Watchmaking History of the Vallée de Joux

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Watchmaking History of the Vallée de Joux

Postby koimaster » December 4th 2017, 10:33am

A beautiful big book appeared in 1948, the Swiss Watchmaking Schools. In this one the EHVJ is the subject of a chapter. We will discover everything that was taught at school at this time of its history. The director was then Mr. Vuilleumier who probably wrote the texe, it with many photos to get you in the mood. This one particularly moving for all those who passed in this mythical establishment of our Valley.
The School of Watchmaking was something, since a large part of the students who left compulsory school, returned to this institution to learn their future business, either watchmakers for the most part or mechanics and others specializations. Watchmakers who, of course, would later be found in the factories where they could put into practice what they had learned, and then perfect themselves in such and such branches that were open to them. Some would end up shop manager, production manager, while others would stay quietly behind their workbench to "zieuter" beautiful watches. Everyone has their choice. Since some, too, would abandon the profession to go to different destinies and unrelated to what they had learned.
A world!

The first history of the Vallée de Joux, the work of Judge Jacques-David Nicole, written in 1784, published in 1840. Concrete!
Judge Nicole is a privileged witness of our watchmaking at least two titles.

Firstly, his life (1723-1794) quite accurately relates the entire existence of our watchmaking in the 18th century.
Secondly, and much more importantly, he himself was secretary of the master of watchmakers who held his seat from 1749 to 1776. In this capacity he drew up the minutes from beginning to end. His beautiful writing fulfills in this way a large volume, current property of the Museum of the Technical School, rare piece if any and oh so precious, since it establishes the list of all the clockmakers of the time who joined the so-called master's degree, that is to say, become professional.
What must also be admired in this writing by Judge Nicole, in a sense, from his history, is that he took the trouble, at the beginning of his register, to relate in a precise way how watchmaking began in our high combe, naturally with the first steps made by Samuel-Olivier Meylan.
Later, in 1784, during the writing of his history on the Vallée de Joux, Judge Nicole most certainly scrutinized the register he had formerly drafted, perhaps he still had in his possession, and provides a summary of the history of the so-called master's degree. This text occupies pages 423 to 432 of its history. This is certainly a matter of solid strength to any test on which one can rely without hesitation.

Let us note here that we have always said great evil of mastery. That Judge Nicole, a character of unswerving probity, was its secretary, proves that we are not dealing here with an organization whose aim would be to harm the common population. The bases were really serious, which required that one is formed, thus asking the passage of the apprentices to the masters. This corresponds to the goals of a vocational school. The mastery had at least, for this purpose, excellent and even modern views.
But perhaps the training time was too long for most people who wanted to get into a trade quickly. And then, everywhere in the township, where there were such corporations, the demands became more lax. In fact everything was crumbling away from these noble goals, so that our Combiers, eager as much as the others to find a livelihood which could free them from the modesty of the agricultural incomes, led in their turn to destroy the mastery. . They arrived there. It was thus repealed in 1776.
Its positive aspect had also been judged such by Judge Nicole who explains it in these few essential pages to who wants to understand how was born our watchmaking.



Watchmaking in the Vallée de Joux according to Auguste Piguet, historian - texts around 1950 -

It was surprising that Professor Piguet, living in a watchmaking environment, had no say in this area.
This did not fail. Thus our author offers us at least twice his historical reflections on combière watchmaking. The first in his folkloric work, the second in his second volume of the history of the commune of Chenit, it appeared after his death at the Imprimerie Dupuis, in 1971.
These two texts constitute a somewhat succinct approach, nevertheless interesting, of our horological history which still includes, and despite all that one could say of it, serious deficiencies, and particularly as regards the eighteenth century.
But to write about this, it would not only require documents as a result, but also be able to have a sufficiently complete sampling of what was being done then. Difficult, if not impossible, as these movements, over time, have been rare.
So there is still some work to do, something to tickle some researcher who does not know what to occupy his time, or who would be singularly lacking in imagination regarding a beautiful subject to treat!



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