Blancpain S.A.

Le Rocher 12
1348 Le Brassus

Jehan-Jacques Blancpain started watches in 1735 in Villeret, Switzerland. I founded the brand Blancpain, his first workshop on the upper floor of his house in Villeret, set up in today’s Bernese Jura. In 1815, Frédéric-Louis Blancpain, the great-grandson of Jehan-Jacques, head of the WHO, the family business was modernized at the time, production methods and the traditional handicraft company became an industrial transforming company capable of serial production.

By replacing the crown wheel toothedness mechanism with a cylinder, Frédéric-Louis introduced a major innovation in the watch world. In the second half of the nineteenth century, when industrialization prevailed, the prices of watchmaking products fell and many workshops were closed. To keep eye to American competition, built in 1865, Blancpain built a two-storey factory through the River Suze and made use of the hydroelectric power needed for STI production processes. Through its modernization methods and the focus on top-of-range products, Blancpain are one of the few watch companies in Villeret to survive.

In 1926 joined the manufacturing in a partnership with John Harwood and began the first automatic watch marketing. The year 1932 saw the end of the board of the family of the company, which had lasted for more than two centuries. After the death of Frédéric-Emile Blancpain, his only daughter, Berthe-Nellie, did not want to go into watchmaking. The following year, the two members of the staff who had been to Frederic-Emile, Betty Fiechter and André Leal, bought the company had been closest. Since it was no longer every member of the family in Blancpain control of the company, the two employees were legally obligated as it was at the time to change the company name. The company would be called “Rayville SA, succ. Blancpain”, “Rayville” a sound anagram of Villeret. TROTZ esta name change, the identity of the production has been maintained and the characteristics of the brand have been preserved. Betty Fiechter Blieb Director of Blancpain Until 1950, when her nephew, Jean-Jacques Fiechter, joined her.

At the end of the 1950s, Rayville-Blancpain was more than 100,000 watches a year. In order to make it possible to meet growing demand, the SSIH (Swiss company for the watch industry), joined brands such as Omega, Tissot and Lemania, became a permanent part of the company. In 1971 the production surpassed 220,000 watches. During the quartz crisis of the 1970s, SSIH was forced to reduce output by half and sell to part of its assets. In 1983, SSIH sold the Rayville Blancpain names Jacques Piguet, the son of Frédéric Piguet and director of the company of that name, and Jean-Claude Biver, at that time occupied by the SSIH. The company set-up the production in Le Brassus in the Vallée de Joux, and from then on under the name Blancpain SA traded. In 1992 SSIH bought the Blancpain back for 60 million francs. At that time Blancpain had an annual turnover of 50 million Swiss francs. Jean-Claude Biver as CEO of Blancpain Blieb Until SSIH 2003 became known as the Swatch Group, and in July 2010 Frédéric Piguet SA, a company of the Swatch Group past was merged into the company Blancpain SA. Marc Hayek, the grandson of the Swatch Group founder and chairman, Nicolas Hayek, is the current head of Blancpain and has run the company since 2002.

Blancpain Swiss Watches website