Jehan-Jacques Blancpain made his first watches in 1735
, at his workshop in Villeret, in the Saint-Imier valley. The first Blancpain factory was established by his great-nephew, Frédéric-Emile, in 1815, again in Villeret. The company remained in the family until Frédéric-Emile’s death in 1932
, after which production continued as Rayville SA. In 1982
the company was bought by Jean-Claude Biver and Jacques Piguet, then in 1992
by SMH, now Swatch Group.
1926 Production of the first self-winding wristwatch based on John Harwood’s patent.
1953 Fifty Fathoms, the first modern diving watch, water-resistant to 91 metres, was worn by French Navy divers and by Jacques Cousteau while shooting "The Silent World", winner of the Palme d’Or at the 1956 Cannes Film Festival.
1956 Creation of the Ladybird, whose 15.3mm diameter made it the smallest round movement of its time.
1983 Smallest moon-phases display, indicating the date, day, month and moon phases. Renaissance of the mechanical moon-phases watch.
1987 Smallest minute-repeater movement of its time.
1987 Thinnest self-winding chronograph of its time.
1988 Thinnest split-seconds chronograph of its time.
1989 First self-winding split-seconds chronograph.
1989 Thinnest flying tourbillon of its time with an eight-day power reserve.
1990Creation of six watches with identical cases, each corresponding to one of the six masterpieces leading to the grade of master-watchmaker:
Full calendar and moon phases
1991 Presentation of the 1735
grande complication watch with all six "masterpiece" complications. Produced as a limited edition of 30, this self-winding watch was the most complicated ever made at that time.
1993 Minute-repeater watch with automata.
1997 First ladies’ flyback chronograph
1997 Blancpain Trilogy: Fifty Fathoms (Water) GMT (Earth) Air Command (Air)
1998 First self-winding tourbillon with an eight-day power reserve.
1999 First movement to combine a split-seconds chronograph with automatic winding, flyback and tourbillon.
2000 First self-winding tourbillon and perpetual calendar with an eight-day power reserve.
2004 First wristwatch with running equation.
2005 New patented system of under-lug correctors.
2005 Thinnest hand-wound perpetual calendar watch of its time.
2006 The 13R0 hand-wound base movement with three barrels for an eight-day power reserve, and bi-directional rapid date-change mechanism