Fleurier

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Fleurier is a Swiss watchmaking town in the district of Val-de-Travers in the canton Neuchâtel in western Switzerland. Well-known watch companies such as Parmigiani and Chopard have their headquarters here, and it is the namesake of Richemont movement manufacturing operation, ValFleurier.

History

The beginning of watchmaking in Fleurier came in 1730, as David Jean-Jacques-Henri Vaucher began to manufacture watches here. Another famous Fleurier watchmaker of the time was Ferdinand Berthoud, born in Couvet in 1723. In 1750, 15 watchmakers worked in one place, and this number rose to 106 in 1794, amounting to 13% of the population.

Edouard Bovet and his brothers worked in Fleurier starting in 1820, producing pocket watches. Since these were designed specifically for the Chinese market, they were known as "Chinese Market Watches". The Bovet brothers held a virtual monopoly over this export activity until they were followed by other companies in Fleurier: Vaucher Frères (1848 ), Edouard Juvet (moving his workshop from Buttes in 1844), and the Dimier brothers (who came over from Geneva). Since the village Fleurier had specialized in the production of these watches, they became known as "Fleurier watches", but soon they began exporting to other areas.

In 1851, the first school of watchmaking is opened in Fleurier. This continued catalyzing the area as a center for watchmaking. Georges Piaget founded Piaget in nearby La Côte-aux-Fées in 1874. An ebauche factory was established around the turn of the century, and this was brought together with local brands like Arcadia to become the Fleurier Watch Co. in 1915. In 1920, Charles Edouard Guillaume, a native of Fleurier, won the Nobel Prize in Physics for his work in the field of iron and nickel alloys. He invents the alloys Invar and Elinvar for the production of balance springs.

Watch production in Fleurier had declined by the 1970's, but this changed in 1975, as Michel Parmigiani based his company, Parmigiani Mesure et Art du Temps SA, in Fleurier. Parmigiani also established Vaucher Manufacture in Fleurier. Today, these companies are part of Parmigiani Fleurier SA. Bovet Fleurier SA was re-established in 1989 (though it remains in Geneva) and Chopard Manufacture and Fleurier Ébauches were created with Chopard in 1996. Beginning in the 1990's, Panerai began manufacturing in Fleurier. By 2006, this operation is named ValFleurier and provides movements to Panerai as well as other Richemont brands, including Baume & Mercier.

2001, the "Fondation Qualité Fleurier" ("Fleurier Quality Foundation" or FQF) is formed with the goal of creating a better certification of watches than the COSC. The new certification guidelines of FQF are officially defined on on 27 September 2004. Since September 2006, "L.U.CEUM - Traces of Time" is run in Fleurier by Chopard.

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