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Industry News – Craftsmanship of Mechanical Watchmaking and Art Mechanics gets UNESCO Heritage Status


An application had been officially submitted by Switzerland and France to UNESCO in 2019. This is now official, Swiss and French mechanical watchmaking practised for centuries in the Jura mountain region has been inscribed on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity which celebrates well-known traditions, art forms and practices. .

The listing refers to the craftsmanship related to watchmaking objects designed to measure and indicate time (watches, pendulum clocks, clocks and chronometers), but also to art automata and mechanical androids, sculptures and animated paintings, music boxes and songbirds. The UNESCO website mentions that ‘the practice conveys many values such as good workmanship, punctuality, perseverance, creativity, dexterity and patience, and the infinite quest for precision and the intangible aspect of time measurement give the practice a strong philosophical dimension. As well as serving an economic function, the skills have also shaped the architecture, urban landscape and everyday social reality of the regions concerned.‘ The Swiss watch industry is the country’s third-largest exporter at 21.7 billion francs in 2019.

More details on UNESCO’s committee decision to be read here. The list of of Intangible Cultural Heritage and the Register of good safeguarding practices can be seen here.

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