Time is precious for the Ambassador of Blancpain

8/23/2003 – We spotted it on the back of Newsweek. Vladimir Kramnik has printed out in Russian the profundity "Time is precious when you don't have enough of it." He joins the club, which includes Garry Kasparov and Alexandra Kosteniuk, of chess champions promoting Swiss watches.

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The Ambassador of Blancpain

Alexandra Kosteniuk showed us how it is done. She turned up a year ago as the "Ambassadrice of Balmain", a Swiss watch company that signed a sponsoring agreement with women's world vice-champion.

Now Vladimir Kramnik, too, is promoting a Swiss watch company, Blancpain, founded in 1735 and today a manufacturer of high-quality (and high-price) mechanical watches.

The Blancpain "ambassadors" are personalities who are regarded as references in their own field and have left their mark on history. "All share the same continuing passion for craftsmanship, precision and perfection." Here's a list of the current dignitaries: Azzedine Alaia, Francis Ford Coppola, Guy Savoy, Nicolas G. Hayek, Patrick Rambaud, Philippe Rochat, Vladimir Kramnik.

A short history of time

20,000 years ago ice-age hunters in Europe scratched lines and gouged holes in sticks and bones, possibly counting the days between phases of the moon. The four millennia before our time saw the Egyptians using the moving shadows of obelisks as a kind of a sundial, and later water clocks (like the one found in the tomb of pharaoh Amenhotep I, buried around 1500 BCE). In the late 9th century the first candle clocks appeared, in the first half of the 14th century large weight-driven mechanical clocks began to appear in the towers of several large Italian cities.

Spring-driven clocks probably appeared first in Europe during the early 15th century. In 1656 Christiaan Huygens, a Dutch scientist, made the first pendulum clock. In 1735 Jehan-Jacques Blancpain established the first watch manufacture as a cottage industry. In 1983 Jean-Claude Biver and Jacques Piguet combined forces to revive the Blancpain Company. Close scrutiny of all available records confirmed that there never had been such a thing as a Blancpain quartz watch. And none will exist in the future.

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