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    about Blancpain

  • Founded in 1735 by Jehan-Jacques Blancpain, this House boasts a famous and oft-repeated slogan: "Since 1735, there has never been a quartz Blancpain watch. And there never will be." This bold statement, however, is more than just a slogan; it is a guiding principle of this unique company. Sincere dedication to excellence has earned Blancpain numerous accolades over the years. Although successive generations of the Blancpain family were able to transform what had been a tiny manufacturer into one of the most respected watch companies in the world -- witness the company's famous "Fifty Fathoms" model, circa 1953, which featured prominently in Jacques Cousteau's award-winning film, "The World of Silence" -- the influx of inexpensive quartz watches from Japan and China during the early 1970s nearly doomed the company to extinction. It was only thanks to the intervention of Jean-Claude Biver, an Omega executive with a love of fine timepieces that the company was reborn in 1983 and put on the path to recovery. Biver's strategy was elegantly simple: a return to the production of classic mechanical watches in limited numbers, and an emphasis on creating innovative, and oftentimes highly complicated, timepieces. Biver's strategy was a success: today, the Blancpain workshop and headquarters retains the charm of a tranquil farm house. Yet within this unassuming factory are created some of the world's most complicated, desired, and expensive watches. Graduates from the finest Swiss watchmaking schools are recruited into the ranks of the House following their apprenticeship to a Master Watchmaker. In keeping with tradition, watchmakers employed by Blancpain do not work in assembly line fashion; rather, each watchmaker will personally build "their" watch from beginning to end. Production is extremely limited, with fewer than 10,000 watches per year being produced. Needless to say, each watch is individually numbered and recorded in the company's archives. Boxes, straps and buckles are of the highest possible quality, in keeping with the company's strict emphasis on quality. As for the movements, they are designed and crafted completely in-house, and based exclusively on high-quality ebauches that are provided by their sister company, Frederic Piguet. Since Piguet and Blancpain share the same building, it might be said that a Blancpain watch features an in-house movement. Where the company distinguishes itself the most, however, is in its adamant devotion to the mechanical wristwatch. Since the company's rebirth, only mechanical watches, in round watch cases, are produced. These are not "trendy" watches, but rather, classical in their styling and timeless in their elegance. Among the company's most recognizable products is Ref. 1106, a manual wind wristwatch with 100 hour winding reserve; the Fifty Fathoms, a contemporary version of the company's classic diving watch; an 18K "Half Hunter" wristwatch featuring a hinged sapphire crystal back; and the "1735" which combines the six complications offered by the company into one watch.