Historically considered as the leading commune of the Neuchâtel mountain region, far from the stress and pollution of large cities and nestling in a stunning natural environment, the town of Le Locle is recognised as the cradle of international watchmaking. Exploiting its acknowledged expertise, other industries such as machine-tools, microtechnology and medical equipment have developed over the years.
It was at the beginning of the 18th century that the prodigious development of watchmaking really took off. According to legend, Daniel JeanRichard (1665-1741), a young man originally from La Sagne, succeeded in repairing a watch made in London, then decided to produce another, something no one in the region had done before. Indeed he was the very first artisan to master the complex technique of the pocket watch and to produce this object in his own workshop in Le Locle, which he opened in 1705. He thus became in a sense the founder of the watch industry in the region. Some even claim he invented the watch. In reality, the latter’s existence was firmly established at the time, albeit much rarer than the clock on account of its high price.
Envied from far and wide, the quality of life and conviviality of Le Locle were no idle words and the 10,500 inhabitants of the Mother Commune, benefiting from one of the highest sunshine hours in the country, knew this well.
Le Locle and watchmaking (trail):
The purpose of this trail is to combine the past and present of Le Locle’s exciting watchmaking history. In 39 stages it reveals the houses and personalities that left their mark on the watch and watchmaking history, giving the Mother Commune a unique international dimension. Lasting roughly one half-day, this trail is accessible all year round and offers the free services of a guide. It is available from the Town Hall and the Tourist Offices of Le Locle and La Chaux-de-Fonds.
Other brochures are available from Tourisme neuchâtelois or the Promotional and Cultural Office of the Ville du Locle :
- "Freshwater springs in the city of Le Locle"
- "The Nature Path"
- "Snowshoe Trail" (in winter)
Other information can be obtained from the site Ville du Locle.
Blog of a local amateur photographer.