Longines' history goes back to the summer of 1832, when the 23-year-old businessman Auguste Agassiz established himself as an active partner in the watch business Comptoir Raiguel Jeune in the town of Saint-Imier, Switzerland. Comptoir purchased ébauche movements and passed them on to watchmakers. Agassiz was so successful that he took complete control over the workshop in 1846. However, health problems forced him to find a suitable successor. He chose his nephew Ernest Francillon, who joined the company in 1852 and took over a short while later.
Francillon quickly realized that the Comptoir business didn't have sustainable production processes. Therefore, he began considering mass production. When a piece of land on the bank of the River Suze was put up for sale in 1866, Francillon took advantage of the opportunity and purchased it. Francillon's land was in a spot known as "Les Longines" ("the long meadows") and perfect for establishing a factory. Francillon inaugurated the workshop in 1867. In the same year, they produced their first in-house movement, called 20A, which won a prize at the World Exhibition in Paris. Over the years, Longines industrialized their production processes more and more, making them a trailblazer the mechanization of watch production.