Although nowadays La Chauxde-Fonds largely determines the state of the world watchmaking, years ago, the city itself was formed under the influence of the trade. Since the XVII century, the population of a small village in the canton of Neuchâtel was regularly replenished by French settlers fleeing religious persecution, and then a series of revolutions. The severe climate and lack of water were not conducive to farming, as if deliberately pushing the Swiss to the activity, for which the residents of most other regions simply wouldn’t have the patience: creating complex mechanisms.
Together with neighboring Le Locle, La Chaux-de-Fonds have jointly been awarded UNESCO World Heritage status as almost the main European monument of the XIX century urbanization. Because of a series of fires, most of the buildings had to be rebuilt, and since almost all residents were engaged in the watch industry, it was decided to give maximum attention to the needs of the trade. As a result, instead of a traditional circular city design, we observe perfectly straight streets intersecting at an angle of 90 degrees. La Chaux-de-Fonds was even mentioned by Karl Marx in his work “Capital” as one of the first full-fledged factory towns.
The territory of like-minded people Nowadays, watchmakers are still working virtually side by side, so any admirer of the precise mechanisms, who finds himself in those parts, has a unique chance to look at the work of a dozen legendary brands at once. Here are situated the headquarters of Girard-Perregaux, TAG Heuer, Corum, Graham, Arnold & Son, as well as the factories of Ulysse Nardin, Breitling, Patek Philippe,
Jaquet Droz. Despite close vicinity, the difference in brand philosophy is often noticeable even in architecture. For example, a manufacturer of luxury, but very special products Greubel Forsey adheres to avant-garde ideas, even in the design of workspace. Driving by one can think that the building just collapsed under the ground on one side. That’s where the battles from Hollywood’s “Transformers” should be filmed!