This year premium Swiss watchmaker, Longines, is celebrating its 10 year long partnership with Ascot.
Longines has been the ‘Official Timekeeper’ and ‘Official Watch’ of Ascot and Royal Ascot since the opening of the new grandstand in 2006, after a £200-million redevelopment.
Here’s a look back at some of the highlights over the last 10 years and what has made this ongoing partnership so successful.
Based in Switzerland, since 1832, Longines, has generations of experience as the Official Timekeeper at world sporting events.
Its passion for equestrian sports spans over 100 years and in 1912, the company first partnered with an international show jumping competition. Today Longines’ involvement in equestrian sports covers a multitude of disciplines from flat racing, to show jumping and eventing.
Longines chose to support equestrian sports as a perfect illustration of strength, endurance, technique, precision and elegance, which are the key values of the brand.
Many equestrians will also be familiar with the Longines Global Champions Tour, regarded as the worlds’ premier show jumping event.
A venue at the forefront of the global racing industry and at the heart of British Horse Racing, Ascot, is regarded as one of the best racecourses in the world.
Royal Ascot was founded by Queen Anne in 1711 and is regularly attended by Her Majesty The Queen, who herself is an owner and breeder of racehorses. The Queen’s horses can be identified by The Queen’s racing colours, which are; purple body with gold braid, scarlet sleeves, and black velvet cap with a gold fringe.
During Royal Ascot, The Queen traditionally presents the Gold Cup and The Diamond Jubilee Stakes. New versions of these trophies are made each year and presented to winners to keep.
Ascot stages many of the key racing events in the year, and in addition to Royal Ascot, it hosts QIPCO British Champions Day, the culmination of the European Flat Racing Season.
Ascot is a quintessentially British venue that draws people in from around the world and seems as much about the culture and heritage as it is about the racing.
Longines & Ascot: The Partnership
The formation of the Longines-Ascot partnership was born by chance when Ascot approached Longines about supporting a fashion show that was being held at Royal Ascot. It was at this time the team suggested to Longines about becoming the “Official Timekeeper”. Luckily for both parties, the timing of this proposal was perfect and the official partnership was formed soon after. As Ascot’s first Official Timekeeper and Official Watch it’s been an exciting few years for both brands.
Walter von Känel, President of Longines, commented:
“Ascot is known worldwide as one of the most prestigious and stylish sporting events in the world with over 300 years of rich history behind it. This enhanced partnership with the racecourse is therefore a perfect vehicle for the promotion of the Longines values – namely elegance, tradition and performance – values which we share with the institution of Ascot.”
Several Longines timepieces are strategically placed across the course and when a new course record is set, all winnings connections are given a watch.
In addition to their affiliation with Ascot, there’s numerous iconic races that Longines are associated with, which include; the Melbourne Cup Carnival, Dubai World Cup and the Kentucky Derby.
Its’ been an exciting journey for both Ascot and Longines who have played a pivotal part in the making of history over the last 10 years, during which time there’s been some fabulous sites and iconic moments.
Gold Cup History
One of the most notable moments was in 2009 when Yeats, the fabulous Irish Thoroughbred, became the first and only horse ever to win the Ascot Gold Cup four times in succession, making Gold Cup History.
Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Celebrations
During the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations, Ascot played a key role. To mark the occasion, Ascot renamed The Golden Jubilee Stakes, The Diamond Jubilee stakes which was won by the stunning, Black Caviar.
Longines Ladies Awards
The Longines Ladies Award is a key event in the yearly calendar and further demonstrates their dedication to the sport. The ceremony, aptly held each year on the eve of Royal Ascot, is a great kick off to the week of world class racing ahead.
Celebrating the accomplishments of great horsewomen, Longines presents an annual award to a woman whose “positive influence and exceptional commitment has advanced the cause of equestrian sports.”
The 2016 recipient of the award was H.R.H The Princess Royal, who was presented with a unique 18 carat rose gold pocket watch.
Ambassadors of Elegance
Longines always brings one of its Ambassadors of Elegance to Royal Ascot, who over the last few years have included Tennis legend, Stefanie Graf and Asian model and actress, Lin Chi-ling.
In 2015, Longines Ambassador of Elegance, Simon Baker, joined the brand for a day at the races as Longines commemorated nine years of being the Official Timekeeper of Royal Ascot, as well as its Official Partner and Watch.
The Australian actor has been an Ambassador of Elegance since 2012 and perfectly embodies Longines’ slogan: “Elegance is an Attitude”.
There was never any doubt that Longines was the perfect fit for Ascot. It’s been a harmonious and hugely successful partnership and both brands mirror each other’s values; elegance and originality. From timekeeping, to race sponsorship, to presenting awards, the partnership is one which continues to evolve. It’s exciting to see what the future holds for both these iconic brands.