Traditional watchmaking craftsmanship, workshop, assembly, shop, manufacture… terms that still resonate throughout the mountains and valleys of the historic Jura region (Switzerland). Watchmaking is directly linked to both its history and its economy. In recognition of this fact, a small group of passionate enthusiasts established the Watchmaking Foundation some nine years ago. Collecting parts, exhibiting its finds or giving expert opinion on individual timepieces, the Foundation concerns itself with the treasures of their ancestors.
Watchmaking: inextricably linked to the region’s development
The past is undoubtedly an inexhaustible source of riches, but it also serves to help us understand our present society and envisage its future. Aware that the past has a tendency to gather dust, the Foundation’s members are constantly seeking to bring watchmaking history out from the vaults and into the public arena, for those who either remember or need to understand the past. The Foundation’s role today is to effectively promote the region’s heritage, to bring it to life through dynamic projects aimed at the widest possible audience.
With support from both the Republic and the Canton of Jura and the Swiss Confederation, the Watchmaking Foundation has implemented a large-scale project to appeal to historians and tourists alike. Connoisseurs and amateurs, Jurassians and foreigners can all discover the three aspects of watchmaking as they pass through the three Jura districts. The Foundation’s workshop in Porrentruy has been transformed. It will stage a presentation of semiprecious stones – a burgeoning area a few decades ago – in the lovely Ajoie region. A traditional workshop will be recreated In the Franches-Montagnes district to recall the origins of watchmaking in the Jura. And finally, the Foundation will explore the themes of bar turning and machine tools in Delémont and the Birse Valley.
In addition to these presentations, the institution is aiming to bring together the Canton’s entire watchmaking community for the project. The industry, hotel, leisure, culture and heritage sectors will join forces to offer each visitor the most detailed picture of the Canton of Jura.
A truly innovative concept: the chance to look inside the industries and companies involved in watchmaking. For reasons of confidentiality and sometimes organisation, it is naturally not always possible to reveal specific expertise. Several organisations have chosen to participate, aware of the importance of openness and communication.
Welcome to the Jura
In addition to this historic journey, each visitor will have the opportunity to spend some time in the Canton. Relaxing leisure activities, excellent cuisine and a night in welcoming Jurassian accommodation will be the perfect accompaniment to a truly unique watchmaking experience. This offer will be available as complete packages with the option to adapt both the length and content of the stay. Another way to discover the Jura, past and present, just as you like.