Longines Watch Company was started in 1832 by Auguste Agassiz. Agassiz opened a workshop in St Imier, Switzerland. He operated what today would be called a “Home Business”. Workers would work on watches out of their own homes, which Agassiz would later sell.
Sometime between the years of 1854 and 1866 Agassiz handed down over the operation of the watch making business to his nephew Ernest Francillon. Realizing the lack of consistent quality coming from the manufacture of watches in so many locations, Francillon soon built a factory in Les Longines near St. Imier and consolidated all of the areas watch making under one roof. The Longines name was born.
The company began producing chronographs in 1879. They later produced aviator watches and cockpit instruments. The company registered its “Winged Hourglass” trademark in May of 1890.
In 1912 the company produced the first automatic time keeping device. From that day Longines has long been associated with time-keeping at major sporting events. In the 1950’s Longines purchased the Wittnauer watch company and marketed a number of very similar lines of watches in the US under both brand names.
In electric watches, Longines used the tuning fork based ESA 9162 /9164 in their range of Ultronic watches; in the late 1960’s they developed the world’s first and only cybernetic watch, the Ultra-Quartz. Under the Wittnauer name, the Electro-Chrons which uses the Landeron 4750 movement are now much sought after, mainly due to really cool minute and hour hands. Other Wittnauer electrics used the ESA Dynotron movements.