This year was the last Roland-Garros tournament to be held with the partnership of Swiss watchmaking brand Longines. Longines has been Partner and Official Timekeeper of the French Open in Paris since 2007. This extremely enriching eleven-year partnership has been characterised by a shared determination to leverage its collaboration with the French Tennis Federation to develop and promote the next generation of tennis players and to highlight the values of elegance that Roland-Garros is famed for.
After a collaboration stretching back eleven years, Longines is bowing out of its role as Official Partner and Official Timekeeper following its decision not to renew its long-standing contract. The 2018 tournament marked the final chapter in a wonderful journey that has united the Swiss watchmaking brand and the Paris grand slam for more than a decade. Throughout that time, a host of joint initiatives have been organised to promote rising young tennis stars, like the Longines Future Tennis Aces tournament, which brought together 20 players under the age of 13 from 20 different countries, and the “Rendez-vous à Roland-Garros in partnership with Longines” tournaments, which gave young hopefuls the chance to win a place in the Roland-Garros Junior Championships.
These programmes to support young athletes, along with the “Roland Garros in the City” events, have enabled Longines and the FFT to extend the reach of the Roland-Garros, with its emblematic clay courts, far beyond its Parisian perimeter. It has travelled within Paris – to the Champ-de-Mars, the Eiffel Tower, and La Défense – and farther afield to cities around the world including Shanghai, New Delhi, Tokyo, Seoul, New York and Sao Paulo.
In addition, Roland-Garros’ international status provided Longines with an ideal platform to develop a host of charity initiatives, many in support of the foundations set up by two of its Ambassadors of Elegance and former tournament champions, Stefanie Graf and Andre Agassi. Other world class tennis stars like Alex Corretja and Arantxa Sanchez have become friends of the brand after agreeing to be patrons for Longines Future Tennis Aces.
The Swiss watchmaker also reflected the tournament’s sporting elegance in the design of the exclusive Conquest Roland-Garros watch, which borrows from its colours. Ochre touches on its hands, dial, and the markers of its flange bring to mind the Parisian clay courts. With a further reminder in the engraved Roland-Garros logo on its caseback, the watch will continue to delight tennis fans around the world – and in particular Roland-Garros fans.
Juan-Carlos Capelli, the Vice-President and Director of International Marketing for Longines, comments: “Our partnership with the Roland-Garros tournament has been a resounding success from start to finish. I want to extend my sincere thanks to the French Tennis Federation for our collaboration and the unwavering elegance and professionalism they have shown, and I wish them every success in the years to come.”
Bernard Giudicelli, President of the French Tennis Federation, said: « I would like to take the opportunity to sincerely thank Longines for being at ours sides for more than 10 years. Longines is an iconic, global brand in the watchmaking industry and has been a strong and loyal partner with its continued and active support of the Roland-Garros international strategy and via the « Longines Future Tennis Aces » concept, which has underpinned the promotion and development of the next generation of tennis stars. I would also like to say a personal thank you to Juan-Carlos Capelli, Vice President and Head of International Marketing at Longines, for placing his trust in our partnership for so many years. »