Monday, February 8, 2016

It is probably the oldest watch brand in the world.

handwriting on the first day of Chinese new year.
At the beginning of the 18th century, Jehan-Jacques Blancpain perceived the potential in a completely new business activity: watchmaking. In 1735, he founded the Blancpain brand, setting up his first workshop on the upper floor of his house at Villeret, in the present-day Bernese Jura.  

By recording his name in the official property register of the municipality of Villeret, this pioneer had created an establishment which is now the world's oldest watchmaking brand.

In the second half of the 19th century, as industrialization took hold, in 1865 Blancpain built a two-storey factory by the River Suze and made use of water power to supply the electricity needed for its production processes.  By modernizing its methods and concentrating on top-of-range products, Blancpain become one of the few watchmaking firms to survive in Villeret.

In 1926, the Manufacture entered into a partnership with John Harwood and started marketing the first automatic wristwatch. Four years later, Blancpain adapted the system to watches of small size, and launched the rectangular "Rolls", by Léon Hatot, which became the world's first ladies' automatic watch.

Among the Manufacture's great successes is the Fifty Fathoms, launched in 1953 and produced at the request of the "Combat Swimmers" of the French navy, who needed a reliable watch for their underwater operations. Captain Robert "Bob" Maloubier and the Lieutenant Claude Riffaud, the co-founders of the unit, submitted the project to Jean-Jacques Fiechter, by then CEO of Blancpain, who accepted the challenge. Worn by Jacques-Yves Cousteau, among others, the Fifty Fathoms became the standard of reference among diving watches. Three years later, Rayville-Blancpain repeated this success with the Ladybird, a model equipped with the smallest round movement of the time.
The small farm house of Blancpain where watches were made

Blancpain is still a small manufacture for watch today, they claim that “Blacnpain have never produced any Quartz watch, and never will be…”

Since I purchased the first Blancpain moonphase automatic watch in 1990 with about HKD$22,000, at the small watch shop at Park lane at TST, where this shop is still exist nowadays selling G-Shock, Casio and Swatch… Those with the days!

Blancpain keeps sending you Xmas card signed by the CEO, a heavy beautifully printed Blancpain magazine every year… that is a notion of a small company who does  to please his loyal Customers… Imagine if Rolex does it this way, they might have to ship the magazine in 200 containers on by cutting 1% of the Brazil rainforest ….. 

Different Brand has different marketing strategy, when you receive the book from Blancpain every year, I feel Like I need to buy one watch… from Blancpain…   Likely one of the best dress watch for us.

AThis watch, presented in 2014, is at the top end of the size spectrum of dress watches, at 42 mm diameter and 11.25 mm thickness. The star of the show is the grand feu enamel dial, enhanced by the narrow bezel, with enamel-painted numerals, and a secret signature, the JB initials just visible in white-on-white between the IV and V, and between VII and VIII. The JB also appears in the logo above the Blancpain letters, and on the second-hand counterweight. The JB stands for Jehan-Jacques Blancpain who founded the brand in 1735 in Villeret, on the upstairs floor of his house. It is probably the oldest watch brand in the world.

 The Calibre 1335 movement can be seen through the sapphire display caseback, with a honeycomb pattern on the oscillating weight that automatically rewinds the watch. An eight-day power reserve means 192 hours. Reference 6630-3631-558, price approximately €27,000.
HK Snob

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