The know-how in watchmaking mechanics and art mechanics includes the watchmaking craft located along the Jura Arc from Geneva to Schaffhausen, from Biel to Besançon, but also the manufacture of automata and music boxes, characteristic of the Sainte-Croix region. At the crossroads of science, art and technology, this know-how combines individual and collective, theoretical and practical skills in the field of mechanics and micromechanics. In this Franco-Swiss area, a wide variety of craftsmen, companies, schools, museums and associations promote and transmit these manual techniques that are both traditional and innovation-oriented. While know-how in watchmaking and art mechanics has primarily an economic function, it has also shaped the daily social reality of the regions concerned.
Watchmaking know-how in Franche-Comté
Watchmaking has been carried on in Besançon and the watchmaking region for more than two centuries, leaving its mark on the architecture as well as on the economic activity, teaching and research that still distinguish the region today. The Museum of Time presents remarkably rich collections, and the Besançon Observatory is still one of the three establishments in the world to certify movements. This certification has been recognisable since 1897 by the engraving of the famous viper hallmark.
The Franc-Comté watchmaking industry accounts for 80% of the French industry. Research activities (FEMTO-ST and UTINAM) and initial and continuing education (UFC, ENSMM, AFPA, Lycée Edgar Faure, etc.) also bear witness to its vitality. There are about fifty companies (SMIs and SMEs) linked to watchmaking in the Greater Besançon area and about thirty companies in the Haut-Doubs, fifteen of which specialise in mechanical watches, as well as a number of independent craftsmen (complete watchmakers and restorers). The subcontracting activity is very marked, the luxury sector (in particular leather goods) also characterising our region. We note the gradual arrival of a new generation of watchmakers more focused on design and aesthetic finishing. Finally, throughout the Jura Arc, people appreciate work well done and everyday vocabulary bears the traces of a "common watchmaking identity": you've got better weather, it's going well...