BLANCPAIN watch brand

BLANCPAIN

For Blancpain, watchmaking tradition is not incompatible with innovation. With a two and a half-century long watchmaking heritage, the manufacture from Brassus, Switzerland creates classical, timeless, sometimes innovating or even provocative collections.

Evolution et Tradition

Jehan-Jacques Blancpain founded its very first workshop in 1735 - and the brand bearing his name - in Villeret (in current Bernese Jura). Blancpain’s watches rapidly became very popular.

In 1815, Frédéric-Louis Blancpain - great grandson of the founder - modernised what was then a simple craftsman’s workshop and transformed it into an industrial manufacture capable of producing items in large numbers. As early as the 1850s, Blancpain had become the most prominent company in Villeret.

In 1865, Blancpain built a bigger factory to continue progressing and to compete against American rivals.

In 1926, in partnership with the watchmaker John Harwood, Blancpain presented the first automatic wristwatch. 4 years later the brand launched the very first automatic watch for women: the “Rolls” by Léon Halot.

In 1932, the only heir to the Blancpain firm sold it to two employees of the company - after 2 centuries of family ownership. Even if they were imposed by law to rebrand the firm “Rayville SA, succ. de Blancpain”, they nevertheless perpetuated the brand’s DNA and gave it a new impulse.

One of the greatest successes of the brand? The Fifty Fathoms watch. Designed following demands from “Combat Divers” in 1953, this watch was reliable enough to meet the demands of their underwater missions. Thus, the Fifty Fathoms became a reference when it comes to diving watches.

By joining the 'Société Suisse pour l'Industrie Horlogère' (SSIH) at the end of the 1950s, the Rayville-Blancpain brand got the capabilities to meet an increasing demand and managed to manufacture 220,000 items in 1971.

But the darker days of watchmaking forced the SSIH to sell parts of their assets and, in 1983, they sold the Rayville-Blancpain name to Jacques Piguet and Jean-Claude Biver. The company set shop in the Vallée de Joux, Brassus, Switzerland and got rebranded Blancpain SA. A new era started for Blancpain which decided to keep its movement designs exclusive and to bank on traditionally manufactured watches with high complications. Consequently, the brand strongly contributed to the renewal of mechanical watchmaking.

A renewal started for Blancpain when Marc A. Hayek became the new CEO of the company in 2002. Ever since, large investments in Research and Development allowed the manufacture from Brassus to produce a number of patents and “world firsts”. Blancpain transforms its collections without leaving their exceptional heritage behind.

Since the integration of the Société Frédérique Piguet in 2010, Blancpain has been enjoying a new manufacturing site in the Vallée de Joux to continue delighting watch enthusiasts across the world.