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A Brief History of French Watchmaking

watchmaking watch French

But where do our watches come from and how long have they been around?

 

  • 1292 : Since man has observed the cycle of day and night, he has never ceased to want to measure time, gradually leading him to imagine more or less precise measuring instruments. It is therefore a keen interest that seems to develop from 1292 in France, when we find traces of first French watchmaker, Jehan l'Aulogier. It is the beginning of watchmaking, with french watches
  • Middle age : Watchmaking takes a first political and religious turn. If for the Church the mastery of time makes it possible to punctuate the life of Christians, men of power use it to assert the supremacy of time and of royal power over religion.
  • Around 1430: Appearance of the mainspring which will give birth to the truly portable domestic clock. Lighter, it also acquires a slimmer and more refined design, thus paving the way for miniaturization and creation of the first watches.
  • 1492 : Appearance of the mechanical watch in France, but also in Italy and Germany. A movement that lasted for almost 5 centuries until 1970, date of invention of the electronic watch.The men's automatic watchesand the automatic watches woman are also beginning to emerge.
  • 1518 : Watchmakers compete in inventiveness to reduce the size of watches. In 1518, François 1er spent a fortune to acquire two watches placed on daggers. Beyond miniaturization, timepieces become real jewels. Inventiveness and creativity therefore become the watchwords of goldsmith watchmakers who give way to their talents as engravers.
  •  1685: If lWatchmaking became synonymous with art and science in the middle of the 17thth century thanks to the improvement of techniques, revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1685 will be a real scourge for excellence French watchmaker. We will indeed witness a massive emigration abroad of Protestant French watchmakers, taking with them their knowledge and their manufacturing secrets.
  • It's in 1700 than French watchmaking regains its fame with the Age of Enlightenment. The know-how of French master watchmakers such as Julien Leroy will make it possible to catch up with the delay caused by the revocation of the Edict of Nantes. Paris is thus becoming the essential center of watchmaking know-how, and attracts talent from all over Europe. The second half of the Enlightenment was marked by the effervescence of science and technology. So the watches will prove to be more precise, simpler and will gain in ease of use as well as in discretion.
  • 1862 :Appearance of the first chronograph with return to zero of the second hand. The year will also be marked by the creation of the Besançon watchmaking school. Thus the Franche-Comté and the department of Doubs really stand out as the leading French watchmaking center for the watch industry. Moreover, the fall in production costs will allow the democratization of watchmaking, which until then was reserved for the upper class of the population. A change having these disadvantages as it will pave the way for counterfeiting.
  • The end of the 19th century will witness the increase in series production. The different watch manufacturing steps being concentrated within the same manufacture, one meets there all the trades of watchmaking. The manufacture of watches is democratized very quickly, thus giving rise to the so-called "cheap" watch manufacturers.
  • It will be necessary to wait 1875to witness the development of transport, the origin of the unification of time. If before each city was regulated according to its own solar time, the creation of the greenwich meridian is establishing itself as the time reference and will now serve as a benchmark for rail networks around the world.
  • At the beginning of the 20th century century, the wristwatch will look like a jewel reserved for women. It was not until its adoption by aviators because of its practicality that it aroused interest and seduced a male clientele.

In a perpetual quest for practicality, the watch winder is moved from index 12 to index 3. The resistance of watches also becomes a priority, illustrated in 1931 with the invention of unbreakable glass.The moour bracelet therefore becomes a real everyday object which continues to democratize thanks to the technical prowess of their inventors.

  • 1970: Creation of the electronic watch. It is to Léon Hatot, a French watchmaker, that we owe the first battery-powered watch. The arrival of quartz in the 1970s is a real revolution, and will be the origin of digital signage. Today many men's watchesand of ladies watches are equipped with this technology.

At the heart of all its changes, theFrench watchmaking will manage to stand out by turning to the luxury sector, making watches a real fashion accessory. The reputation of French watchmaking training schools has continued to grow, allowing France today to maintain its fourth place in the ranking of watchmaking exporting countries.

  •  2017: Over the past few centuries, the world of watchmaking has experienced unprecedented development. A real part of everyday life, time is now integrated into a multitude of household appliances. While mechanical watchmaking experienced significant growth during the early 2000s, we are also seeing the emergence of connected watches. Watchmaking shows once again to what extent changes are possible by combining know-how, tradition, fashion and technique.

State-of-the-art jewelry, timepiece or accessory ... today it is impossible to imagine what will look like the watch in 10, 50 or 100 years, and above all what elaborate complications they may still involve!

men watch 

men's automatic watch

In Charlie Paris, our mission is to offer you watches that are both sober and remarkable, with excellent value for money and responsible manufacturing. Our watches are "Made in France" because they are drawn, designed and assembled in France with high quality components. We offer French watches for man and for women with different waterproofness levels and with quartz movements or automatic. You have questions ? Our team is at your disposal by email at bonjour@charlie-paris.com or by phone at09 67 41 12 37.



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