Recommended Reading: Dominique Renaud’s Mother Remembers What It Was Like Making Watches Before It Was A Billion Dollar Industry

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Straight from the New York Times is the story of a woman who had no choice but to work as a watchmaker, who spent her life making watches for companies whose names appear in her family tree (several times over, in fact), and who raised one of the Vallée de Joux’s most revered sons.

Her name is Marie-Lise Renaud (born Marie-Lise Meylan), and she tells Kathleen Beckett about making watches before any one outside of Geneva would buy them. She speaks of a time when jewels were cut by hand (by people like her father at Jaeger-LeCoultre) and Audemars Piguet was a small manufacture with only 10 employees. She also shares some of the positive changes that came later in the 20th century, like women being given more important roles and receiving recognition for their work. This is much more than the story of the story of Marie-Lise Renaud. It is the story of the Vallée de Joux and of watchmaking in Switzerland more generally.

This is a must read, and you can find the full article here.

(Photo: Clara Tuma for the New York Times)


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