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Jura Mountains: The clocks are ticking right here

The Jura Mountains extend in northwestern Switzerland, along the French border. The area has always been sparsely populated. In many places one still encounters rural culture. In the whitewashed farms, people and animals live under one roof. For many hikers, this is the perfect place to relax and enjoy nature. And yet - this secluded area is home to a world-famous industry - of Swiss watches.

The barren Jura soil and the harsh climate of the mountains did not make it easy for people to farm. And so, in the long winter months, many farmers looked for other ways to make ends meet. In the 18th century, farmers in the small village of La Chaux-de-Fonds began making watch parts from home. The new industry developed rapidly and attracted more workers - the city grew and adapted to the needs of watchmakers. The new city map was created on the drawing board in 1794: The streets became wide and sunny and ran in a south-westerly direction in order to give the workers at the workbenches as much light as possible.

Because of this amalgamation of urban development and the watchmaking industry, La Chaux-de-Fonds is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Some of the world's most renowned watch manufacturers have emerged from a small, sleepy village and now dominate the luxury watch market.