My journey into horology has always been a mix of mechanical brilliance and historical intrigue when it comes to timepieces. I have frequently been complimented on my ability to fuse the two together. My passion and enjoyment as a collector has constantly inspired me to pursue the lesser-known brands. I have rarely been disappointed when I am able to uncover a timepiece that combines mechanical and historical characteristics into their design.
The Blanchet brand brings all that I desire in a timepiece into a fine package. As I unwrapped the parcel set before me I could see the care taken to ensure the coveted timepiece inside was presented in a style befitting luxurious competitors. The history of Blanchet says that Napoleon III commissioned some models of Blanchet watches to be presented to officers of the French Army for their service. The presentation set before me was apropos of an emperor honoring his loyal legionnaires. As I extracted the Blanchet model DD 1000.AC.01 from the package I was taken back by its overwhelming presence. Before me lay a timepiece that felt great on the wrist, and looked fabulous. Further investigation into the mechanics affirmed that DD 1000.AC.01 lived up to Blanchet’s high standards of excellence.
This 44mm deep dive watch is powered by a Swiss Chronograph certified (COSC) SW 200 or ETA 2824 movement. Great care went into the functional design of the timepiece, from superluminal black dial, Safire double curved crystal to stainless steel 316L case material. Waterproof to 100 ATM, this elegant watch could be comfortably worn with a three-piece suit or deep diving gear. The Blanchet brand was truly a happy find for me, but what are the origins of this familiar yet lesser-known brand?
The geneses of the Blanchet dates back to the late 1700’s where Jean Blanchet, a Swiss watchmaker, grew up in Lyon France working with his father in their small watch dial factory. A young Jean was fascinated by the French and Swiss watchmaking traditions, and in 1789 he launched his own watch manufacturing company. By 1819 the Blanchet brand became a reputable brand name across much of old Europe. The Blanchet brand continued to grow in popularity; by 1852 Yves Blanchet took over the business after the accidental death of his father, Jean. Four years later Yves relocated the watch factory to Coppet in Lake Geneva area of Switzerland and operated under the name “Manufacture d’Horologerie Blanchet & Cie”. Yves equated his passion for watchmaking with his other love of making wine; he is known to have stated “a good watch is like a good wine; only time enhances the value and quality”. Yves continually crafted watches at the highest standards of durability and quality. The Blanchet brand consistently provided originality, luxury and style and was known to adorn the wrists of some important historical figures of the time period, such as, Napoleon III and British Prime Minster Gladstone.
The Blanchet brand continued to acquire status until the entire factory burnt down in 1914. The Blanchet brand lay dormant until 2010 when D Group resurrected the Blanchet brand. Under the direction of Christian Disanto, Blanchet’s plan is to deliver a timepiece crafted with contemporary elegance in perfect harmony with the timeless standards set by its predecessors.
Blanchet delivers the best of two worlds, fusing Italian design with Swiss technology to offer a handmade, highly crafted timepiece built for today.