In the Jura massif, the town of Morteau is buzzing with young watchmaking enthusiasts eager to make French watches.
It is in Morteau, a territory bordering Switzerland, located in the Jura mountains, that four former employees and young watchmaking enthusiasts founded the company Pequignet in 2016. Dani Royer, Aymeric Vernhol, Bernard Espinas, and Antoine Commissione have a common goal: they want to create watches made in France.
“The benefit for the company is to offer watches made in France, where currently we are the only French brand to offer this type of product and behind it maybe later develop the industrial side and offer movements to other watch brands,” explains Dani Royer, the president of Pequignet.
Pequignet watches are repairable for life and are sold at a price ranging from 3,000 to 7,000 euros. A watch “has 180 parts just for its movement,” says watchmaker Julien Recouvreux. “We are proud to be able to repair historic watches, which were released even in the 1970s“.
Wishing to use only French mechanisms, the engineers of the watchmaking company Pequignet have created their own movement, an automatic movement without batteries. They thus produce 3,000 watches per year and have registered 8 patents.
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Still in the town of Morteau, Mikaël Bourgeois, grandson of a watchmaker with 20 years of experience in watchmaking, has also founded a watch company made in France: NovoDess. From his workshop, the young watchmaker makes his watches to measure, for a price on estimate starting at 12 000€.
The brand was founded in 1999 and attaches great importance to French manufacturing. NovoDess watches, which Mikaël Bourgeois takes 8 days to make, are entirely customizable, right down to the case.
“We can assemble pieces that come entirely from Asia and we will be able to put a label made in France. For us, it is not the case“, specifies Mikaël Bourgeois.
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The success of these watches made in France is partly due to social networks, which act as showcases allowing these young watchmakers to exhibit their creations, and thus attract customers who know what to expect.
However, a barrier to the development of these watchmaking companies that favor local manufacturing remains, the absence of a label, similar to the one existing in Switzerland, that promotes Made in France within the watchmaking and fine watchmaking industry.
“These are young people who are passionate, and who do not hesitate to leave gainful jobs in Switzerland to set up their own business in France. I was surprised by these young people who want to revive watchmaking in France,” says Grégory Maugain, head of the Morteau watchmaking museum.
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