Switzerland and France have submitted a joint application to be recognised for watchmaking art and mechanics to UNESCO. The organisation will decide whether to add this to the Lists of Intangible Cultural Heritage in November 2020.
Swiss watch-making know-how spans craftsmanship from Geneva to Schaffhausen along the Jura mountain range that divides Switzerland from France.
The manufacture of automatons and music boxes in the St. Croix region is also part of the package, the Federal Office of Culture said on Monday.
Several craftspeople, companies, schools, museums and associations transmit these techniques in this Franco-Swiss area. Techniques range from the manual and traditional to the innovative.
"One of the assets of this bid lies in its link with the watch-making town planning of La Chaux-de-Fonds and Le Locle, inscribed on the World Heritage List in 2009," noted the culture office.
The international museum of horologyexternal link at La Chaux-de-Fonds is also covered by this bid.
Switzerland is also associated with another multinational bid for UNESCO recognition for "artisanal techniques and customary practices of cathedral workshops in Europe". This project is under the aegis of France and incorporates Germany, Austria, Norway and Switzerland.
With the Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage, UNESCO wishes to safeguard traditions, traditional crafts and festive events. In 2016, UNESCO included the Vevey Winegrowers' Festival and the Basel Carnival in 2017.
Switzerland is also home to several UNESCO Heritage Sites, including the old town of Bern, and the watch-making centre of La Chaux-de-Fonds.