According to the Archives of Longines, the present 14K gold watch with movement calibre 20H, a simple "Patent Lugrin" chronograph, was sold to J.-E. Robert in New York, Longines' agent for North America, on 15 October 1881.
Henry Alfred Lugrin is considered one of the most important designers of modern stopwatches and chronographs. His invention of a simple but ingenious vertical clutch linking the movement with the chronograph function, Swiss patent no. 182'836 of 3 October 1876, was not only effective but due to the few elements needed also extremely economical. The most important advantage for the watch manufacturers was however that his chronograph module could be added to their half and three quarter plate movements without requiring any modification. Within a few years only, this option led to the first production of inexpensive and reliable chronographs in series, mainly made by Longines. It is thought that one of Longines' earliest chronograph models launched around 1879/1880 was fitted with Lugrin's patented module using a modified bridge while the chronograph work remained unchanged. The majority of these chronographs was obviously destined for the export to North America and consequently fitted with American made cases - such as the present watch.
Born in Switzerland in 1848, Henri or Henry Alfred Lugrin trained as a watchmaker before immigrating to the US at the early age of 20. He was hired by the watch retailer Eugene Robert in New York, the agent for Longines in North America.
Lugrin obviously found an understanding and supportive employer, allowing him to further develop and manufacture chronograph movements, resulting in a number of patents granted between 1876 and 1908. He passed away in Brooklyn in 1910.