From the beginning of the 18th century the singular nature of the cities of Le Locle and La Chaux-de-Fonds emerged and became entwined with the history of watchmaking. Both cities were the victims of fires (in 1794 in La Chaux-de-Fonds, in 1833 and 1844 in Le Locle), and their reconstruction was based on a consensus of private and public interests to attain a balance between hygiene (and perhaps also social needs) and production efficiency (watch industry economy).
At the end of the 19th century, the two cities enjoyed great prosperity in the field of watchmaking and engineering, with repercussions for their urban development: houses and workshops shared the same premises. At the turn of the century, buildings became more specialized with the appearance of “fabriques”, which have continued to evolve and expand to the present day. Le Locle and La Chaux-de-Fonds, exceptional examples of the symbiosis between industry and urbanization, were built in the 19th century by and for the 19th century watch industry.
The chance to be entered on the World Heritage List is an exceptional opportunity to protect and enhance the heritage of two cities in the Neuchâtel mountains: Le Locle and La Chaux-de-Fonds. The registration of these two cities as an urban and cultural unit devoted to watchmaking would enhance the reputation of our high-tech watchmaking and microtechnology industries, both of which derive from the same tradition and the same skills.
The site is followed throught a Site Manager and a 'Groupe permanent'.