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Longines dial fonts and US market

  1. ulackfocus

    ulackfocus Jan 13, 2016

    It certainly is a redial. The "17 JEWELS" and the horrible spacing give it away.
  2. Syrte

    Syrte Aug 31, 2016

    An update to this thread, I have queried Longines and Italian collectors on O&P about this question.
    Someone on the Italian forum is saying dials were manufactured in the US back in the days Wittnauer was casing movements in the US.
    Does anyone have any knowledge of that? (the person saying that is not one of OP's long time members or resident experts on Longines).

    As for Longines, there's an on going conversation and I'll report a bit later-- but it seems it's not strictly dials made for the American market.
    jimmyjay and Warthog like this.
  3. Syrte

    Syrte Sep 4, 2016

    Greetings, so I heard back from Longines on this discussion. A fellow Longines enthusiast had put me in touch with their chief historian, Stéphanie Lachat, and I had asked her if there had been a sans-serif font used on dials for the American market.

    We had a couple backs and forths about it, and the short answer confirms what Tony C. was essentially saying: the sans serif font comes from the 1940 Longines logo as it was registered with "WIPO" (World Intellectual Property Organization) - "OMPI" in French (Organisation Mondiale de la Propriété Intellectuelle).

    What's interesting is that Ms. Lachat said the logo was then used on "ALL Longines watches" - without a specific distinction for the US market.
    I then asked her whether one must assume their apparently high number on the US market simply means that new watches during those war years were predominantly marketed on the US market. I also asked her, how come one finds so many dials with serifs on so many watches throughout the 1940s. Her answer is in her latest email below.
    I'm including both - French original with my translation.
    However I'm not sure how to do a screen grab of the page - so the formatting got lost in the shuffle.
    I've edited out a couple of sentences on an off point subject -- and the emphasis added is mine.

    TRANSLATION /The sans serif font you are evoking is that of the Longines logo as it is registered with the World International Property Organization in 1940. It is then used on all Longines watches, without a specificity for the American market.
    I am sending via separate message a history of our logo.

    Best regards, xxx

    Dear Madam, indeed, as you suggest, the adoption of the 1940 "sans serif" logo was not immediately carried over on all watches.
    One can reasonably think that existing dial stocks with the older logo were put to use even after the adoption of the new logo.
    You have observed that the 1940 "sans serif" logo can be found in the United States on watches produced for export.
    At this time, we have not been able to find in our archives any indication relating to the sans serif logo being used in a way restricted to the US market. However, it is true that the US market constitutes the dominant market of the brand starting at the end of the 1930s and throughout the 1940s we are more specifically considering here.

    Best regards,

    Ms. Lachat sent me a logo history consistent with the one @Tony C. posted (not sure how to post a "tif" file).
    What's interesting is that it suggests the 1940 logo registration with WIPO is still active.
    This is consistent with the fact it can be found on more recent watches.

    For example in Goldberger there's a gold-filled chronograph with 1940 logo which was produced in 1952.
    (it looks exactly like the one @DirtyDozen12 posted above).
    I'm assuming some of those later watches again may have been made from previous dial stocks.

    Edit / add - I did not query her to explain the differences @DirtyDozen12 has observed between the dial font and the 1940 company logo. I guess there may just be slight differences between the registered logo and its execution on dials -- and that what's dispositive for dials, obviously, is the logo's appearance on correct dials.
    Edited Sep 4, 2016
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  4. Darlinboy

    Darlinboy Pratts! Will I B******S!!! Sep 4, 2016

    Excellent information @Syrte and thank you for first digging it up, and then for sharing it here. :thumbsup:

    Longines seems much more accessable and amenable to engage regarding the brand's history, at least to you. :p
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  5. Tony C.

    Tony C. Ωf Jury member Sep 4, 2016

    Thanks for the interesting update, @Syrte.

    Longines (historical/vintage) customer support is by far the best in the industry, and I hope that the company does receive some tangible benefit from the good will that it generates as a result.
    Warthog, noelekal, valjoux72 and 2 others like this.
  6. dodo44

    dodo44 Sep 4, 2016

    Thanks Syrte for looking into this; this is a very valuable piece of information! It makes sense for Longines to have a strong historical department to build their heritage line and dig up undiscovered vintage models that they can take inspiration from (they have a VERY deep vintage catalog).

    There has been a lot of heritage hype from other Swiss brands over the past several years but often without much substance. No brand is truer to its words than Longines. They are genuinely interested in their heritage. Kudos to them! As things shake up in Switzerland with the retraction of various markets, some brands should take inspiration from Longines for growing a brand on strong foundations and making watches that people want at an accessible price point.
    Warthog, Darlinboy, Syrte and 2 others like this.