The Joux Valley Museum of Watchmaking (EHVJ) in Le Sentier has re-opened, eight months after it closed for a total refurb to bring it up-to-date for a contemporary audience.
The new space “stands firmly astride the 21st century” and features new skills tables and 3D films to attract visitors to the two floor exhibition space.
The EHVJ has dubbed itself a “new generation” museum and a platform for watchmaking “worthy of the Joux Valley’s international reputation”.
The museum said its refurbishment objectives were multiple: firstly it aimed to sustain and showcase the region’s watchmaking expertise, secondly it hopes to encourage future professionals and lastly the new space aims to reorganise its displays so that they “strike a chord with different types of public”.
The museum is housed in a space once owned by Zenith and later by Jacques David LeCoultre, who named it L’Essor, the French word for rapid development or expansion.
It was acquired in 1979 by the commune of Le Chenit and opened as museum in 1996. Since then the historic building has housed exceptional exhibits but after a drop in clients needed some invigoration to bring it up-to-date.
The new museum space has 500 m2 of floor space to showcase the region and its watchmaking and will also include Ludotemps, which will teach budding watchmakers how to assemble a mechanical movement, which must then be cased-up.
There is also a workshop space where a demonstration platform is housed at which students from the Joux Valley Technical College (ETVJ) will take turns at presenting their skills.
The refurbishment of the museum has been supported by the Paul-Edouard Piguet Foundation as well as a number of other contributors.
Cédric Paillard, director of Joux Valley Tourism, said that the region cannot fail to benefit as a result of the new museum space, while Vincent Jaton, the originator of the project, perfectly said: “To revitalise the old museum; to attract members of the public aged seven to 77, be they watch enthusiasts or new to the world of horology; to educate and entertain.
“[We’ve aimed] to create a space that will give pride of place to training and apprenticeships and that above all will spread the word about watchmaking. In short, a modular and educational attraction.”