Amidst the growing movement of female empowerment, Blancpain has brought its very own history involving powerful women into the spotlight, revealing Marilyn Monroe’s 1930s cocktail watch that was made possible by one lady: Betty Fiechter, the first woman CEO and owner of a Swiss watchmaking company in 1933.
The longterm assistant of Frédéric-Emile Blancpain — the 7th and last generation of the Blancpains running the family business — Fiechter made history when she succeeded as the woman in charge in 1933. With a visionary spirit and strong determination, she played a pioneering role in shaping women’s timepieces at Blancpain, making global breakthroughs that continue to contribute to the brand’s international reputation today.
Convinced that women also held the taste, knowledge and interest necessary to excel in mechanical watchmaking, Fiechter unleashed the Rolls — the world’s first automatic women’s wristwatch — in 1930. It features a slender case that sits elegantly on a lady’s small wrist, powered by an ultra-compact 15-jewel self-winding movement (along with an ingenious sliding system to wind the mechanism) that’s specifically designed to fit inside the tiny case — a characteristic that’s very much sought-after in watches today.
She also paved the way for the creation of jewellery watches at Blancpain, and debuted the Ladybird in 1956. It came with the smallest round movement ever conceived at the time, and with dainty watches trending and ingenuity in great demand for more compact movements, the watch became an instant sensation upon its introduction.
Fiechter may have retired in 1970s, and the company sold to Jacques Piguets in 1982 (and the Swatch Group afterwards), but her innovative work and the respect and admiration for women continues to inspire evolutions in female watchmaking at Blancpain. That includes the introduction of the brand’s now-iconic Moon Phase models, featuring a distinctive star-shaped beauty mark that shares an uncanny resemblance with Marilyn Monroe — another femme fatal who was a strong supporter of the brand.