The Franco-swiss watchmaking legacy

Before the eighteenth century, the watchmaking appeared to Besançon where a corporation of watchmakers established due to the proximity of the Jura, Haut-Doubs and Switzerland where the rural world is organized for production timepieces partly explains this local activity.

Drafts of movements made by Japy Beaucourt (1776) were also required by the Swiss watchmakers and it still tightened the links and exchanges between these neighboring countries.


Laurent Megevand (watchmaker) a native of Geneva, founded in 1793, the first Manufacture of French clocks in Besançon and opened many subcontractiong workshops.
Swiss watchmakers (400 - 700 immigrants from Porrentruy, Geneva, Le Locle, Neuchâtel), hit by unemployment, settled in the capital of Franche-Comte. The watch industry was launched in Besancon, and was recognized throughout France less than a century later.
At the initative of Alphonse Delacroix (1807-1878 / architect and archaeologist), the
Universal Exhibition, in 1860, took place in Besançon to promote the watch industry, very present in the region, and local arts. The city became the capital of French watchmaking with a production of more than 90% of the national yield (50 000 watches) per year. The speciality was the luxury watches in precisous metal (gold and silver).


A watchmaking school based in Besançon in 1861 in the center of the old town.

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