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Paul-Emile Jaccottet (sometimes spelled "Jacotet" or "Jacottet") established a manufacturing business in Travers in Canton Neuchâtel in 1842 and it quickly became one of the premier ebauche manufacturers in Switzerland. Under the management of Mauler, Ducommun, Méroz, and Blanc, the business lasted until the early 20th century. Jaccottet's success lead to broader watchmaking in the Val-de-Travers.


Travers is the capital and namesake of the Val-de-Travers, and entered watchmaking in the 18th century. But it was the business of Paul-Emile Jaccottet (1813-1864), established in 1842, that would make the town famous. P.-E. Jaccottet was born in Fleurier in 1813. A gifted watchmaker and mechanic, focused on the improvement of watchmaking manufacturing through the use of mechanical resources. Many of the industrial processes that were later credited to the Americans originated with Jaccottet, but his ideas were not appreciated in Geneva, where they were seen as a threat to the status quo. Relocating to Travers, Jaccottet focused initially on the manufacture of the new anchor escapements while also working to design his own movements. His first ebauches were key-winding and intended for the burgeoning Chinese market.

Ebauches from Jaccottet were admired for both their technical characteristics and superior level of finish from the factory. Although he charged more than his competitors (chiefly Fontainemelon but also Japy in France), Jaccottet's ebauches were in such demand that he was relatively insulated from the fierce price-based competition that buffeted these companies in the 1860s. Jaccottet movements were appreciated not only by Swiss manufacturers but also in France, where quality was prized over volume. In addition to various varieties of key and crown winding movements, Jaccottet also manufactured blanks for marine chronometers, assortments for anchor escapements, compensated balances, and finished wheels.

Jaccottet founded both a cement factory and a metal component factory in Furcil, near Noiraigue, around 1857, and this was used for heavier manufacturing. This metal factory specialized in laminated steel for springs, watch and clock hands, as well as other watchmaking supplies. Paul-Emile Jaccottet also designed and manufactured machine tools for other manufacturers.

The Jaccottet factory in Travers was spared during a great fire there in 1865 that claimed 101 houses. Paul-Emile Jaccottet had political ambitions as well. He presented himself to his employees as a simple worker, but this impression was shattered when it was discovered that he was designing weapons and intending to go into manufacturing them in Noiraigue as well. He later served on the Grand Council, and his newspaper "La Gazette Neuchâteloise" would serve to promote his political ideas.

Jaccottet fell ill in 1864 and moved to Lucerne to benefit from the fairer climate. He died there from a stroke on July 17.

Eugene Mauler

Eugene Mauler was born in 1835 in Lille, France. He apprenticed as a watchmaker, working in England, before being summoned by Paul-Emile Jaccottet to join his factory in Travers in 1858. Because his mother came from Motiers-Travers, Mauler was able to claim Swiss nationality. Mauler soon married Louis Jaccottet, daughter of Paul-Emile, and naturally took over the firm after his father-on-law's death in 1864. Although still called "Fabrique Paul-Emile Jaccottet", the company was then operated by Eugene Mauler & Cie.

Mauler partnered with Paul Ducommun by 1871 as Mauler & Ducommun. But failing health forced Mauler to retire to Neuchâtel in 1880, leaving the factory as Paul Ducommun & Cie. Mauler continued to manufacture special watches in Neuchâtel using movements produced by the Travers factory. Eugene Mauler died in 1893 at 58.

Ducommun & Cie.

Paul Ducommun operated the Travers ebauche factory as Ducommun & Cie. From 1880 through 1892. But Ducommun was unable to divide his focus between Travers and Furcil and sold the Travers ebauche works to Blanc and Hainard in 1892. Thereafter, Paul Ducommun focused his work on the manufacture of springs, hands, and other components in Furcil.

In 1904, Paul Ducommun offered his lands and factory for sale.

Blanc & Cie.

In 1892, Ducommun sold the factory to Alphonse Emile Blanc and Hainard, who ran it as Blanc & Cie. By 1894, the Travers factory was supplying ebauches to Paul-D. Nardin of Ulysse Nardin for marine chronometers, allowing them to be produced entirely in the Canton.

The company of Blanc & Cie. was liquidated in bankruptcy on May 25, 1905.

J. Meroz

After the bankruptcy of Blanc & Cie. in 1905, the factory was purchased by John Méroz. He advertised heavily and was a proponent of the use of the metric system in watchmaking. Meroz also opened a watch factory in La Ferriere but the business was liquidated in bankruptcy on September 27, 1909. This sale included both the La Ferriere business and factory and all of the machines and tooling from the Travers factory.

See Also