The early history of Longines before it became Longines

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The Swiss watch industry in the early 19th century was very different to what it is today.

Typically, the individual pieces were made by large families around the Jura region of Switzerland.

Each family typically specialized in one type of part.

Once manufactured, these components were collected by trading offices, called comptoirs, who were responsible for assembly and sale.

Comptoir is the equivalent of today's brand.

Comptoir redistributed the parts to individual watchmakers, who again worked at home for final assembly.

These final assembled watches were then sent back to Comptoir for sale.

This is a system called "établissage."

Longines Founder: Auguste Agassiz Founded in 1832

Longines was founded in 1832. Its founder, Auguste Agassiz, studied business and worked for a time in banking.

In 1832, together with his partners Henri Raiguel and Florian Morel (his brother-in-law), he chose to set up his own watchmaking business as a comptoir in the town of Saint-Imier.

The company "Raiguel Jeune & Cie." that was founded at this time would later become Longines.

Soon after, they established their own assembly facilities and began to move away from the Comptoir model.

Eventually, both Reigel and Morel left and retired, and Agassi took control of Comptoir.

He was forced into early retirement due to ill health in 1850, and in 1852 he brought in his nephew, Ernest Francillon.

Agassiz remained a partner until his death in 1877, but under Francillon's hands the company underwent many changes and modernisation.

Finally, 1867 was also the year that Raiguel Jeune & Cie became Longines, taking its name from the long, narrow field (Longines) where the new factory was located.