La Chaux-de-Fonds. Photo/Foto: TES.

Watchmaking and the City

From the beginning of the 18th century, the unique nature of the cities of Le Locle and La Chaux-de-Fonds emerged and became entwined with the history of watchmaking.

Both cities were the victims of fires (in 1794 in La Chaux-de-Fonds, in 1833 and 1844 in Le Locle), and their reconstruction was based on a consensus of private and public interests to attain a balance between hygiene, social needs and production efficiency of the watch industry.

At the end of the 19th century, the two cities enjoyed great prosperity in the field of watchmaking and engineering, with repercussions for their urban development.

They are exceptional examples of the symbiosis between (watch) industry and urbanization.

Both cities became UNESCO World Heritage sites in June 2009, and they celebrate this event with various exhibitions and celebrations (Further information: