Depancel is a French watch brand founded in 2018 by Clément Meynier, a native of the Jura Mountains, near the Franco-Swiss border.
Before setting up his own watch brand, Clément Meynier had been working as an engineer at CERN (The European Organization for Nuclear Research) in Geneva. Combining a passion for watch making skills with his mechanical knowledge, Clément Meynier set himself the admirable goal of making mechanical watches more accessible to a much wider public. This goal included not only improving upon the price, but also providing greater transparency and understanding about watch making.
By placing its community at the heart of the creative process, Depancel has broken with traditional watch making practices, instead designing products that meet their followers’ needs and expectations. Once developed and prototyped, the creations are submitted to the community before production is started.
The brand successfully conducted two Kickstarter crowd-funding campaigns: First one for the Depancel AUTO collection (2018) and the second one for the Depancel [Re]Naissance collection (2019). Presently, the brand sells these timepieces via their online store.
With e-commerce as the cornerstone of its economic model, Depancel has eliminated intermediaries and with them the multiplying factors that can lead to a sale price up to eight times higher than the cost of production.
The brand goes even further by opting for a pre-ordering system that allows it to produce fitting quantities, thus limiting storage costs, all while ensuring a more sustainable process. This model enables the brand to maintain unusually good value for money, as witnessed by the lifetime warranty for its products, while also continuing to make a tangible impact on local Franche-Comté craftsmanship.
Depancel timepieces draw their design inspiration from the legendary cars manufactured in France. Interestingly, the name Depancel is a contraction of Delage, Panhard and Facel Vega – the three celebrated icons of the motor car industry in France.
With its logo inspired by the 1954 Facel Vega’s radiator grill, its dials resembling instrument panels and its leather straps with a look of drivers’ gloves, the tributes to iconic automobiles are varied in these mechanical watches.