La Chaux-de-Fonds is the chief town of a district in the Canton of Neuchatel, and is situated at an altitude of 1000 m above sea level near to the border with France. It has been closely associated with watch-making for several centuries and several of the world’s leading watchmaking companies, including Accurist, Corum and Breitling, have their headquarter there. The Omega company was established there in 1848, and TAG Heuer, by Edouard Heuer, in 1860. Gallett et cie was founded there in 1886, and became known for the Electra brand.
An entrepreneur’s mansion of great interest, the Villa Gallet, was built for Leon Gallet and designed by the architect Rene Chapallez, who taught Charles Edouard Jeanneret, later le Corbusier, who was born in La Chaux-de-Fonds in 1887. Hans Wildorf first registered the Rolex brand in 1908.
A collection of historic watches and watch-making equipment was begun at the town’s school of horology in 1865, and a small museum in the school was opened to the public in 1907. The museum moved to a new building in 1974, where, since 1989, it has been integrated with a study centre for the repair of historic timepieces and another for interdisciplinary research into the measurement of time. Extensive multi-media displays were introduced in 2006.