Have you heard of Lip? As far as watches are concerned, France might not be the most famous country but if we have a brand to be proud of, it sure is Lip.
The story of Lip began at the beginning of the 19th century when Emmanuel Lipmann and the Jewish community of Besançon, in the north-east of France, offered a watch to Napoleon. During the second world war, the Lipmann are deported to Drancy internment camp. The son, Fred Lipmann, becomes the director in 1945. In 1952, he launches the Electronic, considered to be the first electronic watch because of the presence of a diode. In the 60’s, the company faces difficulties which will last until 1990. But this period makes Lip a part of French history because of large and diverse actions and protest to prevent the closing of the factories, including a 100.000 people march in Besançon, an attempt of workers councils to keep on with the production on their own, and the design of the Mach 2000 by Roger Tallon (designer of the TGV) in 1973 to give Lip a new chance. In 1990, Jean Claude Sensemat buys the brand and tries a modern marketing approach including partnerships with the national press (Le Nouvel Obs still offers a Lip watch to its suscribers) and the reissue of the General de Gaulle watch, which he offered to Bill Clinton. With their retrofuturistic designs and their affordable prices, the Lip watches function as a statement of the French tradition of industrial innovation and political progress.