Auguste Agassiz along with his nephew, Ernest Francillon, were the pioneers of Longines. These founding fathers had a profound impact on the company, region and the whole of Swiss watchmaking.
Stepping into the unknown. Discovering areas previously ignored. Are they always geographical? Should you always be able to pinpoint them on a map? In their own way, Agassiz and Francillon were visionaries and trailblazers in their trade: the explorers of industrial watchmaking.
As they manufactured watches in a remote valley in the Swiss Jura from 1832, without electricity, running water and no means of communication other than diligence, Agassiz and his watchmakers had certainly embarked on a difficult task. All the more so as, in this period, needing to know what time it was exactly was not a necessity. But that didn’t matter: what did was being ahead of their time.
Recognising the need for help from a person who shared his vision, he brought his nephew on-board to join him in his ambitious project. The young Ernest Francillon had no doubts nor fears when it came to the new age of industrialisation: it was the one and only way to go.
Inspired by this conviction, he transformed his uncle’s watchmaking workshop into a new factory. From 1867, the watchmakers worked together under the same roof, aided by machines. The factory was built on the “longs prés” of Saint-Imier: the place that would give Longines its name.
From the very start, Longines watches name were adorned with a logo, a winged hourglass, as well as a serial number. It was never too early to combat counterfeits, the price of success the founders of the brand had not once doubted.