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July 1, 2014

In the canton of Neuchâtel, a journey to the Heart of Time!

By Chris Boyle

At the Heart of Time, the brochure containing all tourist attractions with links to watchmaking in the Neuchâtel region La Chaux-de-Fonds, 27 June 2014 – Exactly five years ago today, on 27 June 2009, the “manufacture towns” of La Chaux-de-Fonds and Le Locle joined the very select list of UNESCO World Heritage sites.

∏GuillaumePerret_Couverture_AucoeurduTempsSince then, Neuchâtel Tourism has developed an exclusive offer allowing tourists to discover the region’s watchmaking heritage. Today the association is proud to present its brochure on this theme, entitled At the Heart of Time.

The reason for La Chaux-de-Fonds and Le Locle being included on the prestigious UNESCO World Heritage list? The unique town planning that characterises two cities built by and for the watchmaking industry. Here, in the Neuchâtel region, as far back as the end of the 17th century farmer-watchmakers were producing watches for clients the world over. No other region in the world can claim such a past. In this respect, Neuchâtel is unique! A fact that merited an equally exceptional tourist offer.

Superb attractions∏Ville de La Chaux-de-Fonds_A_Henchoz_Urbanisme_horloger

Since 27 June 2009 and the naming of the cities as UNESCO World Heritage sites, Neuchâtel Tourism has worked hard to develop a wide range of exceptional tourist attractions across the region, with watchmaking as their central theme. Places of interest include, since 2012, four watchmaking workshops which propose introductory horology courses. Visitors can even assemble their own mechanical watch and go home with a valuable souvenir. It’s an offer which now attracts visitors from all corners of the globe!

Marking another major tourist innovation, a watch manufacture in La Chaux-de-Fonds now organises guided tours for the public. Other professions related to horology have sought to develop their tourist appeal.

For example, a shop where visitors can observe a watchmaker at his bench, or a dial enameller’s workshop, whose owner welcomes visitors and outlines the basics of the enameller’s fascinating work. All are unique experiences!

For their part, the region’s two leading museums, namely the International Museum of Horology in La Chauxde-Fonds and Le Locle Watch Museum – Château des Monts, established for many years and universally acclaimed for the quality of their collections and exhibitions, are unflagging in their efforts to offer a cultural experience of the highest calibre.

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