Brand Directory: Lip
In 1893 Emmanuel Lipman, with the help of his sons, founded the Lipmann Brothers Clock Factory in Besançon, eastern France. Shortly after, they produced the Lip stopwatch in 1896. Later in 1952, they introduced the first electronic watch, presented to Charles de Gaulle and U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower. Due to financial issues in the company, it was made public in 1967; at this time, Ebauches S.A. (became Swatch) took 33% of the shares. Ebauches S.A. became the largest shareholder in the 1970s with 43% shareholding.
Lip launched the iconic Nautic-Ski, their first 200m waterproof watch in the same year.
In 1973 Lip introduced the first French quartz watch, but unfortunately, due to aggressive competition from the States and Japan, they started liquidation proceedings in 1973. A workers cooperative was formed and restarted production. During all this upheaval, Lip managed to produce a unique design collection in 1975 with the famous Mach 2000 designed by Roger Tallon, inspiring brands like Swatch, Bell & Ross, Braun and Porsche Design, to name a few. Through general strikes by the workers and a restart and then stop of production, Lips continued problems came to a head in 1977. With no sign of anyone taking on the business, they applied for liquidation in September 1977. Role-on to 1984 when Kiplé, a French watch brand, repurchased the Lip cooperative. This buyout didn’t last, and by 1990 they were looking for another owner. Jean-Claude Sensemat, a French businessman bought the brand in 1990 and quickly relaunched production using modern marketing methods to revitalise the brand. Today production is found in Europe and Asia, with movements coming from Japan and Switzerland.