Craftsmanship of mechanical watchmaking and art mechanics in the Jura Arc listed by UNESCOJanuary 2021
On 16 December 2020, UNESCO added craftsmanship of mechanical watchmaking and art mechanics to the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. This listing gives recognition to an emblematic living tradition in the Franco-Swiss Jura Arc. The candidacy was regarded as exemplary by UNESCO in that it raises awareness of the importance of intangible cultural heritage in a cross-border space
The craftsmanship of mechanical watchmaking and art mechanics includes the craft of watchmaking that is present along the Jura Arc, from Geneva to Schaffhausen and from Bienne to Besançon, but also the making of art automata and music boxes, which are characteristic of the Sainte-Croix region. In this Franco-Swiss area, a wide variety of craftspeople, businesses, schools, museums and associations promote and pass on these manual techniques that are both traditional and focused on innovation. While craftsmanship in mechanical watchmaking and art mechanics has first and foremost an economic function, it has also shaped the everyday social reality of the regions concerned.
The candidacy was prepared by a binational steering group under the supervision of the Swiss Federal Office of Culture, the Greater Besançon Metropolis and the Watchmaking Country PETR, and with the support of territorial partners, including the Doubs Department. The France-Switzerland Interreg project “the Watchmaking Arc”, approved on 15 December, will make it possible to capitalise on this listing and to foster lasting cross-border cooperation in watchmaking by setting up a joint coordinating body.
Photo : 2012 – Vincent Jaton / ETVJ