Longines draws inspiration from the golden days of railway transportation to create its latest timepiece from the Heritage collection – the Longines RailRoad.
Rail was a major mode of transport in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. To ensure that rail services ran efficiently, punctuality was key. With this in mind, a precise and top-quality timepiece became an essential piece of equipment.
It wasn’t long before the watchmaking expertise of Longines gained momentum and popularity amongst railway companies all over the world.
Railway employees, from China to Chile to Canada, all relied on the synchronised timepieces from Longines to prevent railway accidents and minimise travel delays.
A PRECISION TIMEPIECE, REVIVED
This rich history in watchmaking and transportation proved to be the inspiration for the 2016 Longines RailRoad from the Heritage collection.
Like the other classic, vintage-inspired timepieces from the collection, this watch takes a page from a model developed in the 1960s for a Canadian rail company.
Currently on display at its museum in Saint-Imier, Switzerland, the original Longines RailRoad timepiece was worn by railwaymen and fulfilled specific requirements in terms of aesthetics, quality and accuracy.
ALWAYS ON TIME
The new Longines RailRoad model is almost identical to its predecessor in that it features the letters “RR”, which stand for Rail Road, on its dial. And, like the original, the new model boasts an elegant black alligator strap. But there are a few differences between the two models.
For one, the new timepiece has a 40mm dial, unlike the original whose dial measured 35mm. Second, the complimentary indication “280” that was seen on the original dial and referred to the timepiece’s calibre of movement, has been replaced by the inscription “888” on the reissued model – which is a nod to the ETA movement that drives the watch.
Other notable features of the updated Longines RailRoad model include the highly reliable L888.2 automatic winding calibre, produced exclusively for Longines, and an off- white polished dome dial that displays an hour circle composed of large black Arabic numerals – with a 0 instead of a 12 – plus a 24-hour scale subtly enhanced by shiny black hands.
A minute ring enhances the reading of the time, while the back of the watch shows a finely worked engraving inspired from the original decorations that adorned pocket watches designed for railway companies in the 1920s.
The final result is a charming timepiece that remains faithful to the aesthetics and spirit of the original yet suitably updated for the modern world.
currently on display
at the Longines
Museum in SaintImier,
HOW RAILROADS CREATED THE FIRST TIME ZONES
Before the late 1800s, time of day was strictly a local matter, with most cities and towns using some form of local solar time, maintained by a prominent clock in the area, such as on a church steeple.
But then railway travel came into the picture, reducing the travel time between cities from days or months to mere hours. To avoid scheduling problems and make railway timetables easier to understand, railway companies agreed to do away with local time zones and switch to using four continental time zones instead – Eastern, Central, Mountain and Pacific.
Thanks to this more uniform time-keeping system, railway efficiency and reliability improved tremendously.