New Longines’ league features American Gold Cup

Longings – the Swiss watchmaker that has been intimately associated with equestrian sports for 137 years — has announced the formation of the Longines FEI World Cup Jumping North American League.

The league, which bows on Aug. 6, features seven East Coast and seven West Coast events, including the American Gold Cup, to be held once again this fall at Old Salem Farm in North Salem.

Competing for points, 14 riders — the top seven from the East Coast, the top three from the West Coast and the two best finishers in Canada and in Mexico — will be among those qualifying for next year’s Longines FEI World Cup Jumping Final, to be held March 23-28 in Gothenburg, Sweden. (Longines will provide a dedicated timekeeping team and data handling service for each of the 14 qualifiers.) This year’s final takes place April 15 through 19 in Las Vegas.

Longines — the top partner and official watch and timekeeper of the FEI (Federation Equestre Internationale), the 94-year-old governing body of equestrian sports — has an equine history nearly as old as the company itself.  Since 1832, it has been based in the Swiss town of Saint-Imier, where for many years the “comptoir,” or trading office, was run by Auguste Agassiz.  In those days, watches were made under the “établissage” system, by craftsmen working at home.  That all changed in 1867 with the arrival of Ernest Francillon, Agassiz’s nephew and successor. The resulting Longines factory began creating pieces that were champions of a different sort.

In 1889, Francillon patented the Longines’ name with the winged hourglass that is now its logo. The brand — a member of the Swatch group, with outlets in more than 140 countries — continues its timekeeping tradition in archery, alpine skiing and gymnastics as well as at the French Open at Roland-Garros in Paris.

But it is with equestrian sports that Longines has perhaps its fondest association. In 1878, the company created a watch engraved with a jockey and his mount. Four years later, Longines watches, which enabled performances to be timed to the second, made their debut in the New York equestrian world.

Today Longines is also the title partner and official timekeeper and watch of the Longines FEI World Cup Jumping Western European League and the Longines FEI World Cup Jumping China League.

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