Into Longines Antique Watch Repair Studio

On March 27, 2017, we ended the media itinerary of the Basel International Watch and Jewellery Show, and were invited to visit the Longines Watch Factory in Soymia. From Basel to Longines Watch Factory, it takes about 2 hours by car. From the city to the valley, the scenery we see is just like the scenery shown by various brands before, maybe it is the spring, the mountains and the green, Standing proudly, by the side of Songyuan, several farms are scattered occasionally, and sometimes they are clustered into a small village. They are not large, but they are very natural. Longines watch factory is in this lush green forest. There is a stream at the door. This stream flows to a hydroelectric power plant and the water is very clear.

Longines Watch Factory (from the Internet)

Longines

   Longines was first established in 1832. Its founder, Auguste Agassiz, founded the Agassi company in Soumea, which is the predecessor of Longines, and the brand was named Longines in 1867. After Agassiz’s nephew Ernest Francillon took over the business, he set up a manufacturing plant in ‘Les Longines’. ‘Les Longines’ means ‘narrow grassland’ locally, so Longines is also one of the very few brands in the Swiss watchmaking industry that are named after places. During this trip, in only a few hours, we looked back at the Longines watchmaking road in the past 100 years through the Longines Antique Watch Studio and Longines Museum. It was also a very real historical dialogue.
Discover Longines Antique Watch Repair Studio
   There are not a few brands in Switzerland with a long history of watchmaking, and one department that these brands must have is the antique watch repair department. History is the most important capital of these brands, and it is also a non-renewable scarce capital. They build the true soul of the brand, a brand that has never been broken, and history is especially lively. Longines’ antique watch repair department undertakes this mission. There are a total of 10 watchmakers. It repairs almost 3,000 antique watches a year, including repairs by guests and maintenance of watches in the museum.

Antique watch parts storage room

The original parts retained by Longines can be traced back to the beginning of the establishment of the watch factory: in a small room, the original parts of Longines from 1867 to 1984 are stored. Some of these parts are a complete set of movements. Some parts are dials, cases, hands and other appearance parts. Some of these accessories are over 100 years old. They are arranged according to the model of the movement, which is very easy to find. These original accessories are the most important basis for the restoration of Longines antique clocks. According to these accessories, Longines can make most of the longines antique watches come back to life. Of course, it must be used less and less.

Various original parts in an antique movement

There are also original pendulum shafts from 1867, and other core components such as shocks from different years.

   In the watch repair department, Longines retains complete accessories for nearly 15 years, some accessories for 30 years, and a large number of antique original accessories. Before 1984, Longines classified it as an antique watch series, because Longines was incorporated into the Swatch Group in 1983. Prior to this, Longines was a watch factory with strong self-production capabilities, except for its own movements. , Also used external movements, while providing movements externally, after 1983, Longines began to use the movements provided by ETA, since then, ETA gradually began to make exclusive movements for Longines. As an uninterrupted brand, Longines recorded all the watch data in the book very clearly at the earliest time, including not only production data such as movement and case, but also sales data and maintenance data. With these data, even if some antique watches do not have the original accessories, Longines can re-measure and make according to the data exactly the same products at that time.

Lathes of ancient clock parts

Longines has the ability to remake antique watch accessories: In addition, Longines retains a part of the original design drawings, dating back to 1940, and also has many of the earliest hand-made watch tools and small lathes. Longines can use these watches Watch tools, to make the corresponding antique watch accessories, its manufacturing methods and craftsmanship are almost the same as in the 19th century. These lathes are placed in the antique watch repair room, where the state of the antique watch can be restored to the greatest extent, but this must be agreed by the customer, because in the collection and auction markets, any trace may affect its value, especially the dial. These traces represent the vicissitudes of antique clocks for decades or even centuries. Once they have been repaired and erased, their value will drop significantly. One of the most important representative elements is the radioactive luminous material on the original disk. After a long period of decay of the radioactive material, its color changes. This is irreversible, and Longines will not refill radioactive luminous materials for these clocks. Once removed, it cannot be repaired. The external dial factory can use modern techniques to make the appearance consistent, but it can’t restore its true decay appearance, so it must be handled according to customer requirements.

Antique table radioactive material table

How much does it cost to repair an antique watch? And what ca n’t be fixed? Generally speaking, the repair price of an antique watch will be evaluated by the watch factory first. The basic price is 1200 Swiss francs, which is about 8400 yuan, which includes the cost of evaluation, repair and material parts, but this is a basic price. The situation of antique watches is complicated. If more parts need to be repaired and replaced, or even need to be remade, additional costs will be added. However, not all watches can be repaired. If you encounter an antique watch that cannot be repaired, Longines believes that it has a very important value. It must be special parts or special structures. This is especially important for Longines. Longines will negotiate with the customer to repurchase this antique watch or exchange it with a similar watch of the same age and equivalent value.

Detecting a Longines antique watch that has been repaired

  Fortunately, last month Longines received an antique watch numbered 335. This watch is the second oldest Longines watch currently available on the market. The first number is also more than 300. In the hands of Japanese collectors. At first, this antique watch could not be operated because of a malfunction. The owner thought it was of little value, and the cost of repair was very high, exceeding its own price. Therefore, Longines exchanged two gold watches from the owner This antique watch, number 335, has now been restored (then thought to be difficult to repair at the time) and is capable of operating. According to records, this antique watch was produced in 1867 and sold in 1867, which is strictly the first year of the establishment of Longines Watch Factory.

Detailed data for Form 335

   This antique watch repair room also provides watch brand certification services. These are based on Longines’ digital management of all data, and the computer can quickly query the original information of the watch.

Various tools for repairing antique and modern precious metal watches

Raw wire for repairing precious metal parts

The restoration of antique watches requires the cooperation of the jewelry department: In addition, Longines’ jewelry restoration department also provides restoration services for antique watches and modern watches. The precious metal case and bracelet are very valuable components, and because they are not small pieces, they are not suitable for replacement, especially antique watches. Therefore, the jewellery restoration department repairs this through traditional craftsmanship, which has a full range of raw materials. There was an antique ladies watch from the 1970s on the scene. It used a Milan woven gold bracelet. Because the bracelet was integrally formed at that time, the intercepted bracelet had to be sent to the jewelry department, retained its buckle, cut the middle bracelet, and re-welded with gold. To achieve a seamless, seamless integration. The manual fee is 500 Swiss francs, or about 3,500 yuan.

Hyundai Watch Repair Department Receives Longines watches from all over the world (area names are on the labels)

   And here, we also set up a modern watch repair department, a total of 30 watchmakers, repair watches from different countries and regions around the world, there are very complete modern watch parts, there is no need to worry about the problem of inability to repair . At the same time, polishing and cleaning the studio, cleaning the appearance of the watch models, so that it meets Longines standards.
Summary: The restoration of antique watches and clocks is a true restoration of the brand history. The brands we know today are polished from these past works. Whether they are in your hands or in a museum, they cannot be ignored. The antique watch repair studio is just such a special department that makes history more vivid.