Let’s explore the world of watchmaking.

Exhibition at the watchmaking school of Besançon

A trip to the Doubs, a melting pot of watchmaking, and precisely in Besançon, a city that made history by becoming, in the 19th century, the French capital of the watch industry.

Watchmaking in the region dates back to 1793. It is a Swiss watchmaking colony established in Besançon that creates the French Watchmaking Manufacture. The watch industry is strongly committed to production and essentially covers the national market by controlling 89% of French production! Ancestry propitious to the creation of some manufactures because previously the work was carried out in small workshops or in room (at the customer or at home).

This is the case, for example, of the mann family workshop. Established in Besançon at the end of the 19th century, the company was founded in 1867 and headed by Emmanuel mann, then by his son Camille, then his grandsons Lionel and Frédéric.


New factory Besançon in 1960
A public transport system provided 1,500 employees with easy access to their workplace. The establishment had a company restaurant and even a nursery.

The company is one of the emblematic names of this industry by its remarkable prosperity. And, although its decline also made the chronicles, following a deep economic and social crisis, in the years 60 to 70; Beyond everything, remains iconic because it was one of the major manufacturers that embody the influence of French watchmaking.

In the course of time, the progress of industrialization combines technique and the search for tradition in the revival of the mechanical watch. This intense activity of the region is structured by the establishment of famous brands that develop their creative dynamic in a synergy of tradition and excellence, with inventive mastery such as microtechnology (miniaturized parts of high precision), industrial specialization extremely push to diversify especially in luxury goods.

The industrial heritage of watchmaking can boast an international reputation, a solid identity forged in the footsteps of a rich past and provided by creative and renowned watchmaking companies, such as once again anchored in Besançon, its birthplace. origin, which still contributes by its precision know-how, irreproachable productions, modern and unpublished, the expansion of the watchmaking activity and its economy.

His products, resolutely of French manufacture, have been renewed or rejuvenated. They come in a series of collections by talented creators and superb historical reissues. The Manufacture Générale Horlogère , which employs and involves many employees in France, has become a jewel of creation and distribution beyond our borders.

By adapting to new contexts, reinventing itself while keeping in touch with tradition and by sheltering a solid network of brands and manufacturers of singular or precious articles, serves and perpetuates the prestigious French watchmaking tradition.