La Chaux-de-Fonds, the birthplace of Le Corbusier, was the world capital of the watch-making industry for over a hundred years. It thus makes sense that the first house designed by the world-famous architect and the International Watch Musuem are located here.
The cityscape of La Chaux-de-Fonds, which was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2009, is characterized by a chessboard design that was created at the beginning of the 19th century after a catastrophic fire. La Chaux-de-Fonds (1,000 meters above sea level) is the birthplace of the architect Le Corbusier, whose actual name was Charles Edouard Jeanneret-Gris. One of his early works, "Maison Blanche", is located here. He built the house in 1912 for his parents.
The international watch museum "Musée International de l'Horlogerie" (MIH) is entirely dedicated to the history of time measurement. It houses over 4,500 exhibits, including 2,700 watches and 700 wall clocks.
The climate in the Jura is harsh. On the lonely heights west of Le Locle is the village of La Brévine, which is called the Siberia of Switzerland, and holds the record for the lowest temperature ever recorded in Switzerland –41.8°. In summer the Jura mountains are a popular place for walking and cycling, while in winter the main sport is cross-country skiing.
Urban landscape and watchmaking industry in La Chaux-de-Fonds
This tour provides an insight into the era when the booming watchmaking industry of the Neuchâtel Jura was responsible for more than half of the world’s watch production. Walking through the streets of La Chaux-de-Fonds, you can easily imagine how the watchmakers worked.