History and info
Longines story starts back in 1832 when Auguste Agassiz arrived in Saint-Imier
and entered the "Comptoir horloger Raiguel Jeune". One year later, he
founded the "Comptoir Raiguel Jeune & Cie" together with Florian Morel and
Henri Raiguel. One of Auguste's sisters married Charles-Marc Francillon, a
shopkeeper from Lausanne and in 1834 they had a son, Ernest Francillon.
When Henri Raiguel retired from his functions in 1838, Auguste Agassiz and
Florian Morel became the owners of the "Comptoir Agassiz & Cie", until
Agassiz became in 1847 the sole owner. A few years later, in 1852, his
nephew, Ernest Francillon, entered the company to finally become his
uncle's successor in 1862. The
new company "Ancienne Maison Auguste Agassiz, Ernest
Francillon, Successeur" was born. At that time watchmaking in the area
used the skills of people working outside the "comptoir d'établissage",
often at home.
1866, Auguste's nephew, Ernest Francillon, bought two plots of land on the
right bank of the river Suze at the place called "Les Longines" and
brought all of the watchmaking skills under one roof - this was the first
the inauguration of the new factory in 1867, the production of the first
Longines movement, the L20A, commenced. At that time, watches used to be
wound by means of a key. The Longines watch however broke with these
traditional watchmaking methods having a "lever" movement which was wound
and the time set by means of the crown. It was Ernest Francillon himself
who went to Paris to present this watch at the 1867 Universal Exhibition.
He returned to Saint-Imier with a bronze medal.
Ever since his first watch in 1867, Francillon engraved a winged hourglass
on all Longines movements. In his battle against counterfeits, he already
in 1874 sent out his first warning to all Longines customers.
19th of July 1880 at 11:00 am Ernest Francillon registered at the Federal
Office of Intellectual Property under patent number 118 and 119 the brand
Longines and its original logo, featuring the winged hourglass. The
Longines trademark was first registered, under patent number 2684, at 4:00
pm on 27th of May 1889 and under patent number 14 on the 27th of March
1893 at the International Office of Intellectual Property (today the WIPO,
World Intellectual Property Organizaton).
In 1885, Longines won its first "Grand Prix" at an international
exhibition in Antwerp. Further success followed in Brussels (1897), Paris
(1889, 1900 and 1925), Milan (1906), Genoa (1914), Berne (1914),
Philadelphia (1926) and Barcelona (1929). Longines' record of ten "Grand
Prix" and 28 "Medailles d'Or" has never been equaled by any other watch
Technical innovation marked the start of the decade and opened up new
areas for artistic interpretation.
In 1980 the creation of the tiny ladies movement, the caliber L 960,
gave free rein to the creative artists at Longines, resulting in a
silver medal being won at the Bijhorca in Paris. Longines furthermore
won the "Prix Montres et Bijoux Genève" with its model called "Clip".
In 1982 Longines marked its 150th anniversary with a collection of
ultra-thin gold watches called Agassiz. The watch, only 3 mm thick and
water-resistant, is still part of the Longines collection.
The caliber L961, a tiny "baguette" movement for ladies' watches only
1.75mm in thickness, resulted from constant research into
miniaturization in 1983.
Longines and Ferrari
1982 saw the birth of a new advertising campaign, featuring a special
collection dedicated to Longines' partnership with the Formula 1
Racing team Ferrari. The advertisement for this collection was
photographed at the famous Paris restaurant "La Grande Cascade".
The conquest for precision
In 1984 Longines launched its Conquest model with the VHP (Very
High Precision) movement, a development of Longines. These watches are
thanks to a system of thermo-compensation 5 to 10 times more precise
than a normal quartz watch.
Longines and the world of gymnastics
After having timed many gymnastics event, starting with the 1912
Swiss Federal Gymnastics Festival in Basle, Switzerland, Longines
became in 1989 the official partner, timekeeper and data-handling
operator of the International Gymnastics Federation (FIG) and European
Gymnastics Union (UEG). Later, in 1997, it awarded its first Longines
Prize for Elegance in gymnastics during the World Rhythmic Gymnastics
Championships in Berlin, Germany, to Yanna Batyrchina from Russia.
Designed as a salute to feminine elegance, Longines launched in 2001
the Longines DolceVita Diamond Collections. During the gala evening
for the launch of this prestigious collection in Milan, Italy,
Longines awarded its first Prize for Elegance outside the world of
sports to Alessandra Ferri, Lamberto Sposini and Sergio Loro Piana.
30 Millionth Longines Watch
On February 19, 2001, Longines celebrated its 30 Millionth
Longines Watch and launched a commemorative collection of 990 pieces.
This collection won later that year the most important prize in Swiss
watchmaking: The Watch of the Year, chosen by the readers of the Swiss
magazines l'Hebdo and Schweizer Illustrierte.
170 Years of Elegance in Watchmaking
Never modified, continually used, constantly updated, the world's
oldest registered brand name in watchmaking - Longines, with its
winged hourglass logo - enters the year 2002 with elegance, launching
"Les Elégantes", a commemorative collection of three vintage jewelry
watches during a party, celebrating 170 years of elegance at the
Pavillon Ledoyen, located at the famous Champs Elysées. At the very
same occasion Longines presents its ambassadors of elegance; Indian
actress Aishwarya Rai, Italian actress Chiara Muti, Chinese actress
Carina Lau, American actor Billy Zane and Russian actor Oleg Menshikov.