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Longines - History 1832 - 1860s - 1880s
1832s: The birth of LonginesThe Longines story began in 1832 when Auguste Agassiz moved to the tiny Swiss town of Saint-Imier and found work at the Comptoir horloger Raiguel Jeune, a watch parts trader. A year later, he and two associates, Florian Morel and Henri Raiguel, set up the Comptoir Raiguel Jeune & Cie. One of Agassiz's sisters, Olympe, then married Charles-Marc Francillon, a Lausanne-born businessman, and in 1834 they had a son, Ernest.When Henri Raiguel retired, in 1838, ownership of what had become Comptoir Agassiz & Cie passed to Auguste Agassiz and Florian Morel. In 1847, Auguste Agassiz became the venture's sole owner. In 1852, his nephew Ernest Francillon joined the company, finally taking over from his uncle in 1862. Now styled Ancienne Maison Auguste Agassiz, Ernest Francillon, Successeur, the company was ready for business. At that time, watchmaking in the area was still largely a cottage industry, with all the work done at home on parts later assembled elsewhere.1860s: The first Longines watchIn 1866, Francillon acquired two plots of land on the outskirts of Saint-Imier, on the right bank of the Suze river near a place called Les Longines (meaning "long and narrow fields " in the dialectal French of the area). There he built the first Longines factory, an investment that finally allowed him to gather his entire workforce under one roof for the first time.In 1867, Longines' first movement, called L20A, entered production in the new premises. At the time, watches were all key-wound. Longines' first watch broke with this tradition, its lever movement being wound and set by the crown. Ernest Francillon personally presented his novel timepiece at the 1867 Universal Exhibition in Paris. He returned to Saint-Imier with a bronze medal.Starting with his very first watch movement in 1867, Francillon's entire production featured the engraving of a winged hourglass as identification. By 1874, the company had already sent out its first circular warning customers against counterfeit movements.1880s: Registration of the Longines name and trademarkOn July 19th, 1880, at 11:00 am, Ernest Francillon entered the premises of the Swiss Federal Office of Intellectual Property to register the original Longines brand and its winged hourglass symbol under numbers 118 and 119 respectively. The new Longines logotype was first registered under number 2684 at 4:00 pm on May 27th, 1889 at the Swiss Federal Office of Intellectual Property and under number 14 on March 27th, 1893 at the International Office of Intellectual Property (today WIPO, World Intellectual Property Organization).Universal Exhibitions In 1885, Longines won its first Grand Prix at the Universal Exhibition in Antwerp. Further success followed in Brussels, in 1897, Paris in 1889, 1900 and 1925, Milan, in 1906, Genoa, in 1914, Bern, in 1914, Philadelphia, in 1926 and Barcelona, in 1929. Longines' record of ten Grand Prix and 28 Gold Medals has never been equalled by any other watch manufacturer.