Nostalgic of its origin
The story between industrial epic and family saga was written in Doubs, Besançon.
Besançon, the cradle of watchmaking
From the end of the eighteenth century, an important return of the watchmaking activity takes place in France. Master watchmakers establish themselves in the cities frequented by the royal court. In the Doubs, thanks to Frédéric Japy and Laurent Mégevand, the foundations of a solid watchmaking industry are establishing themselves.
French watchmakers have, throughout the eighteenth century, improved the quality and reliability of their productions.
The possibilities created by the beginning of industrialization led to the creation of the first real private watch manufacture.
Frédérique Japy produces in Beaucourt drafts which are then resold in Switzerland. Very quickly production reaches several thousand units. Japy continues to grow until the end of the 40s. The company will be bought by the Japanese group Seijho Hattori: Seiko.
The installation of Laurent Mégevand, in Besançon, in December 1793, definitively establishes a watchmaking activity in the Doubs. He decided to learn the job of watchmaker for many unemployed bisontins. He negotiates with the French revolutionary authorities to create a watchmaking workshop in Besançon, in 1793. Many friends accompany him: 80 Geneva, London and some French master watchmakers. Every Swiss watchmaker who chooses to join this adventure gets a financial income. This measure is extended to French watchmakers who come to settle in the Doubs. Lured by welcome bonuses, Swiss watchmakers continue to pour in and join the ranks of watchmakers already established in Besançon.
The watch registry begins to take in the Doubs. In Besançon and Doubs, the establishment of the watch industry is now a reality. Many small workshops are springing up throughout the region, with farmers becoming more involved in this activity, which provides them with a second income in the winter.
The early nineteenth century marks the real advent of the preeminence of this department in the French watch industry. Some factories or workshops designing watches, making parts or blanks, are established in Besançon, which becomes the capital of French watchmaking.
It was in 1867 that Emmanuel mann created what would become the most innovative and the leading French watch manufactures of the twentieth century.
At the same time, Besançon has a chronometry observatory which quickly enjoys a high reputation. On April 1, 1931, the Chamber of Commerce of Besançon and Doubs created the “punch of Besançon” which is awarded when a watch meets a number of qualitative criteria.
The Municipal School of Watchmaking Besançon opens its doors on February 1, 1962. It is in 1901 that a higher education of chronometry and watchmaking will be developed in Besançon by the Faculty of Sciences and the Council of the University of Besancon.
At the end of the 19th century, 50% of French watch production came from Haut Doubs, 40% from Besançon. Among the many workshops in the Bisontine region, the “Comptoir mann” is one of these small entities.
Emmanuel mann Isaac founded his watchmaking workshop in 1867. Emmanuel mann lives in Besançon, so it is in this city that he creates the Comptoir mann. Located at 14, Grande rue in Besançon, the mann counter is developing rapidly.
The power of work of its founder, his innovative vision of aesthetics and his voluntary character are wonderful. So success is quickly at the rendezvous.
The two mann threads impose and deposit the mark. Then Frédéric mann, grandson of Emmanuel mann, made this company the first French watch manufacturer of the twentieth century.