In his snow-bound workshop, Swiss automaton master Francois Junod’s moving mechanical artworks whir into action: birds whistle, historical luminaries write poetry. This is traditional craftsmanship newly recognised as being among the world’s cultural heritage.
The region’s historical pre-eminence in a field combining science, art and technology has also been given a boost by the United Nations.
In December, the craftsmanship of mechanical watchmaking and art mechanics in the Juras were jointly added to UNESCO’s Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
They now sit on a par with Argentine tango, Belgian beer culture, Chinese calligraphy, French cuisine, Indian yoga, Japanese Kabuki theatre, Mexico’s Day of the Dead and Spanish Flamenco.