Thursday, January 31, 2013

RARE COLLECTION - 14K WGF ILLINOIS SQUARE GENT WRISTWATCH









MADE IN/BUATAN: USA
CIRCA/TAHUN: 1960's
MODEL: ILLINOIS SQUARE
CRYSTAL/CERMIN: SCRATCH FREE ACRYLIC CRYSTAL
MOVEMENT/ENJIN: ILLINOIS 15 JEWELS MANUAL WINDING MOVEMENT 
DIAL COLOR: WHITE CREAM
FUNCTION/FUNGSI: HOUR, MINUTES AND SUB SECOND AT 9:00
HANDS/JARUM: LUMINOUS BLUE METAL HANDS
MARKERS/TANDA WAKTU: LUMINOUS ARABIC MARKER
CASING : 14K GOLD FILLED
BEZEL: 14K GOLD FILLED
LUGS: 20mm
MEASUREMENT/UKURAN: 27mm DIAMETER w/o CROWN and 33mm LUG TO LUG
DITANDA/ENGARVED BACK CASING: NONE
CROWN: ORIGINAL UNSIGNED ONION CROWN
STRAP/TALI: GENUINE BLACK LEATHER BANDS
SIZE STRAP/SAIZ TALI: 8.5" FULL LENGHT
CONDITION: WORKING AND KEEPING TIME, EXCELLENT CONDITION
MY PRICE/HARGA :RM990 (NEGOTIABLE)
LIST RM990 SOLD RM

BRIEF HISTORY OF ILLINOIS WATCHES

Illinois Watch Factory
Illinois Watch Factory
The Illinois Springfield Watch Company was organized in 1869 primarily through the efforts of J. C. Adams. The first company Directors were J. T. Stuart, W. B. Miller, John Williams, John W. Bunn, George Black and George Passfield.
John Stuart was a Springfield lawyer and former partner of Abraham Lincoln. John Williams was president of the First National bank of Springfield. William B. Miller was a local merchant. John B. Bunn owned a grocery business.
Though the first movements were produced in 1872, the company really didn't achieve full production until 1875. By serial number, the first watch made was the "Stuart" model, followed in order by the "Mason," Bunn," "Miller," and finally the "Currier. The first stem-wind watch was produced in 1875. The early Illinois models were key-wound and key-set and are quite collectible today. Illinois later produced an extensive line of extremely fine and accurate Railroad-grade pocket watches like the "Sangamo Special," "Bunn Special" and "Santa Fe Special" (just to name a few).
Illinois: A Great American Watch Since 1870
Illinois: A Great American Watch Since 1870
In 1879, due to financial difficulties, the company was reorganized and the name changed to the Illinois Springfield Watch Company. By 1885 the company name was changed yet again to the Illinois Watch Company.

Purchased by Hamilton

The Illinois Watch Company was purchased by Hamilton Watch Company in 1927, but continued to produce Illinois watches under Hamilton management until 1932 (the year the last "true" Illinois watch was made). Hamilton continued producing Illinois watches in the Hamilton factory until 1939.
The Illinois Watch Company produced watches under contract for several different brands, including Burlington Watch Company (Chicago, Illinois) which operated primarily as a mail-order business, and Santa Fe Watch Company (Topeka, Kansas). There is some question as to whether Burlington was actually a subsidiary of Illinois. Watches produced under the Burlington name include some very fine (including some railroad grade) watches, which are nearly identical to Illinois movements. Illinois also produced watches for the Plymouth Watch Company (Sears Roebuck) and the Washington Watch Company (Montgomery Ward).

Illinois Watch Case Company

NOTE: The Illinois Watch Company should not be confused with the Illinois Watch Case Company of Elgin, Illinois. The Illinois Watch Case Company was a major manufacture in the city of Elgin, Illinois. It manufactured watch cases under many brands, such as "Elgin Giant," "Elgin Pride," "Tivoli," "Spartan," and "Elgin Commander." The use of the name "Elgin" in their brand names, or marking the cases with "Elgin USA" has often lead people to believe that a watch was made by the Elgin National Watch Company when it was actually made by another manufacturer, or to think that a watch no longer has its original case because it is "now in an Elgin case."

AUTHENTIC VINTAGE WITTNAUER AUTOMATIC BUMPER MILITARY GENTS WRISTWATCH










BRAND/JENAMA : AUTHENTIC VINTAGE WITTNAUER AUTOMATIC GENTS MILITARY WRISTWATCH
MODEL : BY LONGINES
MOVEMENT/ENJIN : Automatic Cal. 11AW - 17 Jewels Swiss Movement
ORIGIN/BUATAN : Longines/Wittnauer Swiss
NO. SIRI/SERIAL NO. : 4955175
CIRCA/TAHUN : 1950's
CASING/KEMASAN : SOLID STAINLESS STEEL
FUNCTION/FUNGSI : HOUR, MINUTES, and SWIPE SECOND
DIAL: WHITE with  ARABIC MARKERS 2,4,6,8,10,12 AND INNER 24HRS  MILITARY MARKERS
BEZEL: STAINLESS STEEL
MARKINGS/TANDA JENAMA : DIAL, MOVEMENT
BAND/TALI :
 GENUINE ORIGINAL BLACK LEATHER BAND FIT 8" WRIST
LUGS SIZE: 17mm
BAND WIDTH: 120mm
LENS/CERMIN : HARDLEX ACCRYLIC CRYSTAL
MEASUREMENT/UKURAN : 33mm w/o CROWN X 39mm LUG TO LUG
WATER RESISTANT: NOT TESTED
CONDITION/KONDISI : EXCELLENT WORKING CONDITION 
PRICE/HARGA:RM800 (NEGOTIABLE))
SOLD RM 
SOLD RM

HISTORY OF LONGINES-WITTANAUER WATCHES
As soon as Ernest Francillon opened a small manufacturing plant, which started to produce the following year, the story of Longines started in 1866. Francillon, who was the grandson of Auguste Agassiz (a pioneer of Swiss horology whose name appears on wrist and pocket watches of high-quality), learned his trade at his grandfather's watch assembly shop, the "comptoir". He would finally become director of the shop, but this thirty-two-year old man got acquainted with the limits of the comptoir and the areas in which he would be more likely to have a better production.
The first Longines watches arrived in America in 1868. A few years later, Longines was awarded a gold medal for precision and reliability at the Universal Exposition of Vienna. To prevent himself from imitation, Francillon decided to trademark the dials on his watches with a winged clepsydra and the word "Longines".A clepsydra is an ancient device which measured time by marking the regulated flow of water though a small opening. Looking carefully at the centre of the Longines trademark a small box that represents this device is seen.
The company eventually departed from this procedure fairly quickly because there are several Longines watches that do not have the logo. In 1889, Longines provided five chronometers to the Italian explorer Luigi Amedeo, who did his best to reach the North Pole. His failure is hardly noted in history books, but the mark Longines'illuswtrious history as the watch choice by explores and adventurers.
In 1904, Longines furnished chronometers to a U.S. naval exploration of the North Polar Region. Unfortunately, Robert E. Peary was the first to reach the North Pole in 1909. Longines, unfortunately, missed the chance to be part of that event. At the beginning of 1900s, Longines started to express an interest in gentlemen's wrist watches and joined other Swiss makers which showed the same interest as well.
The Longines Co. states that the first wrist watch was cased in 1905. The first wrist chronographs to appear in the sports market were seen in 1910s. Moreover, Longines produced military watches for World War, some of the, with pierced shrapnel covers, "demi-hunter" cased varieties, and others for being used at sea and in the air.
Around 1920 - 1930s the golden years for Longines started. The factory had a remarkable growth from 20 to 2.500 workers, who produced more than 122.000 pieces every year. Longines would be recognized as the constant and steady companion of many pioneering aviator in a decade that aeroplanes and airships were recognized as military and exploration tools of great importance. Aeroplanes started to experience several problems such as magnetism, moisture, low temperatures, issues which had to be overcome right away. And Longines was acquainted with theses issues after having experienced the Artic cold temperatures. It was during this era that Longines would produce its most famous two wrist watches -- the Weems and the Lindbergh models. (The Lindbergh is also referred to as the Hour Angle Watch.) In 1930, Admiral Richard E. Byrd would arrive to the South Pole for the first time. His trips would always find him with a Longines on his wrist.
The A. Wittnauer Co. would become the exclusive sales agent for Longines in1880. This relationship lasted for the next 114 years. In 1936, the Wittnauer family sold A. Wittnauer Co. and renamed the Longines-Wittnauer Co. the name became so pervasive that some people think that the watches are synonymous. But, of course, they are not. Their movements are distinct and not interchangeable with one another.
World War II and beyond
The company began to produce military issue watches during the Second World War. Most of these watches were for the European forces. In 1994, Longines and Wittnauer parted company, and Swiss giant SMH, which holds title to Hamilton, Omega and Tissot, got the name.
Chronographs
The company started to show its affinity with sporting events during the 30s and 40s, producing a lot of unusual types of chronographs. Many were manufacturer with Longines's own movement, unlike the rest of the companies which would rather buy chronograph from other companies. Therefore, the Longines chronographs, those which were produced from the 20s to the 50s are highly prized and have their own separate niche in the collecting world.
The best of Longines's chronograph movements was said to be the Caliber 13 ZN. It was first released in Longines' 2-register models, but was later adapted for use in its 3-register models. The following chronographs would show movements made by Valjoux and others. These are not recognized nearly as collectible as the chronographs with Longines' own movements.

COLLECTOR ITEM ~ RARE LARGE ROLEX CORTEBERT AVIATOR WWII GENTS MILITARY WRISTWATCH










AUTHENTIC VINTAGE ROLEX TRANSITIONAL GENTS WRISTWATCH

BRAND: 
ROLEX 
MADE IN: 
ROLEX WATCH CO, SWITZERLANDMODEL NO : RARE TRANSITIONAL MODEL - 5401SERIAL NO : 14856191
MOVEMENT : 
ROLEX CORTEBERT 17 JEWELS MANUAL WINDING MOVEMENT CAL. 524. SAME MOVEMENT USED IN EARLY PANERAI FOR ITALIAN ARMYCIRCA: 1910'sFUNCTIONS: HOUR, MINUTE AND SUB SECOND AT 9:00CRYSTAL : ACCYLICDIAL : BLACK
DATE WINDOW : NO
DAY WINDOW : NO
CHRONOGRAPH : NO 
MARKERS: 
YELLOW MILITARY ARABIC/BATON MARKER - REFINISHEDHANDS: BLUE METAL HANDSCASING : SOLID STAINLESS STEEL 
SIZE : 
48mm EXCLUDING CROWN and 58mm LUG TO LUG 
BEZEL : 
STAINLESS STEEL 
CROWN : 
ORIGINAL POCKET WATCH CROWN 
STRAPS/TALI: GENUINE BLACK LEATHER BAND FITS 8.5" WRIST
 LUGS SIZE: 22mm 
CONDITION: 
EXCELLENT WORKING CONDITION, KEEPING TIME AND RECENTLY SERVICEDORIGINAL ROLEX POCKET WATCH CONVERTED TO WRISTWATCH, NO BOX & NO PAPER
PRICE: 
RM8,000 (NEGOTIABLE/BOLEH DIRUNDING)


BRIEF HISTORY OF ROLEX AND TUDOR WATCHES

The Rolex brand was created by a visionary named Hans Wilsdorf, who was born in Bavaria in the year 1881. Just before the turn of the century young Hans moved to Geneva, and at the age of nineteen discovered the industry of watchmaking. At that time the wristwatch was considered vulgar and uncouth; gentlemen of the day carried pocketwatches. Wristwatches were worn only by women, and the tiny delicate movements were unreliable and imprecise. Leading watchmakers were convinced that the challenges involved in creating an accurate timekeeping device in such a small package were insurmountable. Hans Wilsdorf disagreed. He saw much room for improvement in an industry dominated by traditional thinking.

In 1905 Wilsdorf relocated to London and founded Wilsdorf & Davis in association with his brother-in-law Alfred, a company which manufactured watch cases and distributed wristwatches. Wilsdorf always maintained a very high standard for the quality of his products, so he was continually seeking ways to improve the design of his cases and movements. In cooperation with the firm of Aegler in Bienne, Switzerland, he developed and improved the small-caliber lever escapement movement, and was confident enough to stake a loan of five times the total capital of Wilsdorf & Davis in the first order. From then on, Wilsdorf made and sold watches; his own cases with movements imported from Switzerland. After the turn of the century as wristwatches started to enter the mainstream (as soldiers wore watches on their wrists and the general perception changed from the earlier notion that wristwatches were strictly feminine), Wilsdorf quickly saw how he could take advantage of their emerging popularity by offering a variety of case designs: formal, sporty, casual, etc. He also realized the importance of brand recognition. Until then the custom had been for the retailer�s name to appear on both the dial and the movement, but Wilsdorf wanted to distinguish his watches from those of his competitors, which he considered inferior since they did not submit their products to the exacting tests which he insisted be performed on all of his own. Hence in 1908 he coined the name Rolex, which would henceforth appear on all parts of the watch, including dial, movement, case, and bracelet. No one knows for sure where he got the name; there are many theories on the subject. But everyone agrees that Rolex is a name anyone in Europe or the world at large could easily pronounce, and is short enough to fit comfortably on the dial of any wristwatch.

History was first made by Rolex in 1910 when a movement was sent to the School of Horology at Bienne, and was awarded a chronometer bulletin. This was the first time a wristwatch had ever received the chronometer rating, and suddenly Hans Wilsdorf's brand earned the respect of horologists the world over. Four years later a Rolex movement was awarded a Class A Certificate by the Royal Observatory at Kew, again the first small caliber watch movement to receive the award. Thereupon Wilsdorf decided that all Rolex timepieces should be submitted to similar tests carried out by impartial institutes. No Rolex watch would ever again be sold without its Official Timing Certificate. After World War I, Wilsdorf moved his operation to Geneva to avoid the exorbitant import taxes in England, and renamed his company Montres Rolex S.A., and later simply Rolex S.A. The Aegler company of Bienne provided watch movements to many companies, but only Rolex demanded that each and every movement undergo a weeklong battery of meticulous tests before they would be accepted. Any irregularity whatsoever meant the movement was returned to the workshops. It was due to these stringent methods of quality control that Rolex was able to achieve such high standards in accuracy and make such advancements in the world of horology.

Wilsdorf had long ago realized that for a watch to be accurate over the long term, its case would need not only to withstand the attack of dust and water, but would need to be self winding to protect the mainspring from stress caused by overwinding. The first problem was overcome in 1926 with the creation of the Rolex "Oyster", in which the winding crown was screwed down onto the case using a twin lock system. This brilliant watch was totally protected from the environment since the case was air tight as well as waterproof. In a well publicized event the following year, the Oyster was celebrated after being worn on the wrist by Mercedes Gleitze when she swam the English Channel. The watch made world headlines for keeping perfect time after being immersed in salt water for 15 hours. The Oyster was displayed in jewelry shop windows inside aquariums; keeping time while fish swam through the bracelet.

The first self-winding movement was invented by Abram-Louis Perrelet in the mid 1800's, and later perfected by Abram-Louis Breguet, but was never widely adopted because the mechanism was too delicate for daily use. In 1923 a British watchmaker named John Harwood patented a self-winding watch movement based on a "hammer winding system", which had a semi-circular weight that pivoted at the center of the movement and swung through a 300 degree arc. The swinging weight was actuated by the movement of the wearer. Wilsdorf discarded this system as too impractical. For one thing, Harwood's watch was unable to be set except by turning the bezel, and it used an unreliable friction plate to prevent overwinding. According to Wilsdorf, a truly self-winding watch should be completely automatic, silent, able to revolve in both directions, smooth in action and completely free of buffer springs. These obstacles were surmounted in 1931 when Emile Borer, the technical head of Rolex, invented the "Rotor", whose winding mass could turn both clockwise and counter-clockwise and pivot freely on its axis. The new movement was dubbed the Rolex Oyster Perpetual, and immediately became the world standard, imitated by every watchmaker since.


BRIEF HISTORY OF Cortébert For Rolex watches

Cortébert has a very poorly documented history. The brand name is currently owned by Italian watch manufacturerPerseo, and production under the Cortébert brand name has stopped in the mid-1970s. Cortébert used to be one of the highest regarded premium watch brands, manufacturing their own movements, supplying movements to other brands such as Rolex and introducing the jump-hour arrangement. When the quartz crisi hit the industry in the '70s, the majority of prestige brands ceased production including Cortébert. Others have already been resurrected (Baume et Mercier admits, while most companies like to pretend their production was continuous) and today Cortébert is the only remaining brand that has potential to be restored to its historic status.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

AUTHENTIC VERY RARE WALTHAM BLANCPAIN DIVERS GENTS WRISTWATCH














IRHOMDEYS VINTAGE COLLECTION PROUDLY PRESENTED - VERY RARE AUTHENTIC VINTAGE WALTHAM BLANCPAIN DIVERS GENTS WRISTWATCH

BRAND/JENAMA: AUTHENTIC WALTHAM DIVERS GENTS WRISTWATCH
MADE IN/BUATAN: SWISS
CIRCA/TAHUN: 1960's 
MODEL: DIVERS
CRYSTAL/CERMIN: ACRYLIC 
MOVEMENT/ENJIN: SWISS A SCHILD 17 JEWELS MANUAL MOVEMENT Cal.AS 1902
DIAL COLOR: BLACK
FUNCTION/FUNGSI: DIVERS
HANDS/JARUM: LUMINOUS SILVER TONE
MARKERS/TANDA WAKTU: RAISED LUMINOUS BATON MARKERS
CASING : STAINLESS STEEL
LUGS: 18mm 
MEASUREMENT/UKURAN: 35mm DIAMETER w/o CROWN and 43mm LUG TO LUG
DITANDA/ENGARVED BACK CASING: -
CROWN: ORIGINAL SS CROWN
STRAP/TALI: NEW TROPIK STYLE BLACK RUBBER BAND
SIZE STRAP/SAIZ TALI: 8.5"
EXCELLENT CONDITION, WORKING, KEEPING TIME, DISCONTINUED MODEL & VERY RARE AND VERY HARD TO FIND
PRICE/HARGA: PERSONAL COLLECTION (WILLING TO LETGO FOR RM8,500)


SIMILAR A.SCHILD MOVEMENT


SIMILAR HANDS, MARKERS AND BEZEL

THIS MODEL WATCH WAS COMMISSIONED BY WALTHAM TO BLANCPAIN IN THE SECOND PART OF THE 1960'S, AND BLANCPAIN PRODUCED BASED ON THEIR BATHYSCAPHE MC4 MODEL, SO THIS IS A RARE IS ONE OF THE WALTHAM BLANCPAIN SPORT WATCH.

The Waltham name is synonymous with quality and craftmanship, and remain to this day, very desirable timpieces and some of the Waltham finest watches were made in Le Locke, Switzerland and this is a peculiar Waltham watch from the 60s, has another interesting sight to note is the movement, signed calibre R.312, which was identical to those used in many early Blancpain Bathyscaphe watches. It was known that after the closure of Waltham manufacturing facilities in US in the early 60s, it imported and marketed Swiss watches in US, including the some of the famous diver watches made by Blancpain and LIPS As some may know the collaboration between the Waltham Watch Co. of USA and Blancpain Swiss in the 60s for their diver watches. Several Waltham diver watches from that era were either Blancpain look-alike or simply re-badged Blancpain with Waltham label. This one is believed to be one such examples and has the identical look of an early Fifty Fathoms made by Blancpain. The dial, hands, bezel, case and event the movement are identical. 


THIS WATCH WAS CONSIDERED A SPORTS TOOL, AND SO THERE ARE NOT MANY BLANCPAIN / WALTHAM / BATHYSCAPHES SURVIVING IN ORIGINAL AND IN EXCELLENT CONDITION (LIKE THIS ONE)MID SIZE ALL STAINLESS STEEL CASE MEASURES 34+ mm, WITHOUT ORIGINAL CROWN, ORIGINAL STEEL BACK, WALTHAM SIGNED, SOLID AND IN EXCELLENT CONDITION.SWISS MANUAL WINDING WALTHAM SIGNED MOVEMENT, BASED ON ANTON SCHILD'S CAL. 1902, RUNS AND KEEPS ACCURATE TIME. HAS JUST BEEN PROFESSIONALLY TIMED AND REGULATED, ORIGINAL BLACK DIAL IN EXCELLENT CONDITION, SHOWS NO TIME PATINA AND NO OXIDATIONS, ACUALLY NOT A CLOSE RESEMBLANCE, BUT THE EXACT SAME WATCH WITH IDENTICAL CASE, MOVEMENT AND BEZEL, THE AS 1187, WERE USED FOR THE FIRST BLANCPAIN BATHYSCAPE AND THIS PARTICULAR WALTHAM DIVER USED SIMILAR MOVEMENT AS1902. 
ORIGINAL HANDS

BI-DIRECTIONAL BAKELITE TURNING BEZEL, ORIGINAL AND IN EXCELLENT CONDITION NEW OLD STOCK ORIGINAL VINTAGE TROPIC STYLE BAND AND MINT PLEXY GLASS

AUTHENTIC VINTAGE SWISS MUNDUS CHRONOGRAPH GENTS WRISTWATCH












BRAND/JENAMA: AUTHENTIC VINTAGE SWISS MUNDUS CHRONOGRAPH GENTS WRISTWATCH
MADE IN/BUATAN: SWISS
CIRCA/TAHUN: 1950's
MODEL: CHRONOGRAPH
CRYSTAL/CERMIN: ACCRYLIC 
MOVEMENT/ENJIN: SWISS LANDERON CAL. 248 17 JEWELS MANUAL WINDING CHRONOGRAPH MOVEMENT
DIAL COLOR: CHAMPAGNE
FUNCTION/FUNGSI: 2 REGISTERS CHRONOGRAPH
HANDS/JARUM: SILVER TONE LUMINOUS DAUPHINE HANDS
MARKERS/TANDA WAKTU: SILVER TONE ARABIC WITH TACHYMETER
CASING : CHROME TOP BASE METAL
LUGS: 18mm 
MEASUREMENT/UKURAN: 35mm DIAMETER w/O CROWN and 43mm LUG TO LUG
DITANDA/ENGARVED BACK CASING: -S/N 1505 STAINLESS STEEL BACK
CROWN: ORIGINAL BASE METAL
STRAP/TALI: GENUINE BROWN TEXTILE MILITARY BAND
SIZE STRAP/SAIZ TALI: 8.5" FULL LENGHT
CONDITION: VINTAGE, ALL CRONOGRAPH WORKING AND SET TO ZERO. HARD TO FIND, COLLECTOR ITEM
PRICE/HARGARM1,000 (NEGOTIABLE) RM1,300


VINTAGE ARTDECO TANQ BRUNVIL BY E. BLANCPAIN GENTS WRISTWATCH








BRAND/JENAMA: BRUNVIL
MADE IN/BUATAN: SWISS BY BRUNVIL - E. BLANCPAIN & Fils Villeret
CIRCA/TAHUN: 1920's
MODEL: ARTDECO
CRYSTAL/CERMIN: ACRYLIC 
MOVEMENT/ENJIN: BRUNVIL 15 JEWELS MANUAL MOVEMENT Cal.23
DIAL COLOR: CREAM
FUNCTION/FUNGSI: HOUR, MINUTE AND SUB SECOND AT 6:00
HANDS/JARUM: BREGUET HANDS 
MARKERS/TANDA WAKTU: MILITARY ARABIC 
CASING : SOLID STAINLESS STEEL
LUGS: 17mm 
MEASUREMENT/UKURAN: 26mm DIAMETER EXCLUDING CROWN and 36mm LUG TO LUG
DITANDA/ENGARVED BACK CASING:
CROWN: ORIGINAL
STRAP/TALI: BROWN LEATHER BAND 
SIZE STRAP/SAIZ TALI: 8.5"
EXCELLENT CONDITION, WORKING, KEEPING TIME, DISCONTINUED MODEL & VERY RARE AND VERY HARD TO FIND
PRICE/HARGA: RM1,500 (NEGOTIABLE)

BLANCPAIN - A TRADITION OF INNOVATION SINCE 1735


Use the words "tradition" and "innovation" to describe Blancpain's philosophy is not an oxymoron. Quite the contrary, both are closely related to the heart of the history of the brand. 
True to an ancient tradition, Blancpain celebrates and perpetuates the proven traditional methods of mechanical watchmaking. Far from the production lines, each Blancpain watch is assembled from start to finish by the same watchmaker. 

HISTORY OF BLANCPAIN AND BRUNVIL WATCHES BY E. BLANCPAIN & FILS VILLERET

This story begins in the heart of the Swiss Jura mountains, in the valley of St. Imier. The valley lies between the Chasseral Mountains and those that form the border to France. We are in the year 1650. Imérion Beynon, known as "Blancpan", the ancestor of the Blancpain watch dynasty is born in the village of Villeret. Villeret already is no longer a simple farm village. The Suze River which winds along the valley before it throws itself into the gorges of the Taubenloch (pigeon hole), produces enough energy to power flour mills, sawmills and mechanical workshops.

In the 17th century, when the name “Blancpain” makes its first appearance in the person of d’Imer Blancpain, most of the trades present in the valley of Saint-Imier are represented in the village. Villeret has blacksmith farriers, nail makers and locksmiths. Imer Blancpain becomes ashopkeeper and lawyer.

In 1692, the lock- and gunsmith Daniel Jean Richard, son of a blacksmith, establishes himself in the city of Locle as a master watchmaker. Other excellent watchmakers are already present in La Neuveville (ancient name for Neuchâtel), on the borders of Lake Biel, where political conditions are particularly favorable for this trade.Their reputation rapidly reaches Villeret and as of the beginning of the 18th century, families send their most apt sons to learn this craft in La Neuveville.

Under the impetus of the two watchmakers, the farmers start to install workshops in their farmhouses and produce or finish watch parts during the long winter months, when the valley is cut off from the rest of the world. This complementary activity rapidly takes hold when the farmers realize that it is far more lucrative than another activity they engage in: iron smelting in their domestic forges.

The Blancpain family chronicles inform us that Jehan-Jacques Blancpain, baptized on March 11, 1693, great-great grandson of Imer Blancpain, is the first Blancpain to become a watchmaker. He establishes himself officially in 1735 but probably was already working in this profession previously. It is even possible that he was one of the two watchmakers mentioned in the 1725 census. In 1760, the son of the other watchmaker, Adam Bourquin, opens the first watch shop in Villeret called “Chez le Secrétaire” (At the Secretary's Place).

Despite the difficult times, Blancpain continues to manufacture and sell watches throughout Europe. In 1815, due to the excellent state of the business, a fundamental change is made: Frédéric-Louis Blancpain, a former officer of the Emperor’s army and one of the five sons of David-Louis Blancpain, transforms the purely artisan watch production into the first small scale industrial production of watches in a factory that bears the Blancpain name. By then Blancpain is making its own raw movements and is thus an integrated “manufacture”. Over the years, more and better machine tools enable Blancpain to develop its production and steadily improve product quality.
The year 1815 is considered the founding year of the Blancpain Watch Company. Over the years the name of the Company changes several times:
  • 1830 Emile Blancpain
  • 1857 E. Blancpain et fils
  • 1889 E. Blancpain fils
  • 1928 Blancpain, Fabrique d’horlogerie à Villeret.
The trademarks registered by Blancpain with the Office fédéral de la propriété intellectuelle (Swiss Patent Office) are numerous and diverse. However, the name Blancpain itself only is to be found on a small proportion of the watches the Company actually produces.
On February 24, 1888, Blancpain registers its brand with the courts in Leipzig.
Often the watches produced by Blancpain only carry the name of the retailer or one of the many other trademarks registered by the firm, hereafter some examples:

Date of registration
Brand
Specialization
August 16, 1889
Leonine
April 8, 1890
Lion’s Watch
February 10, 1893
Lion’s (Standard)
Pocket Watches
October 1, 1894
La Précieuse
Pocket Watches (Watch cases, cuvette (bassin), movements, dials, boxes)
January 24, 1896
Lux
Pocket Watches
January 14, 1897
EBFW
June 14, 1899
Masel
Pocket Watches
March 24, 1900
Truena
Pocket Watches
June 30, 1902
L’Etoile d’Or
Pocket Watches
June 30, 1902
L’Etoile Rouge
Pocket Watches
August 11, 1903
Cabane’s Watch
Pocket Watches
March 17, 1916
Lux
Watches
Mai 16, 1922
Blancpain
Watches of all sorts and sizes
October 14, 1926
Bonvil
Watches of all sorts
Idem
Blanvil
Idem
Brunvil
Idem
Dixvil
September 2, 1926
Jar Proof
Watches of all sorts and sizes

They finally decide on the Vallée de Joux, in the Jura mountain range of western Switzerland, a center for fine watchmaking since the mid-1700s, and still today the birthplace of 90% of all high-end complicated mechanical movements.
Here, in the village of Le Brassus, stands a fine old Piguet family house, "haunted" by the very soul of watchmaking... Just the place for Blancpain’s new home. It will now turn out watches made in the most genuinely traditional manner, similar in spirit to those that Jehan-Jacques Blancpain and his descendants fashioned more than two centuries ago only 100 kilometres away.