Brand Histories

Jehan-Jacques Blancpain
1735 • In VILLERET, Jehan-Jacques Blancpain decided to dedicate himself to watch making. He started by making watch parts then, later, complete fob watches.

Over the following centuries, members of the Blancpain family succeeded one another at the head of a highly prosperous company.

1926 • The first HARWOOD automatic wristwatches were launched in France.

1931 • With the rectangular ROLLS, BLANCPAIN entered the annals of the automatic rewind.

1932 • The epic of the founding family came to an end with the death of Frédéric-Emile Blancpain. For 50 years, manufacture was managed under the name RAYVILLE (a phonetic anagram of VILLERET), making mainly watches for diving.

1953 • Jacques-Yves Cousteau took with him the FIFTY FATHOMS, water resistant to 200 meters, when he filmed THE WORLD OF SILENCE.

1970 • RAYVILLE S.A. was taken over by SSIH, a Swiss watch-making multinational, and the traditional brand vanished from sight.

1982 • Jean-Claude Biver, a former watchmaker at Omega, and visualiser of ideas for Jacques Piguet, bought the Blancpain name from SSIH.

1983 • BLANCPAIN contributed considerably to the renaissance of the wristwatch.

1988 • BLANCPAIN achieved the simultaneous production of six masterpieces of watch making.

1989 • BLANCPAIN produced a completely new caliber that entered the history of watch making, the automatic chronograph with maximum depth indicator and date.

The high spot of the BLANCPAIN Collection was the 1735, a limited edition of just 30 examples, equipped with a perpetual calendar, chronograph fly-back repeater, tourbillon and minute repeater, one of the most complicated timepieces the world has ever seen.

1992 • BLANCPAIN again changed ownership and was taken over by the SMH (Société Suisse de Microélectronique et d'Horlogerie), better known as SWATCH GROUP. Jean-Claude Biver headed the board.

2002 • BLANCPAIN collections renamed: VILLERET, LE BRASSUS and LEMAN.

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