He concluded that it would be advantageous to try to bring together the different stages that go towards making a watch under one roof. Francillon’s intention was to set up a factory where he could assemble and finish each watch, introducing a degree of mechanisation. In order to achieve this, he bought two adjoining pieces of land in 1866 on the right bank of the River Suze, which runs through the St. Imier valley. The site was known locally as Les Longines and he adopted this name for the factory which he built there in 1867. Ernest Francillon took on Jacques David, a young engineer who was also related to him, to help develop the machines needed for perfecting the manufacture of timepieces. During the 1870s, Francillon’s choice of industrial options was proved sound and the factory continually expanded until the first third of the 20th century: in 1911 the Longines factory employed over 1,100 workers and sold its products all over the world.
The technical research carried out at Longines was rewarded by various prizes which gradually gave the company its reputation of winning the most awards in international and world exhibitions until the 1929 exhibition in Barcelona, by which time Longines had won no fewer than 10 Grand Prix. In 1889, Francillon patented a trademark comprising the name Longines and the now famous winged hourglass. Today, Longines is the oldest trademark or logo still in use in its original form registered with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). As early as 1867, Longines was using the winged hourglass symbol and the tradename “Longines” as a guarantee of quality in order to combat counterfeit products aimed at taking advantage of the reputation already established by the company.