If you are a pipe smoking enthusiast with any amount of time invested in studying various pipe makers, you most definitely have heard about the Butz Choquin pipes. These magnificent pipes began as a single pipe called the Choquin pipe, created in 1858. The curved Choquin pipe featured a real albatross bone stem, silver rings that held together the pipe’s body, and a flat-bottomed hearth.
The Butz Choquin history began when tobacconist Jean-Baptiste, located in Metz, gained a son-in-law in one of his workmen, Gustave Butz, who married Choquin’s daughter, Marie. Together Choquin and Butz formed the Butz-Choquin pipe manufacturing company. The company was known immediately for its forward thinking pipe designs, a signature of the company that would remain with it through the next almost century and a half.
In 1951, after nearly one hundred years of business in the original Metz location, the Butz Choquin mark was bought by the Berrod-Regard company and moved to Saint-Claude, in the Haut Jura Mountains, considered the world capital of the briar pipe. The Berrod-Regard company was a fine fit with the Butz Choquin brand and continued expanding the legacy of ahead-of-its-time pipe designs.
At the height of production during the 1970’s in the Saint-Claude factory, local laborers and craftsman, as many as 180, were producing a phenomenal 800,000 pipes per year. Over time the numbers of workers have dwindled and annual production has leveled out to around 150,000-200,000 pipes annually. Though many of the pipe manufacturing companies that once flourished in the Saint-Claude region have long since faded away, the Butz Choquin brand has been able to continue on successfully due to the time-honored vision, advancements in pipe design, pure dedication and hard work approach it takes to pipe making.
This world-renowned pipe brand has been carefully navigated throughout time to persevere and succeed. In 2002, the Berrod family, having been in possession of the Butz Choquin brand for far longer than its original owners, passed the company over to Fabien Guichon. Guichon, also a native of the region, has vowed to continue on with the Butz Choquin legacy, looking for ways that he can continue to develop the brand and push it deeper into the U.S. market to enjoy the long lasting success it has had in Europe and elsewhere.
For serious collectors, look for The Jubilee Series, created on the occasion of the 140th anniversary of the Butz Choquin alliance. Other extremely hard to get a hold of pipes include the Morningstar series, each one being a one-of-a-kind piece, selling upwards of $1,200. However, on the whole, the Butz Choquin line offers a wide variety of daily use pipes that are extremely affordable while also carrying on the Butz Choquin reputation of being ahead of the game in style and design.