Based in Saint-Imier since 1832, Longines boasts a long tradition of watchmaking. It all began with Auguste Agassiz, who went into partnership with a watchmaking shop, and soon took it over. At that time the firm made timepieces using the établissage method, with the work being done at home. Agassiz developed commercial links that enabled him to sell his watches on other continents, in particular in America.
During the 1850s, Ernest Francillon, Agassiz's nephew, took over management of the business. He undertook to bring together the different stages of finalisation of the watch under one roof. To carry out his project, in 1866 he bought two adjoining plots of land in the locality of Les Longines and in 1867 founded the Longines factory.
In 1889, Francillon registered the Longines brand and its winged hourglass logo.
Over the following years, Francillon's industrial operations expanded, and the manufacture enjoyed continuous growth well into the first third of the twentieth century. In 1911, the manufacture employed over 1100 workers, and its output was distributed worldwide.
The technical research carried out at Les Longines was rewarded by various distinctions, giving the firm the status of the “most awarded” watchmaking firm at international shows and Universal Expositions, through to the Barcelona World's Fair in 1929, with no fewer than 10 Grand Prix.
In the early twentieth century, Longines also asserted its attachment to sports timekeeping.Very active in horse racing from as early as 1878, the Firm excelled with a first jockey's watch; by 1926 it was timekeeper for the Concours Hippique International Officiel de Genève. At the same time, Longines became connected with gymnastics, downhill skiing, tennis and archery – and still is to this day.
Now part of the Swatch Group, the world's leading manufacturer of watches, the Longines brand has operations in over 130 countries.