At the top of a winding alpine road in the Swiss Vallee de Joux lies the village of Le Brassus, home to hallowed watch companies such as Breguet, Patek Philippe, Vacheron Constantin, Blancpain and Jaeger-LeCoultre – and many more cows.
Around 7,000 people live here and 99 per cent of them are employed in the watch industry. ‘The cradle of high complication watchmaking’ is a phrase we hear more than once during our time in this picturesque little town.
Passing through the drizzle and fog, we arrive at the Audemars Piguet manufacture that was built in 2008. We enter the workshop, passing two giant, high-tech Lavazza coffee machines. Clearly, producing more than 40,000 watches every year requires a lot of caffeine.