There are many big decisions that need to be made when buying a luxury watch but perhaps the biggest of those decisions is deciding which brand of luxury watch to buy. As one of the oldest watch manufacturers still in existence, Blancpain has earned a solid reputation for their stunning timepieces, but are Blancpain watches worth it?
Blancpain watches are made entirely in-house by experts who have proven themselves to be experts in their field. However, they are on the expensive side and do not hold their value as well as some other luxury brand watches.
Continue reading to learn more about the Blancpain brand, including six reasons why you might consider buying a Blancpain watch today.
Brief History of Blancpain
Founded in 1735 by the Swiss watch manufacturer Jehan-Jacques Blancpain, Blancpain is one of the oldest watch manufacturing companies in the world. In fact, if it were not for the fact that the company closed its doors during the quartz crisis of the 1970s, it would claim the title of the oldest. Still, despite the interruption, there are many who still consider Blancpain to be the oldest operational watch company in existence.
Jehan-Jacques Blancpain was a humble farmer/schoolteacher that started making pieces for pocket watches as a side-gig in 1735. Little did he know then that he was creating the foundation for a company that would still be manufacturing timeless masterpieces in the year 2022.
The family business was passed down through multiple generations until it was sold to an apprentice watchmaker by the name of Betty Fletcher, who, in 1932, became the first woman to own a Swiss watch company. Since the company was no longer owned by the family, Betty changed the name to Rayville-Blancpain.
The Blancpain company has a long and varied history that spans several centuries. During that time, the company has developed many wonderful watch collections—including the Le Brassus, L-evolution, Leman, and Villeret collections—but the collection that has brought them the most recognition is the Fifty Fathoms collection.
How Much Do Blancpain Watches Cost?
Blancpain currently features five collections on its website—Fifty Fathoms, Air Command, Villeret, Ladybird, and Metiers d’Art. However, in order to purchase a watch, shoppers must make an appointment with an authorized dealer or buy used from other places.
Geneva Seal, found in Chicago, Illinois, is just one of the authorized dealers available in the United States. Their inventory of Blancpain watches ranges from a low price of $9,500 for a Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe Steel Auto to a high price of $319,000 for a Villeret Tourbillion Carrousel 44.6 MM. However, the majority of their Blancpain watches are priced between $9,500 and $45,000.
Additionally, chrono24, which claims to be the leading online marketplace for luxury watches, sells both new and used watches. They currently have 2,875 Blancpain watches for sale on their website, and their prices range from $1,741 for a Blancpain Villeret Lady Acciaio/oro Giallo Art. Bp10 to $495,934 for a Blancpain Villeret Carrousel Repetition Minutes.
Depending on what you are looking for, it is possible to find a Blancpain watch in almost any price range. However, according to WatchCharts, “Blancpain watches typically sell between $6,302 – $21,651 on the secondary market, with a median asking price of $11,827.”
Do Blancpain Watches Hold Their Value?
As with anything, watches start to depreciate the very first time you wear them. However, luxury watches do tend to depreciate less in the long term than other watches, but what about Blancpain watches?
According to allinwatches, Blancpain watches tend to depreciate by as much as 38% within the first year. However, the average yearly depreciation is around 2.2%. When compared to a brand like Rolex, which loses around 11.3% of its value within the first year, 38% depreciation sounds like a lot. But, when compared to a brand such as Breitling, which depreciates by 16% each year, 2.2% per year is not terrible.
It is important to note that different models may depreciate at different rates. For example, more popular models, or models that stay in high demand, might hold their value well because there will always be someone who is willing to buy it. On the other hand, models that are not as popular may not have a high resale value.
Are Blancpain Watches Reliable?
According to Blancpain’s website, each watch is designed to be an heirloom that buyers can pass down for generations to come, and so long as the watch is serviced regularly, it will remain an instrument of “high precision” and “beauty.”
Additionally, all Blancpain watches come with a 24-month warranty (36 months if the watch is bought from a Blancpain boutique or flagship store). This international warranty covers any defect in materials or workmanship, but it does not cover normal wear and tear, or damage caused by accidents or neglect. Furthermore, having your watch serviced by an unauthorized repair shop may void the warranty.
While the warranty covers any defects that may present themselves during the first few years of ownership, servicing your watch is the only way to guarantee that it will last you for years to come. However, it is worth noting that there are several used Blancpain watches currently on the market that date all the way back to the 1950s.
6 Reasons People Like Blancpain Watches
As far as watch manufacturers go, Blancpain has a colorful history. Not only are they one of the oldest watch manufacturing companies still running today, but the company was started by a humble farmer/schoolteacher, was owned by the first woman to own a watchmaking company, and it survived through the quartz crisis. Wearing a Blancpain watch is like wearing a tiny piece of history on your arm.
2 In-House Manufacturing
Blancpain is certainly not the only watch manufacturer to make their watches in-house, but they are one of a rare few. In fact, not only do they handle everything from research and development to assembly and quality control, but Blancpain has even customized their own watch-making tools.
3 Female Presence
During the early days, watchmaking was largely dominated by and marketed towards men. However, that started changing in 1930 when Blancpain manufactured the world’s first automatic women’s wristwatch. Shortly after that, the company was sold to a woman named Betty Fletcher, who became the first woman to own a Swiss watch manufacturing company.
Blancpain continued to focus on delicate women’s watches, and in 1956 the Ladybird was released, which featured the smallest round movement ever created to that point. Since then, the company has continued to gain a solid reputation for creating some of the most stunning jewelry watches ever to have been made.
It can be hard to find any official numbers published, which is normal in the watch industry, but most sources agree that Blancpain produces anywhere from 20-20,000 watches a year, with some models being much more exclusive than others. For example, the original Blancpain Air Command was limited to only 500 pieces.
From movements to decorative engravings, Blancpain watches are manufactured and assembled by expert watchmakers who have undergone rigorous training. Although handcrafted items used to be the norm, we live in a world where it is almost impossible to find items that have been crafted with the love and care that goes into a Blancpain watch, which is one of the reasons why people are willing to spend so much for them.
Blancpain is committed to ocean preservation and the Blancpain Ocean Commitment has maintained partnerships with multiple other organizations, such as the Pristine Seas expedition, the Economist Group’s World Ocean Initiative, and the World Oceans Day. Additionally, they have launched several BOC limited edition watches and donated a part of each sale to organizations committed to preserving and protecting the world’s oceans.
Should I Buy a Blancpain Watch?
People buy luxury watches for a variety of reasons, and whether you should buy a Blancpain watch really depends on the reason you have decided to buy a luxury timepiece. If you are looking for a watch that will appreciate over time, you may be better off buying a Rolex, but if you are looking to buy a beautiful, hand-crafted timepiece from one of the oldest watch manufacturers in the world, then you should buy a Blancpain watch.
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