Blancpain was founded in 1735 by Jehan-Jacques Blancpain in small and picturesque Villeret, Switzerland. Jehan-Jacques was born in 1693 and transformed the upper floor of his farmhouse in a watchmaking atelier. He has always been a busy man because he did not only work as a watchmaker, but also kept working as a cattle farmer, a school teacher and later in his life he even became the mayor of Villeret. In 1797, due to the French invasion, the young men in the Blancpain family had to go to the front and this affected their watchmaking ventures. After Napoleon’s defeat, Blancpain’s grandson industrialized the watchmaking process using hydraulic power to supply electricity. The company struggled but survived the rough times of the industrial revolution.
In 1926, Blancpain started producing automatic wristwatches and in 1930, they created the first automatic watch for women. In 1953, Blancpain created the Fifty Fathoms for the French navy. This watch even became the favourite watch of world-famous naval officer, diver, filmmaker, explorer and scientist Jacques-Yves Cousteau. During the ’70s and ’80s, Blancpain almost collapsed due to the quartz recession. In 1983, however, under the leadership of Biver, Blancpain experiences a successful transition focusing on grand complications. Within a decade, Blancpain was bought by SIHH. Nowadays, it is the oldest registered watch company in the world that still is in operation.