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Permanent Tourist

A personal website by Mark Howells-Mead

Longines Factory, Saint-Imier

Auguste Agassiz formed a partnership in 1832 which was to become a company carrying one of the most reknowned names in Swiss watchmaking and timekeeping. Developing the company to use work-at-home labour, a system which had been in use since the eighteenth century in manufacturing processes, the watchmaker also built trade links to enable the company to sell its timepieces as far afield as America.

When his nephew took over the company in the 1850s, he looked for way to develop the efficiency of the production process and bought up two plots of land alongside the river in the small town of Saint-Imier, in the Chasseral region of the Bernese Jura mountains. The piece of land was called “Les Longines”, which was adopted as the name of the company. Since the early part of the 20th century, Longines has become synonymous with timekeeping in the sports world and for measuring the accuracy of world records; not least, the first non-stop solo crossing of the North Atlantic in 1927 by Charles Lindbergh.