Since Wednesday December 16, 2020, Franco-Swiss watchmaking and mechanical engineering have been included in the intangible cultural heritage of humanity.
At Charlie Paris, French watchmaking know-how occupies a special place. Since the beginning of our adventure, we appreciate and have at heart to promote the watchmaking know-how and this recognition on the part of Unesco encourages us to continue in this voice.
As a watch brand, we have to work with many service providers and artisans from the Franche-Comté region, so we are very happy to share our passion and knowledge of watchmaking with them and with all professionals in the sector.
Unesco heritage watchmaking: A Franco-Swiss project
France and Switzerland are well known for their watchmaking heritage. The Franco-Swiss area includes a great diversity of manufacturers, artisans, companies, but also watchmaking schools, associations and colleagues who honor and pass on watchmaking know-how and tradition.
Watchmaking companies and, more generally, enthusiasts of the watchmaking world have come together to bring about this great project and protect the watchmaking industry. Submitted in March 2019, the application was carried by Switzerland in collaboration with France.
Little reminder on Unesco
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, Unesco, in English) is a specialized agency of the United Nations (UN). Unesco's headquarters are located in Paris and its main objective is to "contribute to the building of a culture of peace, the eradication of poverty, sustainable development and intercultural dialogue through education, science, culture, communication and information ”.
Cultural heritage does not stop at monuments and collections of objects. It also includes traditions or living expressions inherited from our ancestors and passed down to our descendants. Intangible cultural heritage therefore refers to the wealth of knowledge and know-how that it passes from one generation to another. There are, for example, hand weaving in Egypt or the art of glass beading in Italy and France.
Unesco's intangible heritage is thus a category of cultural heritage resulting from the Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage adopted by UNESCO in 2003.
An application qualified as exemplary
TheUnesco warmly welcomed this nomination, considering it "exemplary" for its demonstration of a cross-border cultural heritage. Since Wednesday December 16, 2020, Franco-Swiss watchmaking and mechanical engineering have therefore been included in the intangible cultural heritage of humanity. This announcement is good news for watch enthusiasts, industry professionals and all watch brands, like Charlie Paris!
Watchmaking: the recognition of a living tradition
In Switzerland, watchmaking was established in the mid-16th century in Geneva. Jean Calvin is originally a French pastor who prefers to leave the Catholic Church to defend the ideas of Protestant reform. Jean Calvin then took refuge in Switzerland and quickly gained influence, especially in Geneva. In 1541 through one of his reforms, Jean Calvin forbade the wearing of ornamental objects. This is how jewelers and goldsmiths turn to another art, that of watchmaking.
The Swiss watch industry is present on five continents. Today it is Switzerland's third largest export sector and represents 95% of its production. Swiss watches are known for their very high quality and for its many luxury watches from prestigious houses.
While Swiss watchmaking enjoys an unrivaled global reputation, France is a watchmaking country also recognized for its expertise.
Contrary to what one might think, the French watch industry has been around for a very long time. If you would like to know more about the history of French watchmaking, we have written an article on the subject.
- In 1492, the mechanical watch appeared in France and automatic watches for men and women also began to emerge.
- The revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1685 will be a real scourge for excellenceFrench watchmaker.We will indeed witness a massive emigration abroad of Protestant French watchmakers, taking with them their knowledge and their manufacturing secrets. Watchmaking has existed in the Franche-Comté region since the end of the 17th century, notably thanks to the Comtoise clock.
- To the end of 18th century, the Swiss watch industry is hit by unemployment. Swiss watchmakers then settled in Besançon, which then became the capital of French watchmaking. Today, Bourgogne-Franche-Compté is the leading watchmaking region in France.
Besançon kept a leading role in watchmaking until the crisis of the 1930s, but the sector gradually declined after the end of World War II. However, watchmaking remains very present in the city. Today, even if the number of workshops is only 89, representing 2,119 jobs in the region, Besançon keeps indelible traces of this past: the Dodane watch factory, the Musée du Temps, the monumental clock of the Viotte station or the School of Watchmaking of Besançon, which has become a nationally recognized institution, bear witness to this.
Watchmaking, between tradition & innovation at Charlie Paris
Today, many watch brands are innovating in the watchmaking sector, bringing new life to French watchmaking. At Charlie Paris, we offer you watchescontemporary watches that respect the unique know-how of French watchmaking, all at a fair price thanks to a direct sales process, without intermediaries. You will understand, Charlie Paris is at the crossroads between innovation and respect for traditions. All Charlie Paris watches are assembled near Besançon. We also manufacture men's watches and so that ladies watches, with movement automatic or quartz.