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Kseniya Burns

History of Blancpain

Like many other Swiss watch companies, Blancpain started out as a small, family workshop in the Bernese Jura. Founded in 1735 by Jean- Jacque Blancpain, the Blancpain brand is one of the oldest watchmaking companies in the world.

Blancpain remained a craft workshop producing small quantities of superb quality watches until 1815 when Frédéric-Louis Blancpain introduced new production methods. With the ability to create more watches per year with the same amount amount of detail and craftsmanship, House of Blancpain became one of the most successful businesses in the region.

In addition to the modern production methods, Frédéric-Louis Blancpain replaced crow-wheel mechanism with a cylinder escapement. This change was one of the more revolutionary contributions to the watchmaking world at the time.

1932 brought significant, historic change for Blancpain. With the death of Frédéric-Emile Blancpain, the company was sold to Betty Fiechter and André Léal. According to the laws of the time, the name had to be changed since Blancpains were no longer at the helm of the company. With a new name of Rayville S.A., succ. de Blancpain, the company entered a whole new era of success.

Betty Fiechter remained the director of Blancpain until 1950’s when her nephew joined her and once again transformed the company. By 1953 Blancpain was producing up to 100 000 watches per year with Fifty Fathoms being their best seller. Blancpain presented itself as a serious competitor to the companies such as Rolex and Omega.

The demand for Blancpain watches was so high that the company could no longer meet the quotas which forced Fiechter to join forces with some of the most notable Swiss watchmakers and previously Blancpain competitors such as Tissot & Lemania, and Omega. With the help of these industry leaders, Blancpain production topped at 220 000 watches per year.

The 1970’s brought another challenge to the fine watchmaking industry. With the advent of the cheaper Japanese quartz movement, many watchmakers were struggling to make ends meet with their higher priced, handmade, mechanical movements. Blancpain was the exception.

While others were struggling,  Blancpain decided to go back to their traditional roots of making excellent watches with grand complications. In 1983 Rayville S.A., succ. de Blancpain, was sold to Frédéric Piguet and Jean-Claude Bive. Former Rayville S.A., succ. de Blancpain now traded under the name Blancpain SA. This transition under the helm of two powerhouse watchmaking companies allowed Blancpain to reinvent themselves once again and become a major player in the field.

To this day Blancpain is considered one of the finest watchmakers in the industry. Under the leadership of Mark Hayek the company was able to bring back forgotten complications such as the Karrusel and truly expand its Research and Development department.

Blancpain and Motorsports

There are only a few watchmakers out there that are as involved in other industries as Blancpain, Omega and Rolex.  In 2009 Blancpain became a partner of Lamborghini and a sponsor of the Lamborghini Blancpain Super Trofeo. In 2010 the company also became the official timekeeper of the FIA GT1 World Championship. In 2012 Blancpain Endurance Series was launched and the company became an official partner of ADAC GT Masters Championship.

Blancpain partnership with Lamborghini goes beyond timekeeping. Pooling their resource, the two companies created a truly stunning masterpiece of precision and speed -- Lamborghini Gallardo Blancpain Limited Edition. This rare supercar is based on the Lamborghini Gollardo LP560-4 and is equipped with “Skoripus” black aluminium rims, yellow brake calipers, and ceramic carbon disks. The interior is upholstered in luxurious alcantara and the exterior expertly blends carbon-fiber elements with opaque black characteristics. This masterpiece of precision and mechanics can accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h in just 3.4 seconds and has a top speed of 320 km/h.

Blancpain at Sea

It all started in the early 1950’s when Captain Robert (“Bob”) Maloubier and Lieutenant Claude Riffaud of the French Navy wrote a letter to Blancpain Manufacturing asking them to create a watch that would be capable of withstanding the depth of 50 fathoms with accuracy and readability that a military diver could fully depend on. Blancpain accepted the challenge and in 1953 the Fifty Fathoms diving watch was born.

Protecting the Ocean

Currently Blancpain is partnering with National Geographic and Pristine Seas Expeditions project to save and protect the integrity of the few remaining, healthy and touched areas of our oceans. Through the study of reefs and healthy ecosystems the Pristine Seas Expeditions project hopes to learn how to aid polluted and dying reefs in recovery and to better protect our oceanic ecosystems from pollution and industrial impact.

Other Endeavors

Apart from oceanography and motorsports Blancpain strongly believes in celebrating excellence, precision, and passion in all things in life. Blancpain is involved with many five star hotels as well as Michelin star holding restaurants.

Ermitage Jewelers has a large collection of pre-owned luxury Swiss watches. We buy, sell, and trade pre-owned Rolex, Blancpain, and many other brands at reasonable prices. If you are looking for a watch to buy or sell you are in the right place. With our growing inventory, quick and continent shipping and payment options, there is no other reason to go anywhere else. Stop by our Atlanta location or browse our extensive online collection for your very own Blancpain watch.