Arras (Poland)

In 1956, a joint enterprise between Poland and the Soviet Union was established toward the creation of a new line of wristwatches. They were to be called "Błonie". It was agreed that the Polish Precision Mechanics Factory (Zakładów Mechaniczno Precyzyjnych) would manufacture these watches under license from the 1st Moscow Watch Factory. The first series of watches left the factory on October 24, 1959, and the Błonie brand name was first exhibited and sold at the Poznań International Fair in 1960. 

 

Błonie’s first watches were assembled entirely out of Soviet-made parts, but the factory saw gradual incorporation of "in-house" components into the assembly line – beginning with watch cases and dials. Over time, in-house production expanded to movement parts, notably some scarce bridges bearing Błonie’s own trademark logo (see here). During the years that these Soviet/Polish hybrid watches were produced, they appeared under 16 different brand names: Alfa, Arras, Atlas, Bałtyk, Blonex, Blonex Antymagnetyczny, Blonex Super, Błonie, Delfin, Dukat, Jantar, Kurant, Lech, Polan, Wars, and Zodiak.

 

Błonie watch production ceased toward the end of the 1960s, though it is unclearly exactly why. Most likely, the socio-economic situation at the time (particularly import difficulties) resulted in delays to the manufacturing process, ultimately causing production to be suspended entirely. In the decade spanning 1959-1969, approximately 1.2 million watches were produced at the Błonie Watch Factory. 

 

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