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Longines - Pouring rain didn’t stop Longines

Longines Pouring rain didn’t stop Longines

It was a rainy day at the 144th running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs in Louisville Kentucky on Saturday. That didn’t stop the horses from running.

The Kentucky Derby is the oldest continually running sporting event in American history. Since 1878, the races have run every single year no matter what the weather was on the first Saturday in May (the coldest day to date was 48 degrees), and despite the World Wars. This year was no different. While the mud and rain just made it all a bit messier, it didn’t affect the timing of the Derby one bit. In fact, the chronometer created by Longines -- the Official Timekeeper and the Official Watch of the Kentucky Derby since 2011 – clearly displayed in big bold numbers the winning horse’s time.

With about 160,000 people at Churchill Downs for the “fastest two minutes in sports” - the Longines clock read 2 minutes and 4-1/5 seconds when the 3-year-old colt, Justify, reached the finish line first.  Ridden by 52-year-old jockey Mike Smith, Justify is the second 3-year-old horse to ever win the Kentucky Derby without having run it when he was two years old.  The purse: a cool $2 million – not to mention that the owners of Justify also take home the solid gold Kentucky Derby Trophy, said to be valued at $200,000. 

The jockey, the trainer and the owners also receive Longines watches. The watch of choice: the Longines Conquest V.H.P. quartz-powered watch. Longines has a long history in quartz watches and clocks. In fact, in 1954 a quartz clock it made set records for precision at the Neuchatel Observatory.  The Conquest V.H.P. watch – equipped with a movement developed exclusively for Longines – is precise to plus/minus 5 seconds maximum per year. The 43mm watch gifted to the Derby winners is crafted in stainless steel with a steel bracelet, alluring blue dial, red accents, and a date indication. Water resistant to 50 meters, it retails for $1,050. 

Pouring Rain Didn’t Stop Longines

Longines Conquest V.H.P © WorldTempus / Roberta Naas

This is Longines’ seventh consecutive year as Official Timekeeper of the Derby. In fact, Longines had a huge presence this year with more than a dozen clocks on site and the final timing display at the finish line. Additionally, the Swiss watch brand held multiple timing roles and sponsorships throughout the weekend that include being the Official Timekeeper of the Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve and of the Longines Kentucky Oaks race, the Official Watch of the Kentucky Derby and the Longines Kentucky Oaks race, and the title sponsor of the key fashion on Friday, wherein 200 Derby goers were judged on their portrayal of Derby elegance. The winner of the fashion show was also awarded a Longines watch. 

The tie-in with the Derby, as well as with many other equestrian events the brand sponsors around the world, is a perfect fit, as the brand has long been inspired by the equestrian world. In fact, in 1878 it released a chronograph pocket watch engraved with a horse and jockey. It was such an incredible hit with horse lovers that it fast became the watch of choice for many jockeys and equestrian judges.   

Pouring Rain Didn’t Stop Longines

Original pocket watch, 1878 © Longines

Over the years, Longines has partnered, sponsored and timed a host of premier racing and jumping events, including the renowned Masters.  In America, where the Kentucky Derby is the single largest sporting event in North America (approximately 160,000 plunk down about $200 million in bets at Churchill Downs annually), Longines’ timing puts the brand squarely at the most important spot of the “Run for the Roses” … the finish line. 

The brand

Based in St. Imier since 1832, Longines has a long tradition in watchmaking, characterised by the elegance of its watches. Using expertise gained as the company has evolved, Longines has gradually forged ties with the world of sport, where it demonstrates its excellence in precision timekeeping. Today, Longines is the oldest brand still in business, unchanged, in the international registers held by the World Intellectual Property Organization...

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