In many ways, the story of Blancpain in present-day Switzerland bears a striking resemblance to the enduring dynasties of Chinese history. Among the many dynasties throughout Chinese civilization – the Great Tang Dynasty (618- 907) was the one that lasted more than 282 years. It is truly a remarkable feat to remain strong and enduring for such a long period of time; no doubt requiring a clear vision for the future and unwavering determination to progress forward. It is no wonder why the Tang Dynasty is commonly referred to a cultural golden age. Like the Tang Dynasty, Blancpain has ushered in its own legacy: the golden age of watchmaking.
Blancpain’s founder Jehan-Jaccques Blancpain
In the early part of the 18th century, the Swiss were just beginning to grow their watch industry. In 1735, Jehan-Jacques Blancpain created Blancpain at Vallée de Joux Villeret, which was then the center of the watchmaking industry. It is not only the longest lasting wristwatch brand in Switzerland’s history, but also the first registered wristwatch brand in the world. Through its 282-year journey, Blanpain has steadily established itself as one of the elite leaders in timepiece craftsmanship.
Since its establishment, Blancpain has been devoted to the endless pursuit of excellence in mechanical watchmaking. While vigorously carrying forward the traditions of watchmaking, Blancpain has not let its past successes become a barrier to new innovation. On the contrary, the tradition-filled history of Blancpain has produced a continuous wealth spring of inspiration and creativity.
Blancpain’s “Fifty Fathoms” watch series in 1953.
One of Blancpain’s most brilliant a ccompaniments was its launch of “Fifty Fathoms” watch series in 1953. The Fifty Fathoms was produced at the request of the Combat Swimmers of the French navy, who needed a reliable watch for their underwater missions. Since then, the Fifty Fathoms and its unique specifications have become the standard of reference for diving watches. In the following 60 years, Blancpain kept pushing out various series of watches, all highly appreciated from high-end watch connoisseurs, and ranked as the king of diving watches.
Another lasting work of tradition-oriented craftsmanship is the “Blancpain 1735” – created in 1991 for commemorating the establishment of Blancpain in that very year. Blancpain 1735 remains the world’s most sophisticated chronometer, featuring the six most complex functions of mechanical watches in the our modern time: an ultra-thin automatic winding mechanism, a minute repeater, a split-seconds chronograph, a tourbillon, a perpetual calendar, and a moon phase. It takes more than one year for Blancpain’s watchmaker to accomplish the movement assembly. Currently, only three watchmakers are able to accomplish this feat. Since its introduction to the market, the 1735 has not been surpassed in functional intricacy. With its preciousness and rarity, Blancpain 1735 has been recognized as one of the top ten finest collectible watches.
In 2002, Marc A. Hayek became the president and CEO of Blancpain, adding a new energy to the brand. In the past few years, Blancpain has shared several brand new watch movements, such as the traditional Chinese calendar. Each individual component of these watches is hand polished and retouched using Blanpain’s traditional and time-tested process. The launch of each new watch reflects Blancpain’s past, while at the same time pointing towards a bright and exciting future for the industry. Each creation embodies inheritance and creativity.
Blancpain strives to maintain perfection, and remains steadfastly guided by the “finest quality” principle. Each and every wristwatch is designed and assembled in Switzerland. Inspired by Blancpain spirit, all the staff – whether at the Vallée de Joux workshop or at the Blancpain branches across the world – all uphold the perfection-oriented philosophy. As a result, Blancpain has achieved perfect fusion of tradition and innovative creativity, and thus continues its 282-year “golden age”of watchmaking.
Translation by Amy Hsu