Jehan-Jacques Blancpain founded Blancpain and began making watches in 1735 in his home in Villeret, Switzerland. By 1815 great grandson to Jehan, Frédéric-Louis Blancpain, took over the business and began to modernize production methods which allowed a more industrial undertaking. He introduced major innovation into the watchmaking world which pushed the business further. However competition from American workshops like Hamilton put a strain on the business in the mid 1850s-1860s. In 1865 Blancpain built a two-story factory a short distance from the original location (by the river) to make use of water power to supply the electricity needed for its production processes thus modernizing further. Business continued and in 1926 Blancpain partnered with John Harwood to market the first automatic wrist watch but by 1932 Frederic had passed and his daughter decided to sell the business to two staff members of the company Betty Fiechter and Andre Leal. Betty acted as the director where she stayed until 1950 when Jean, her nephew joined the firm. Also at this time they were continuing to increase production as the business grew and became part of the SSIH. The brand continued to operate successfully and sold in 1983 to Jacques Piguet, son of Frédéric Piguet and Jean-Claude Biver. The company then set up production at Le Brassus, in the Joux Valley, and traded as Blancpain SA until SSIH purchased Blancpain back in 1992. The company operated as such until 2002 when it was purchased back by SSIH which eventually became known as Swatch Group.