Ticking with the sound of tiny gears, these halls buzz with the enthusiasm of artisans talking about their craft.
The numerous merchant corporations and guilds in Western cities had a pivotal role in structuring economic and political life up until the beginning of the Industrial Age . They played a crucial part in helping spread the ideas and technology that would make Swiss watchmaking famous around the world. The miniaturization of clocks, which began in the early 16th century with the invention of the mainspring, started to accelerate in Geneva from 1550 onwards. The city became a major center of Protestantism under the aegis of John Calvin, and attracted many French Huguenot immigrants, including renowned master watchmakers such as Thomas Bayard and Martin Duboule. In 1601, they founded the Watchmakers Guild of Geneva. By the end of the century, watchmakers in the city had become specialized in watch ornamentation and finishing, while the manufacture and assembly of watch mechanisms was delegated to artisans known as cabinotiers and watch-case makers working mainly in the Jura Mountains.