present the first high-frequency movement for a wristwatch in 1959. E is the Caliber 360, oscillating at 36,000 beats per hour, handmade and regulated for the chronometer competitions of the observatories. This technical milestone is produced in a series of 200 pieces from 1959 to 1963. The rectangular movement considerably improves the accuracy and wins first and second place in the Neuchâtel Observatory precision competition in 1961 – and first, second and third place the following year. The daily deviation is at or even below one tenth of a second.
1966: Ultra-Chron, the precise wristwatch with high beat rate [KAL. 431]
In the 1960s, Longines engineers worked on a mechanical movement that could rival the accuracy of the new electronic watches. Thanks to their experience in timekeeping and with observatory chronometers, they know that high-frequency watches offer greater consistency between vertical and horizontal positions and have a smaller drop in amplitude over the course of a day, making them even more accurate. The obstacles are a lower power reserve and problems with lubrication. Longines finds the solution with the caliber 431 (with patented dry lubrication). Therefore, they guarantee an amazing accuracy of one minute per month or two seconds per day. Since the model is far more accurate than a chronometer certified by the COSC (Contröle Officiel Suisse des Chronométres), it is given the name Ultra-Chron. Longines registered the name in October 1966. The first Ultra-Chrons were sold in the United States in December 1966.
1968: Ultra-Chron Diver, the first watch with high beat frequency under water [KAL. 431]
In 1967, Longines designed a sporty version of the Ultra-Chron: a diver’s watch with a luminous red minute hand, water-resistant to 200 meters. In early 1968, it is the first high-frequency diving watch and probably the most accurate, powered by the unique Caliber 431. As with all UltraChron models, Longines guarantees a rate accuracy of one minute per month, equivalent to two seconds per day. The tonneau-shaped watch is equipped with a calendar mechanism and a rotating bezel, which allows divers to determine their dive times. To ensure readability in murky water, the indexes on the dial, the triangle on the bezel and even the tip of the second hand (on the first series) are filled with tritium.
Sports timekeeping with high-frequency instruments from Longines.
Thanks to its highly accurate and reliable timepieces, the Longines brand has been repeatedly asked to time some of the most important and prestigious sports competitions around the world. This honorable task motivates Longines to this day to increase the precision and accuracy of its watches and to develop ever better timekeeping devices.
As early as 1878, the Longines brand developed its first chronograph movement, which was soon installed in a case engraved with the jockey and horse. These stopwatches can be found on American racetracks in the 1880s. Here they are very popular with both jockeys and racegoers. In 1912, the brand goes a step further and takes on its first official partnership with a show jumping tournament in Lisbon, Portugal. Over the years, Longines is responsible for timekeeping at thousands of equestrian events. To time the closely spaced competitors, the Saint-Imier-based brand produces stopwatches with drag-second hands and high-frequency movements. These are accurate to a tenth or hundredth of a second. Thanks to this history and its know-how, the Longines brand is now involved in equestrian sports in the disciplines of show jumping, dressage and flat racing.
Skiing on snowy mountain slopes is one of the most popular sports in Longines’ home country, Switzerland. In 1924, the brand took over the timekeeping at the “International Week of Winter Sports” in Chamonix (France). A few years later, the timepieces from Saint Imier are used at the World Ski Championships at the same venue. In 1939, Longines presented a ski timekeeper with a fast-pulsing movement and a drag-seconds hand indicating the tenth of a second. For the military ski championships in Crans-Montana (Switzerland) in 1945, Longines introduces a light barrier with photocells on the finish line. In 1948, Longines is chosen to time the legendary Kandahar downhill in Sankt Anton (Austria). The organizers of the 1950 World Ski Championships in Aspen (USA) choose Longines as the official timekeeper. Today, Longines is the Official Partner and Official Timekeeper of the FIS Ski World Cup Tour and the FIS Ski World Championships and continues to time the most famous ski races of the FIS Ski World Cup, including the downhill races in Kitzbühel (Austria) or Lauberhorn Wengen (Switzerland).
International rally sport
In January 1949, cars from all over Europe take part in the first edition of the Monte-Carlo Rally after the Second World War. Timekeeping is entrusted to Longines, a task that the brand fulfills for more than 30 years. In 1955, the Saint-Imier brand launches a special pinhole device called Printogines. Equipped with a watch with a power reserve of 8 days, it allows participants to stamp their own control card at each checkpoint of the more than 5,000 km route. The reliable and robust device determines the official winning times based on the checkpoints recorded by the riders. It is proving so useful that it is being used to time all the prestigious rallies of its day – including the Coupe des Alpes, the RAC Rally in the UK, the TAP Rally in Portugal, the Thousand Lakes in Finland, as well as the Acropolis Rally in Greece and the Rally de Cöte d’Ivoire in Africa.
In 1951, Longines was asked to time the world’s most important cycling race, the Tour de France. The race across France provides an excellent opportunity to test a new system: it combines a camera at the finish line with a device that records each participant’s time on film. This timing system solves the problem of photo finishes, in which closely spaced competitors reach the finish line almost simultaneously. The former president of the French cycling federation, Jean Pitallier, personally takes charge of the timing at each edition of the Tour de France from 1973 to 1980, using a pair of Longines high frequency drag stopwatches (ref. 7411). Longines is the official timekeeper of the Tour de France until 1982, but its commitment to cycling goes far beyond that: from 1954 to 1988, Longines takes charge of timekeeping 28 times at track and road world championships – as well as at such prestigious events as the Giro d’ltalia and the Vuelta in Spain.
In 1949, Longines introduces a timing system for car races that records tenths of a second using a series of photographs. It is so convincing that the International Automobile Federation certifies it in 1950. In the same year, the inaugural season of Formula One, Longines takes charge of timekeeping at the famous Monaco Grand Prix and the Indianapolis 500 in the United States, as well as at Formula One races in Barcelona (Spain), Buenos Aires (Argentina), Spa (Belgium), Zandvoort (Netherlands) and Bern (Switzerland), and at numerous other racing events in the years that follow. In 1954, Longines develops the Chronotypogines, which use a sensor to automatically start and stop time. This system is soon adopted by the International Automobile Federation. In 1980, Longines (together with Olivetti) launches a new method that uses radio waves to measure time for each individual vehicle. This leads to Longines assuming the role of official timekeeper for all Formula 1 races from 1982 to 1992.
Longines has been based in Saint-Imier, Switzerland, since 1832 and has a wealth of watchmaking expertise steeped in tradition, elegance, and excellence. Longines’ many years of experience as a timekeeper at world championships and as a partner to international federations have enabled it to forge close and lasting ties with the world of sport. The company is famous for the elegance of its timepieces and is part of the Swatch Group AG, the world’s leading manufacturer of products in the watch segment. The brand with the winged hourglass in its logo is present in over 150 countries.