A region at the heart of time

UNIQUE. Dedicated to watchmaking and a global ambassador of this fascinating expertise, the region of Neuchâtel is a remarkable distillation of Swiss ingenuity. While other regions lay claim to a watchmaking tradition, none has the legitimacy of the region of Neuchâtel. Even at the end of the 17th century, farmer-watchmakers produced watches here for clients in every corner of the globe. In 1914, 55% of the world’s production came from La Chaux-de-Fonds.

 

A region at the heart of time

UNIQUE. Dedicated to watchmaking and a global ambassador of this fascinating expertise, the region of Neuchâtel is a remarkable distillation of Swiss ingenuity. While other regions lay claim to a watchmaking tradition, none has the legitimacy of the region of Neuchâtel. Even at the end of the 17th century, farmer-watchmakers produced watches here for clients in every corner of the globe. In 1914, 55% of the world’s production came from La Chaux-de-Fonds.

 

Housing and workshops were closely associated, and manufactures with their large windows reflected the need for light, so essential for the work of the watchmaker at his bench. The architecture and town planning of La Chaux-de-Fonds and Le Locle are a testament to the watch industry’s roots in this region. Since 2009, the two “manufacture cities” have been a UNESCO world heritage site. The watch industry’s most rigorous quality symbol, the “Qualité Fleurier” label, also has its origins in the Neuchâtel region.

The heart of Swiss watchmaking has beaten since time immemorial in this land.

And it is here that, even today, many of its most fabulous creations see the light of day.

Qualité Fleurier

“Fleurier Quality” is a watchmaking certificate created and awarded by the Fleurier Quality Foundation. Its aim is to promote the watchmaking expertise of Fleurier and its region and to develop prestige watchmaking. The certificate, awarded upon successful completion of extremely rigorous selection criteria, guarantees watchmaking of the very highest quality in the service of exceptional timepieces. The certificate is open to all Swiss producers of prestige mechanical timepieces.

Neuchâtel in "the Belle Époque’’

As the 20th century dawned, Neuchâtel enjoyed a magical interlude prompted by a variety of amazing developments. Neuchâtel Tourism has taken this golden era as the inspiration for 'Neuchâtel in the Belle Époque', a series of original tours that combine history, gastronomy and architecture. Eighteen wall paintings spread across the city centre, an unforgettable 'trip' on an authentic period tram and a tasting of the green fairy (absinthe): plenty to see, experience – and taste! We invite you to travel back in time and discover how Neuchâtel's people lived a century ago.

Absinthe, a legendary drink

The Val-de-Travers, in the Pays de Neuchâtel, is the birthplace of absinthe, and proudly asserts this title. Indeed, in no other place in the world has absinthe lived such a long life. Since it was first invented and marketed in Couvet, probably in the mid-18th century, until it was banned in 1908 in Switzerland, and all through its illegal production that lasted for almost a century, the «Green Fairy» or «La Bleue», as it was called at that time, wetted many thirsty throats and prompted countless talks about its alleged and imaginary hazards. It also gave rise to extensive and fanciful literature.