Certina Watch Serial Numbers
Stainless steel case with a brown leather strap. Fixed stainless steel bezel. Silver dial with luminous rose gold-tone hands and index hour markers. Arabic numerals mark the 3, 9 and 12 o'clock positions. Dial Type: Analog. Luminescent hands.
Date display at the 6 o'clock position. Quartz movement. Scratch resistant sapphire crystal. Pull / push crown. Solid case back. Case size: 38 mm.
Case thickness: 9 mm. Round case shape. Band width: 21 mm. Water resistant at 100 meters / 330 feet. Functions: date, hour, minute, second. Casual watch style.
Watch label: Swiss Made. Certina DS Caimano Quartz Silver Dial Brown Leather Men's Watch C701. Stainless steel case with a brown leather strap. Fixed stainless steel bezel.
Black dial with luminous hands and index hour markers. Minute markers around the outer rim. Dial Type: Analog.
Luminescent hands and markers. Day of the week and date display at the 3 o'clock position. ETA 2836-2 automatic movement with a 40-hour power reserve. Scratch resistant sapphire crystal.
Pull / push crown. Transparent case back. Case size: 38 mm. Round case shape. Water resistant at 100 meters / 330 feet.
Functions: date, day, hour, minute, second. Casual watch style.
Watch label: Swiss Made. Certina DS 4 Day-Date Automatic Men's Watch C022.430.16.081.00. Silver-tone stainless steel case with a black leather strap. Fixed silver-tone stainless steel bezel. Black dial with silver-tone hands and index hour markers.
Minute markers around the outer rim. Dial Type: Analog.
Date display at the 6 o'clock position. ETA Caliber 2671 automatic movement with a 38-hour power reserve. Scratch resistant sapphire crystal.
Transparent case back. Case size: 30 mm. Case thickness: 11.2 mm. Round case shape.
Butterfly clasp. Water resistant at 100 meters / 330 feet. Functions: date, hour, minute, second.
Casual watch style. Watch label: Swiss Made. Item Variations: C100.
Certina DS 1 Lady Automatic Black Dial Ladies Watch C006.207.16.051.00. Stainless steel case with a brown leather strap. Fixed stainless steel bezel. Silver dial with luminous rose gold-tone hands and index hour markers. Arabic numerals mark the 6 and 12 o'clock positions. Minute markers around the outer rim. Dial Type: Analog.
Date display at the 3 o'clock position. 24 hour globe display sub-dial. Quartz movement.
Scratch resistant sapphire crystal. Screw down crown. Solid case back. Round case shape.
Case size: 41 mm. Case thickness: 10.4 mm. Band width: 20 mm. Fold over clasp with a push button release. Water resistant at 100 meters / 330 feet. Functions: GMT, second time zone, hour, minute, second, date. Casual watch style.
Watch label: Swiss Made. Certina DS Podium Silver Dial Men's Watch C034.455.16.037.01.
Stainless steel case with a brown leather strap. Fixed stainless steel bezel. Brown dial with luminous silver-tone hands and index hour markers. Roman numerals mark the 3, 6, 9 and 12 o'clock positions. Minute markers around the outer rim.
Dial Type: Analog. Luminescent hands and markers. Date display between the 4 and 5 o'clock positions. ETA 2824-2 automatic movement with a 38-hour power reserve. Scratch resistant sapphire crystal. Push / pull crown. Skeleton case back.
Case size: 39 mm. Case thickness: 9 mm. Round case shape. Band width: 20 mm. Water resistant at 100 meters / 330 feet. Functions: date, hour, minute, second. Casual watch style.
Watch label: Swiss Made. Certina DS 1 Automatic Brown Dial Men's Watch C800.
Longines Factory and the River SuzeIn March 1866 Ernest Francillon bought two plots of land and an old mill on the right bank of the river Suze in St-Imier at a place called 'Les Longines', meaning 'the long meadows'. The riverside location was important because there was no electrical grid at the time, and there was no railway to St-Imier to bring coal for a steam engine, so hydraulic power was needed to drive machinery. The land bought by Francillon included an ancient water mill, the river Suze had been diverted from its natural channel to create a fall to dive the mill wheel.A new factory was built. The building was finished in spring 1867 and a ten horsepower water wheel with horizontal shaft to drive machinery in the factory was installed. All of the workers making watch parts were brought together under one roof. Initially the watchmakers used traditional techniques and hand tools as the necessary machinery, which could not be bought because it did not exist, was created by Francillon and David and a new recruit, Edouard Chatelain; an old watchmaker who understood machines but was a difficult character to work with.The Longines watch brand was born.
The Longines headquarters and museum are still there today, in a beautiful location just outside the town of St-Imier amongst rolling countryside and wooded hills. The image shows part of the current Longines building with hills in the background and the river Suze in the foreground.The river Suze looks too small to provide a serious amount of power, but by using the fall that had been created for the mill wheel, later supplemented by a dam that allowed water to accumulate while the factory was not at work, enough power was generated to drive the machinery. In 1874 St-Imier was connected to the Swiss rail network which meant that coal could be transported cheaply and steam power was introduced.From the outset Francillon was determined to create high quality stem wound watches with lever escapements. The vast majority of watches made in Switzerland at the time had cylinder escapements, but Francillon knew that the American factories had never made cylinder movements. They were turning out large numbers of movements with jewelled lever escapements, and he was determined to compete with them on technology, quality and price.The first Longines movement, produced in 1867, was the 20 ligne calibre 20A with lever escapement and stem winding and setting. This was probably a development of a calibre produced by the Comptoir, but it was the first to have stem winding and setting. It was given an award at the Universal Exposition in Paris in the same year.
Although Francillon wanted to concentrate on stem wound and set watches, Longines also continued to make key wound and set movements for a number of years.Back to the of the page. Swiss MechanisationLongines became one of the most important Swiss watch manufacturers, pioneering the use of automatic machines to mass produce interchangeable parts. Letter in Horological Journal 1885. To read the letter in full click on the picture orA letter was published in the Horological Journal of July 1885 that gives an interesting insight into the Longines factory at the time. The beginning of the letter is shown in the image here, clicking on the image or the link will take you to a transcript of the full letter.The letter says the factory at Longines was founded in 1866 for the production of watches by machinery on the 'gauged and interchangeable' principle. This is interesting because it gives an insight into how mass production was organised before full interchangeability was achieved.The fundamental problem with making mass produced items is making the parts to such accuracy that any part will fit where it is intended to go without any further work.
This gets more difficult as the parts get smaller and the allowable errors in the dimensions, called tolerances, get tighter. Automatic machines can be created to machine hundreds or thousands of parts that are ostensibly identical, but as the cutting tools wear the dimensions of the parts will vary. This is less of a problem today because tools are made from steel alloys or carbides that are very wear resistant, but in the nineteenth century tools were made from hardened carbon steel and wear was a severe problem.In a watch the most demanding point of fitting is the pivots of the train wheel arbors in their bearings. The difference between a good fit and a poor one is measured in hundredths or even thousandths of a millimetre. When watches were made by hand, the fit was established by trial rather than measurement, the worker would turn down the pivot until it would nearly enter the hole, and then would remove small amounts until it went in and 'felt right'. But this was not possible when machines were used to make parts automatically that needed to fit without any extra work.To overcome the problem of tool wear producing batches of parts with differing sizes, accurate gauges were used to sort the parts into batches of the same nominal size.
The parts could then be matched to the other items they were meant to fit. For instance, a machine would be set up to machine pivots of a certain size. As the tool wore the parts would be measured until a limit was reached when the machine would be stopped and re-set. The parts that were produced would be gauged and divided into, say, small, medium and large.
These would then be matched with plates that had pivot holes drilled in them, and as the drill wore the holes had gone from the initial largest diameter through medium to the smallest allowed before the drill was changed for a fresh one.One of the consequences of this was that the serial numbers of the movements became important when spares were needed. Details of the movement were recorded, such as that it had been large pivots. When an order came in for a replacement part, the serial number was checked and the records consulted, so that a part from the correct size range could be set out. This was not full interchangeability, it is called 'selective assembly', but it was fully automatic production.Back to the of the page. Geneva Exhibition 1896.
Geneva Exhibition 1896Longines exhibited at the Swiss National Exhibition in Geneva 1896. This was reported in the trade paper under the heading shown here. The phrase 'Hors concours' translates literally as 'out of the competition', which means that the company was excluded from competing for a prize because it was without equal or unrivalled. The implication is that if Longines had been allowed to compete, no other manufacturer would have been awarded a prize because there would have been none left!Longines are the only manufacturer to have been awarded 10 'Grand Prix' at international exhibitions, and 29 gold medals. This lead to the marketing phrase 'The world's most honoured watch'. If they had not been excluded from competitions, no doubt this would have been more.The report continued.
Longines Logo, the winged hour glassLongines' trademark of a 'winged hourglass' dates back to 1867 and was registered in 1874 when a system of registration was introduced in Switzerland. It is one of the oldest registered trademarks for a watchmaker still in existence. Two versions of this are shown here, an early form from 1886 at the top and a modern version at the bottom. The older version shows the wings more clearly, the modern version at the bottom has abstracted them the point where it is difficult to see them as wings unless you know that is what they are supposed to be. The modern version perhaps shows the hourglass more clearly, with two horizontal lines showing the levels of sand in the top and bottom parts.Francillon was proud of the Longines brand name and the winged hour glass logo.
When the Swiss trademark registration law was introduced in 1880 the name Longines was registered with the Federal Office of Intellectual Property. In 1893 the Longines name and winged hour glass logo were filed with the United International Bureaux for the Protection of Intellectual Property, the forerunner of the World Intellectual Property Organization WIPO. Today Longines is the oldest brand name registered with the WIPO that is still in use unchanged.Back to the of the page.
Longines on the DialLongines movements were always finished to a high standard. For most markets they usually have a conventional appearance; the brass parts are nickel plated, which gives them a grey metallic colous, the winding wheels are visible, the screws are polished but not blued, and they carry the Longines name and logo on the movement, and the Longines name on the dial.
The finish and branding for the British market was quite different.In the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries it was usual in Britain for watches to be branded, if they were branded at all, with the name of the. This was a requirement of British retailers; the names of foreign manufacturers were simply not allowed on the goods they stocked. As a consequence of this, almost all Swiss watches imported into Britain until the 1920s were unsigned on the dial and movement. If any name appeared on the dial, it was the name of the British retailer, e.g.
Harrods, Asprey. These names were usually added to the dial in, which is nothing like as durable as the vitreous enamel of the dial itself and has often become badly worn or disappeared altogether.From the very beginning in 1877, when Longines watches were first imported by Baume & Co., Longines movements for the British market were given an increasingly ‘English’ appearance to make them look more like traditional English watches, and so more acceptable to British customers. This included a ‘frosted and gilded’ finish to the plates. Frosting is a fine matt finish given to the brass plates, bridges and cocks, which are then gilded or gold plated. The winding wheels, the crown and ratchet wheel, were usually concealed below the barrel bridge, and the screws heads were blued. All these details were typical of high class English work.Another feature of Longines watches imported into Britain before the late 1920s is that they don't have the name Longines on the dial.
I have seen some early pocket watch movements that have the Longines winged hour glass logo on the movement, sometimes also with the Longines name on the movement, but never with the Longines name on the dial. By which I mean the name in and not simply painted on, which has invariably been done later.
Baume Advert 1911: Click to Enlarge.The advert by Baume & Co. From the Horological Journal of 1911 reproduced here is evidence of this practice. Longines watches were very highly regarded by the watch and jewellery trade in Britain, and took numerous top places in observatory competitions. But the advert says that they are supplied “without any distinctive name or mark except that of the retailer”.
This is not something that Baume or Longines wanted to do. If the Longines name were put prominently onto the watches, British retailers would simply refuse to order them. Baume and Longines were immensely proud of the quality of their watches, but they were also pragmatic; they needed to 'shift product' in order to make a sales and a profit.
Given the intransigence of the British retailers, they made a virtue out of necessity and made it clear in advertising like this that they were willing, even if they were not happy about it, to supply watches without branding.The earliest Longines watch that I have seen which has British import hallmarks, showing that it was sold in Britain, and which has the Longines name on the dial dates to around 1929. If you have an earlier watch with Longines on the dial, by which I mean the name in fired vitreous enamel and not simply painted on, which has invariably been done later, then please let me know.Back to the of the page. Mappin „Campaign”. Mappin „Campaign” Fired onto DialThe first 'Campaign' wristwatches sold by by the British jewellers Mappin & Webb were fob watches in leather wristlets. Adverts by Mappin & Webb during the Great War state that their 'Campaign' watch was first used in great numbers at Omdurman. The battle of Omdurman was fought on 2 September 1898 when a British army commanded by General Sir Herbert Kitchener defeated the army of Abdullah al-Taashi as part of British efforts to re-conquer the Sudan.Mappin continued to use the Campaign name for many years.
During the Great War many Mappin Campaign wristwatches were fitted with Longines movements and had the legend Mappin „Campaign” on the dial. The use of the low left double quotation mark is a sign that this legend was not put on in the UK.The dial shown here is from a wristwatch with a Longines 13.34ZZ movement. This dial has been through an ultrasonic clean, which is interesting because the name words Mappin and Campaign have not been affected. This is because the words are vitreous enamel fired into the enamel of the dial, the same as the tracks and numerals, not painted on later with enamel paint as is usually the case with British retailer's names. This shows that the name was put on in Switzerland by the dial maker as the dial was being made. Longines told me that the requirement for this dial is recorded in their archives showing that the watch left the St Imier factory in 1916 with this branding on the dial.Longines watches supplied to other countries often had Longines fired onto the dial.
From the mid-1920s this began to be accepted in Britain. The earliest Longines watch I have with the name enamelled onto the dial, in a semi-circle above the small seconds, has London Assay Office import hallmarks for 1928 to 1929.Back to the of the page. Longines Watch MovementsOver the many years of its history, Logines produced many different movement calibres. Patrick Linder's book (Ref. 2) lists many of them. It is a monumental book, weighting in at over 4kg, which makes it physically quite difficult to read, as well as being a bit dry in the subject matter.
But even this huge work also doesn't list every calibre that Longines made. I am not going to even think about showing examples of every Longines movement in this section, I intend to highlight just a few.Until about 1930, Longines movements were identified by their size in lignes and then a unique number. For example, the number 13.34 identifies a 13 ligne movement calibre that was first introduced in 1910. The 13 before the decimal point is the line size, the 34 after the line size is the unique number and doesn't mean any else.Back to the of the page. Early Longines Pocket Watch.
Longines Calibre 19B Movement: Click to enlargeThe pocket watch shown in the images here is an early Longines watch. The serial number is 94,237 which, according to the table at the foot of this page, puts its date of manufacture at around 1875.The watch has a key wound and set 15 jewel Longines calibre 19B movement, with right angle lever escapement and club tooth escape wheel. This calibre was first produced by Longines in 1872 as one of three closely related versions of a 19' movement, referred to as 19B, 19M and 19V. Although Francillon wanted to abandon key winding, problems with stem winding, possibly in producing sufficient quantities of the keyless work components to keep up with production, meant that the 19B and 19M were key wound.
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Vintage Certina Ds
The 19V was stem wound.When I got the watch the bow, the ring at the top of the pendant, was made of brass. This was a replacement for the original sterling silver bow that was worn though by the swivel clip used to attach it to the owner's Albert chain, which itself was attached to a waistcoat button hole for safety. Many pocket watches of this age have had their bows replaced because of wear from the swivel clip.How do I know that the original bow was sterling silver? Because the Assay Office would not hallmark the case without the bow, and they would not hallmark unless all parts were made of sterling silver, including the inner case, which is not shown here but is hallmarked. The bow would have had a 'part hallmark', the sponsor's mark and the lion passant of sterling silver.
I have made a new bow in sterling silver, which has been hallmarked with my sponsor's mark and the English lion passant standard mark, just like the original would have been.The inside case back has London Assay Office hallmarks for sterling silver with the date letter 'B' for the hallmarking year 1877 to 1878. Hallmark date letters span two calendar years because the punches were changed when new wardens were elected. At the London Assay Office after the restoration this took place on 29 May, the birthday of King Charles II, and also the day that he returned to London in 1660.
So this watch was hallmarked at Goldsmiths' Hall in London between 29 May 1877 and 28 May 1878. Longines 13.56 movement: Click to enlargeThis is the movement from a Longines wristwatch with a Borgel case. The case has London Assay Office import hallmarks for sterling silver, the date letter 'p' for the year to 1910 to 1911, remember that date letters span two calendar years. The sponsor's mark is the AB in cameo within a rectangular surround of Baume & Co. Longines informed me that the watch was invoiced to Baume on 17 February 1911.
Even though the watch is well over 100 years old you can see what an excellent job the Borgel case has done in protecting the movement.Interestingly there is no indication of the manufacturer visible. The only markings are Swiss Made, 18 Jewels, Fast Slow, and 13.56, the Longines calibre reference. This watch was imported at a time when British retailers did not allow manufacturers, with very few exceptions, to make their name visible.
The movement has also been customised for the British market, with concealed winding wheels, frosted and gilded plates and bridges, and blued screws.For an extra bit of 'eye candy' the top jewel bearings for the centre, third and fourth wheels are set in gold chatons that are held in place by small screws. This is purely for visual effect, the corresponding jewels in the bottom plate are rubbed in, as was usual at the time, which you can see from the image of the bottom plate.
For more about jewel bearings in watches, see.The calibre 13.56 was first manufactured in 1891. It was made in at least two forms, one with a single bridge for the third, fourth and escape wheels, the other with three separate cocks as in the example here. This movement has a jewelled straight line Swiss lever escapement, cut bimetallic compensation balance with gold timing screws, and a steel balance spring with a Breguet overcoil.This movement is jewelled to the centre wheel, with end or cap stones for the escape wheel. The top end stone for the escape wheel is held in the polished steel setting screwed to the end of the escape wheel cock.
Both the top and bottom pivots of the escape wheel have end stones, only the top bearing of the centre wheel is jewelled. This gives of a jewel count three greater than the usual 'fully jewelled' 15, making a total of 18 jewels, as engraved on the top plate.Only top bearing of the centre wheel is jewelled, the use of a single jewel bearing rather than two is is for practical reasons rather than for economy. The top bearing of the centre wheel takes a greater radial thrust from the mainspring barrel than the bottom bearing, because the centre pinion is closer to the top plate than the bottom plate. This usually causes the bearing in the top plate to wear more than the bearing in the bottom plate, so a jewel for the top bearing extends the life of the watch.
A jewel bearing in the bottom plate would not add much life because that bearing wears little, but would make it extremely difficult to remove the cannon pinion without breaking the jewel. In a watch with a jewelled top centre bearing, it is important to support the centre arbor when refitting the cannon pinion to avoid breaking the jewel.The watch is stem wound and set. The keyless work uses a rocking bar to change between winding and setting. In the image the rocking bar is in the normal winding position.
A pinion riding on the stem engages with a central wheel, the top and bottom teeth of which are visible in the image. The central wheel turns two wheels on opposite ends of the bar, the one to the left engages with the barrel to wind the mainspring, the one to the right engages with the minute wheel of the motion work to set the hands. The rocking bar mechanism is normally held in the winding position by the spring, and is moved into the hand setting position by a push piece, with a pin set in an olivette on the case near to the crown.Back to the of the page. Longines Calibre 13.81. Longines ArchiveLongines have a superb archive of hand written ledgers recording details of every movement produced between 1867 and 1969, a total of fifteen million movements. On my visit to the factory I went into the room where the ledgers are kept.
The image here shows one corner of the room, the shelves of ledgers line three walls of the room from floor to ceiling.A complete watch leaving the Longines factory up to the serial number 15,000,000 had the same serial number on the case and on the movement. After that the case and movement number were not necessarily the same. Today, only the case bears the serial number, not the movement. However, Longines also sold uncased movements with dials and hands, for example to the US agent (Longines Wittnauer) when the case was produced locally. When that happened the factory serial number is on the movement only, the case bearing a local reference number which is different.Over the period between 1867 and 1969 there were two world wars and several economic slowdowns, including the great crash of 1929 and the full blown recession of the 1930s.
Because the machines had to be carefully set up for each calibre, the Longines factory manufactured movements in batches in anticipation of demand. Although output could be adjusted in response to sales, a sharp unexpected downturn would inevitably mean that more movements had been produced than were immediately required, so some had to remain in stock for longer than usual. The serial number gives the date when the movement was manufactured, not when it was actually sent out from the factory. In times of slowdown a watch could remain in stock for several years and the dates of manufacture and dispatch be far apart.Many of the tables of Longines serial numbers published on the internet appear to be seriously in error. The table below is compiled from data in Ref. 1 and is broadly in accord with the dates of watches seen.
The achievement of each million movements made must have been a notable milestone worth recording. Longines Serial Numbers From 1867 to 1969YearMonthSerial No.YearMonthSerial No.186711922Oct4,04,214,524,75Oct5,075,2Feb1,05,51,25,71,5June6,01,7July7,0Jul2,0May8,02,2July9,02,5May10,02,7April11,0August3,0May12,03,2June13,03,5Feb14,03,7Feb15,000,000Back to the of the page. References. Longines, Daria Marozzi, Gianluigi Toselli, Edizioni Giada s.r.l., Bologna 1990. At the Heart of an Industrial Vocation - Longines Watch Movements (1832 - 2009), Patrick Linder, Editions des Longines, 2009.