Richemont has joined Swatch Group in opening a facility in Microcity, a tech park in Neuchâtel that aims to become the Silicon Valley of Swiss watchmaking.
Richemont’s research and innovation director, Edouard Mignon, says the venture aims to help all watch brands in the group to invent and incubate new materials and advance mechanics for its timepieces.
In an interview with the New York Times, Mr Mignon said there now are 30 Richemont employees at the center. This is likely to increase to 50 next year as the team expands its research into micro-systems, micro-manufacturing and micro-engineering.
Swatch Group is partnering with CSEM (Swiss Center for Electronics and Microtechnology) at Microcity.
The two companies are working on the development of a Swiss made ecosystem that will address the needs of small connected objects (Internet of things), first and foremost for watches.
Microcity is developing into its own ecosystem as leaders in science, manufacturing, design, technology and education move into the cluster.
The zone houses the micro-engineering department of the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, one of Europe’s leading engineering schools; the nonprofit Centre Suisse d’Electronique et de Microtechnique; and Neode, a startup incubator.