The Longines Symphonette Society was a direct marketing company working out of Larchmont and, later, New Rochelle, New York; addresses that were also prominently printed on the labels of their releases. The company operated from the late 1960s until 1974 and was headed by Alan Cartoun, president and son of Longines Watch Company Chairman, Fred Cartoun. The Longines Symphonette Society was a direct marketing pioneer using personalized computer letters to promote LP records, 8 track tapes, electronics, books, and collector's medallions, but their main specialization was in mail-order LP box sets of classical and easy listening music as well as releasing LPs of old time radio (OTR) programs (it was a subsidiary of the Longines watch company that also sold its own private-label stereo phonographs).
It purchased the record club edition rights to the catalog of Capitol Records from the label for its Capitol Record Club in 1968 and continued to press Capitol LPs for the club until 1975, when it was shut down.
Its light music recordings (largely the work of British composer/conductor Robert Farnon recorded between ca.1964 and 1970 in Britain are highly regarded today and seriously sought after.
Its records had the following disclaimer on the back covers of many of its albums and printed on its sleeves (which were the predecessor of modern polylined sleeves): "Every record bearing the name The Longines Symphonette Recording Society is guaranteed to be manufactured to the highest audio standards, from the finest available pure virgin vinyl materials, using the most modern and advanced recording equipment. Any defective recording which escapes the attention of our intensive quality control will be replaced upon request".
Their description of The Longines Symphonette Society on the back covers stated: "An educational service of The Longines-Wittnauer Watch Company, famed for quality for almost a century-is unlikeany other organization in the entire world! Devoted totally to service and quality on one hand, with honest value the criteria on the other, The Longines Symphonette is proud to number you among its thousands of friends. Your suggestions to improve service are welcomed! Just write Mr. Richard Warren, Executive Vice President, The Longines Symphonette, Symphonette Square, Larchmont, New York."
In 1969, The Longines Symphonette Society was included in a Congressional investigation looking into lotteries, sweepstakes, and deceptive marketing practices. In 1966, the number of national sweepstakes exceeded 600 and consumer groups accused them of deceptive practices. An FTC investigation in 1968 into sweepstakes from oil companies and supermarket chains found evidence of deception; one of the returning complaints was the company sent unsolicited merchandise to your people's home addresses. Consumers barraged Congress with letters pleading for intervention often naming specific companies such as Reader's Digest and Longines Symphonette Society in their accusations of unfair or deceptive practices.
(Do not confuse this label with the namesake symphony orchestra conducted by Michel Piastro sponsored by Longines in the 1940s.) Longines Symphonette is the orchestra, Longines Symphonette Society is the record club and label.