watchmaking town planning: one of the unesco heritage sites in switzerland

Posted on Updated on

Switzerland is famous for a few things; cheese, chocolate and watches! Let’s just say, we are no experts on cheese or chocolate but we certainly know how to enjoy and appreciate them. What we don’t know too much about: watch-making.

IMG_4199While we were in Switzerland, we visited two neighbouring towns that are key to the Swiss watch-making industry.

La Chaux-de-Fonds and Le Locle exist because of watches and they owe it probably to some clever town planning from the 19th Century.

IMG_4143

Up in the Espacite Tower (which the locals deem an eye-sore – it is rather out of place), we get an almost 360-degree view over the Old Town of La Chaux-de-Fonds and what we see resembles almost a life-sized Lego town (or a row of houses on a Monopoly board). This is how architects turned the art of watch-making into an industry.

The buildings are neatly lined up in parallel rows in a grid formation with wide streets between each row. If you look carefully, there are unusually a lot of windows on the sides of the buildings, spaced quite closely together.

IMG_4146

And what was the purpose for this design?

To allow maximum natural light to flood through the windows, especially into the top floors of the buildings so watch-makers could work with the tiny mechanics of watches. Light is of the essence here!

Each building would have watch-makers who specialise in a particular component of the watch and when the part was assembled, there would be young runners that would take that part to the next appropriate building for the subsequent part to be assembled/added. This process continued until the watch was complete.

IMG_4203

And why the wider streets?

During winter, being 1000 metres up in the Jura mountains, it snowed a lot. To ensure the continuity of watch manufacturing, historically, the streets needed to be manually shovelled so that the runners could continue to access all the buildings.

IMG_4206

After exploring the town of La Chaux-de-Fonds, we had the time (no pun intended) to visit Le Locle Watchmaking Museum, which is in Chateau des Monts. The museum has on display an extraordinary collection of clocks, mechanics and exhibits of the art and science of time, in particular, time-keeping!

The collection was so extensive, we were just in awe. To see all the different devices from around the world through history that essentially do what our wristwatches do every second, every minute of every day. We surprised ourselves with how fascinated we found time-keeping, we even wanted to buy a grandfather clock for our apartment :) .

IMG_4165 IMG_4174 IMG_4175 IMG_4197

After this unique visit to the two towns, we certainly will be looking at clocks and watches in a different light. This is one of the reasons we love travelling so much, it is these types of places that we get to visit that enlightens us, resulting in us having a greater appreciation for the little things in life we sometimes take for granted.

La Chaux-de-Fonds/Le Locle, watchmaking town

planning was listed as a

UNESCO Heritage site in 2009.

To see the other UNESCO sites we have visited,

visit our unofficial bucket list

Your comments are always welcomed.

walking the camino: photo essay (part 3 of 3)

Posted on

So it is all over! Now that we have completed the Camino, we can share the final instalment to our photo essays. If you have not seen the other 2 parts, part 1 covers St Jean Pied de Port to Belorado and part 2 covers Belorado to Astorga.

This final series is from Astorga to Santiago de Compostela.

Hope you enjoy the photos.

And as we are now not focusing on walking the Camino, we are back in full swing in the blogosphere once more :)

IMG_6819 IMG_6866 IMG_6880 IMG_6898 IMG_6909 IMG_6943 IMG_6963 IMG_6971 IMG_6993 IMG_7004 IMG_7026 IMG_7123 IMG_7153 IMG_7167 IMG_7175 IMG_7184 IMG_7191 IMG_7198 IMG_7203 IMG_7238 IMG_7252 IMG_7273 IMG_7319 IMG_7329 IMG_7332 IMG_7368 IMG_7379 IMG_7389 IMG_7396 IMG_7404 IMG_7413 IMG_7453 IMG_7467 IMG_7476 IMG_7485 IMG_7505 IMG_7524 IMG_7535 IMG_7558 IMG_7565 IMG_7611 IMG_7663 IMG_7702 IMG_7799 IMG_7839

Enjoy your week ahead!

As always, we welcome your comments.

weekly photo challenge: refraction

Posted on

Rainbows occur because of refraction so this is our photo for the Daily Post challenge this week. This was taken as we left Atapuerca, Spain on our Camino which has ended today!

Our 800 km walk has officially finished. We will post the last photo essay of the series in the next few days. If you have not seen, part 1 and part 2, please do check them out and we welcome your thoughts.

IMG_5693

Have a great weekend!

 

weekly photo challenge: dreamy

Posted on

This week’s photo challenge theme is rather fitting for the morning we had on the Camino today as we came over the hills and looked down into the valleys. We were so high that the morning mist was below us and we could only describe it as DREAMY.

IMG_7317

Have a good weekend, folks! 

Happy to hear your thoughts on whether you thought this was dreamy, click here

walking the camino: photo essay (part 2 of 3)

Posted on

Ok, so we have just completed another 12 days of walking and have under 280 km (of 790km or so) left to go! We are stoked to have been able to achieve this :)

Here are our photos snapped between Belorado and Astorga which means we are in our final 12 days of walking now!

Hope you enjoy the Camino from our eyes.

IMG_5628 IMG_5640 IMG_5649 IMG_5668 IMG_5724 IMG_5752 IMG_5906 IMG_5907 IMG_5936 IMG_5948 IMG_5956 IMG_6010 IMG_6064 IMG_6089 IMG_6139 IMG_6187 IMG_6197 IMG_6226 IMG_6237 IMG_6272 IMG_6293 IMG_6336 IMG_6360 IMG_6379 IMG_6504 IMG_6627 IMG_6663 IMG_6675 IMG_6701 IMG_6708 IMG_6740 IMG_6741 IMG_6742 IMG_6758 IMG_6769 IMG_6773 IMG_6787

 

Wishing you a wonderful day! 

weekly photo challenge: signs

Posted on

Looking through our photos, we had a good laugh at this picture as it was just so “busy” with signs of all types!

Why did we even take this photo? Thankfully, we saw “Mont St Michel” amongst them so remembered we took this on the bus on our way to Mont St Michel in France.

We felt this was perfect for this week’s photo challenge.

IMG_2071

How many different signs can you count in this picture?

Have a great weekend!

weekly photo challenge: nighttime

Posted on

Seeing as we are still on the Camino, here is another photo from our collection.

When leaving for a day of 20+ km of walking, the sun is rarely up. This is our nighttime photo from Santo Domingo de la Calzada for the Weekly Photo Challenge.

IMG_5555

What words come to mind when you look at this picture?

Feel free to leave us a comment here.