Famous Watches of the world
La Chaux-de-Fonds is not a tourist town. Its location, 1, 000m up in the Jura mountains – one of Switzerland’s most scenic regions – means the air is crisp, the clouds are close and the mountain peaks are closer.
It’s packed full of low-key attractions, including many surprisingly stealthy Art Nouveau apartment block lobbies (none of which look like you can just walk into, but all of which you can) and the tucked-away, abstract chrome monument dedicated to Louis Chevrolet, the motor company-founding race car driver who was born and raised here in the 1870s and ‘80s. The father of literary modernism, poet and filmmaker Blaise Cendrars, was born on one of the streets facing Chevrolet’s monument four months earlier. Le Corbusier, the father of architectural modernism, who was also born and raised in La Chaux-de-Fonds about a decade after Chevrolet and Cendrars.
For any other town of 37, 000 residents, this would be more than enough to build a tidy tourist business on. But La Chaux-de-Fonds is a practical, hard-working town and not much for showing off. It made sense, then, that’d I’d never heard of this town before arriving. And I certainly had no idea that it’s where the world's most expensive watches are made.