Manufacture Blancpain

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Manufacture Blancpain is a Swiss movement manufacturer paired with Blancpain and owned by Swatch Group. It was formerly known as Frédéric Piguet SA or F. Piguet and traces its history in Le Brassus and Le Sentier to watchmaker Louis-Elisée Piguet in 1858, himself the great-grandson of the founder of watchmaking in the family. Frédéric Piguet specialized in ultra-thin and complicated watch movements. The Piguet family firm was acquired by Swatch Group in 1995 and incorporated into Blancpain in 2008.

Louis Elisée Piguet

The Piguet family came from the village of Piguet-Dessus in the Vallée de Joux and became peasant watchmakers in the late 18th century. Following in the footsteps of his father and uncle, Jean Michel Étienne Piguet (1800-1859) focused solely on watchmaking in the first half of the 19th century. He was followed by Louis Élisée Piguet (1836-1924), who ran the firm and found fame through the turn of the 20th century. He was followed by Henri Louis Piguet (1867-1931), then Frédéric Piguet (1906-2001), then Jacques Frédéric Piguet.

Louis-Elisée Piguet (1836-1924) began producing ebauche movements in 1858. Originally founded in Le Brassus, the company has remained in that village and the neighboring Le Sentier for over 150 years. After his apprenticeship, Piguet focused on producing complications in his workshop, primarily supplying high-end Geneva and London brands, including Dent, Gübelin, Breguet, and Frodsham. Piguet was also a supplier for the American market through Charles-Henri Meylan and Audemars Piguet.

Louis Elisée Piguet is credited for creating the first perpetual calendar module, a complication that his company is still known for. He also created a working grande sonnerie mechanism based on the design of his teacher, Henri Golay, and Frédéric Piguet has returned to this design repeatedly over the years. Piguet's most famous creation was his "Le Merveilleuse", which included 22 complications. Manufactured with Ami LeCoultre-Piguet, this was one of the most famous "super-complications" of the era.

Frédéric Piguet

Piguet's four sons took over the business in 1905, renaming it Les Fils de L.E. Piguet. They ran the company through 1938, when his grandson (1906-1977) acquired all of the family's shares and renamed the company using his name, Frédéric Piguet. The company remained a prime supplier to high-end luxury watchmakers in Geneva and across Switzerland, counting Audemars Piguet, Paul Buhré, and H. Moser & Cie. among its customers.

Frédéric Piguet was especially well-known for ultra-thin movements for use in luxury watches. These rivaled those produced by Piaget, the leader in this space through the 1960s, and were in high demand.

Piguet and Blancpain

Upon his death in 1977, Frédéric's son Jacques Piguet inherited the company. Piguet immediately recruited Edmond Capt as technical director. Capt had designed the Valjoux 7750 chronograph and was eager to develop next-generation quartz movements as well. Piguet's historic movements (FP 21 and FP 71) were no longer selling well and the company intended to redirect their attention to advanced quartz movements for customers like Cartier and Ebel. Capt's FP 620, FP 820, and FP 8310 quartz movements were quickly adopted by these brands, and his later FP 1270 "Meca-Quartz" would be the first Swiss quartz chronograph movement. Capt also developed a mechanical movement for Audemars Piguet, FP 18, and a series for Blancpain.

In 1981, Jacques Piguet and Jean-Claude Biver bought the defunct Blancpain brand from SSIH. Biver directed the brand to focus exclusively on mechanical movements, calling it "the living museum of the past." Piguet set about creating "six masterpieces" for Blancpain: An ultra-thin watch, moon phase indicator, perpetual calendar, split-seconds chronograph, tourbillon, and minute repeater. The two companies accomplished every one of these tasks in a decade, and were one of the first to deliver a tourbillon wristwatch based on a design from Vincent Calabrese.

Many of the developments from Frédéric Piguet in this period were notable: Their moon phase indicator kicked off a trend for the complication in 1982; they were the first company in modern times to produce a split-seconds chronograph and are credited for re-introducing this complication in 1988; their tourbillon was only the second in a mass-produced wristwatch after Audemars Piguet in 1989. The Frédéric Piguet tourbillon, Cal. 23, remains notable for using Calabrese's off-center balance wheel concept, which some have categorized as a carousel but this is incorrect since it does not have a secondary gear train.

Edmond Capt's basic movements were important to Blancpain as well. In 1985 the company introduced the slim Cal. FP 810 and Cal. FP 951, which powered many simple watches for Blancpain, including smaller models for ladies.

Manufacture Blancpain

The Swatch Group purchased Piguet and Blancpain on July 8, 1992. By this point, F. Piguet had become critical to the luxury watchmaking world, especially in Geneva. The firm supplied such prestigious companies as Patek Philippe, Audemars Piguet, Gerald Genta, Ebel, Vacheron Constantin, Piaget, Rolex, and its partner Blancpain with annual production of more than 50,000 units. Although the firm had remained in the Piguet family for six generations, there were no more Piguet descendants to take over.

In 2010, F. Piguet was renamed Manufacture Blancpain, supplying movements for Blancpain.

One of the most-notable products of Manufacture Blancpain is Cal. 1185, one of the thinnest automatic chronograph movements in the world. This calibre is used by Audemars Piguet and Vacheron Constantin along with Breguet and Blancpain. Manufacture Blancpain also supplies movements for other Swatch Group companies, including Jaquet Droz.

Piguet Family

  • Jacques Piguet (1720-1809)
    • Abraham-Daniel Piguet (1746-1833)
      • Jean Michel Étienne (1800-1859)
        • Louis Élisée Piguet (1836-1924)
          • Henri-Louis Piguet (1867-1931)
            • Fréderic-Henri-Louis Piguet (1906-2001)
              • Jacques-Frédéric Piguet
          • Adrien-Auguste Piguet (died by 1938)
            • Emile-Arnold Piguet
    • Samuel Piguet (born 1757)


  • 1883, February - The first survey of businesses shows that the head of the house Ls.-Elisée Piguet is Louis-Elisée Piguet; the register notes that the firm was founded in 1868 (which could be incorrect)
  • 1929, February - Partners Robert-Alexis Piguet and Albert-Francis Piguet withdrew from the company; the remaining partners are Henri-Louis Piguet and Adrien-Auguste Piguet
  • 1938, September - Les Fils de Louis-Elisée Piguet is renamed Les Fils de Louis-Elisée Piguet, Fréderic et Arnold Piguet, suceesseurs; Fréderic-Henri-Louis Piguet and Emile-Arnold Piguet are administrators and owners; Adrien-Auguste Piguet, deceased, is removed
  • 1946, November - Les Fils de Louis-Elisée Piguet, Fréderic et Arnold Piguet, successeurs is dissolved and taken over by Ancienne Fabrique Louis-Elisée Piguet, F. Piguet, successeur; Fréderic Piguet is owner and director
  • 1973, September 21 - Ancienne Fabrique Louis-Elisée Piguet, F. Piguet, successeur is taken over by a public limited company called Frédéric Piguet SA; share capital is 300,000 francs; net assets are 369,000 francs; Frédéric Piguet is president and Jacques Piguet is secretary
  • 1978, November - Frédéric Piguet, President, is no longer an administrator; Jacques Piguet, secretary, is now sole administrator
  • 1992, September - Jacques Piguet is no longer a member of the board of directors; Nicolas G. Hayek is made president and delegate, Pierre Arnold is made vice-president, Anton Bally, Edgar Geiser, Erwin Girard, and Hans Kurth are added to the board; Jean-François Vernetti is given power of attorney
  • 1994, September - Jean-François Vernetti is removed as administrator
  • 1995, May - Jean-Claude Biver is given power of attorney
  • 1996, May - Jacques Piguet is removed as administrator
  • 1997, April - Hanspeter Rentsch is made administrator; Edmond Capt is appointed director; Pierre-Yves Wehrli is given power of attorney
  • 1997, June - Pierre Arnold is removed as administrator
  • 1998, June - Pierre-Yves Wehrli is replaced as administrator by Roland Aubert
  • 2003, March - Evelyne Burnier is given power of attorney
  • 2004, February - Jean-Claude Biver is no longer an administrator
  • 2004, March - Didier Ducret is given power of attorney
  • 2004, September - Frédéric Piguet is moved to Rue des Collèges 8 in Le Brassus
  • 2004, December - Anton Bally is no longer an administrator
  • 2006, November - Marc Hayek is given administrative power; Evelyne Burnier's power of attorney is removed
  • 2008, January - Frédéric Piguet is moved to Rue G.-H.-Piguet 17 in Le Sentier
  • 2010, November 2 - Frédéric Piguet SA is merged into Blancpain SA, with net assets of 25 million francs


Frédéric Piguet SA
Rue des Collèges 8
CH-1348 Le Brassus
Tel. +41 (0) 21 845 16 16
Fax +41 (0) 21 845 16 00

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