And two !
After the Vauban Fortifications in 2008,
It is now another flagship of Grand Besançon history which is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site: watchmaking know-how.
When Vauban designed the city
Perched on an anticline that overlooks the city from more than a hundred meters, the fortress spans eleven hectares. Beyond the famous citadel, it is the entire city that the architect and military strategist has endowed with a defensive structure. Considering the singular configuration of the city enclosed in a loop of the Doubs, Vauban erected an urban wall intended to protect the left bank of the river, reinforced by six bastioned towers.
He still provides for the construction of a prestigious quay, the Quai Vauban, as well as a second citadel on Battant hill, Fort Griffon. All in all, and in addition to the Citadel, 18 key sites remain today which punctuate the fortifications and reinforce the astonishing architectural identity of the city. From the Porte Taillée, on the left bank upstream of the Boucle du Doubs, to the Tour Notre-Dame on the same bank at the other end of the meander of the river, passing through the Porte and the fortifications of Battant, on the other side and above the city, it’s a wonderful walk through Besançon and its history.
Vauban's network of major sites
Each site fortified by Vauban presents a facet of the work of the brilliant architect, complementary to the others.
Created in November 2005, the Réseau des Sites Majeurs de Vauban is an association law 1901 which federates the 12 sites fortified by Vauban inscribed on the World Heritage List.
The network is intended to coordinate actions in favor of the conservation, management and enhancement of this exceptional architectural, urban and landscape heritage. Since October 30, 2014, the Vauban Network has received national accreditation from the Ministry of National Education, Higher Education and Research for educational associations complementary to public education.
The know-how in watchmaking mechanics and labeled mechanics of art
On December 16, 2020, UNESCO inscribed the know-how in watchmaking and art mechanical representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
This inscription highlights a living tradition emblematic of the Franco-Swiss Jura Arc.
The nomination was considered exemplary by UNESCO due to its cross-border nature.
The know-how in watchmaking mechanics and art mechanics include the watchmaking craftsmanship located along the Jura Arc from Geneva to Schaffhausen, from Biel to Besançon but also the manufacture of automatons and music boxes, characteristic of the Sainte-Croix region. At the crossroads of science, art and technique, this know-how combines individual and collective skills, theoretical and practical, in the field of mechanics and micromechanics. In this Franco-Swiss space, a great diversity of craftsmen, businesses, schools, museums and associations promote and transmit these manual techniques that are both traditional and focused on innovation. While the expertise in watchmaking and mechanical engineering has primarily an economic function, it has also shaped the daily social reality of the regions concerned.
The know-how in watchmaking mechanics in Franche-Comté
Watchmaking activity has continued in Besançon and in the Watchmaking Country for more than two centuries, marking both
architecture as the economic activity, teaching and research that still distinguishes the
territory. The Time Museum presents remarkably rich collections, the Besançon Observatory is
still today one of three establishments in the world to approve movements. This certification is
recognizable since 1897 by the engraving of the famous viper punch.
80% of the French sector is concentrated in Franche-Comté watchmaking area. Research activities (FEMTO-ST and UTINAM)
and initial and continuing education (UFC, ENSMM, AFPA, Lycée Edgar Faure …) also testify to its liveliness.
There are around fifty companies (SMIs and SMEs) linked to watchmaking in the Grand Besançon basin and around thirty companies in Haut-Doubs, including fifteen specializing in mechanical watches, as well as a
a number of independent artisans (watchmakers and restorers). The subcontracting activity is very
marked, the luxury sector (in particular leather goods) also characterizing our region. We note the progressive arrival
of a new generation of watchmakers more focused on design and aesthetic finish. Finally, in
throughout the Jura Arc, we appreciate a job well done and the everyday vocabulary bears the traces of an “common watchmaking identity”: you have better times, it fits well …