The Ajoie Seal
The very special mythological ‘wyvern’ figure, this two-legged dragon with birdlike head and pointed tail that I have chosen to use on my wristwatches, was closely bound already from ancient times to the city of Porrentruy where I was born and still live today. Here in Switzerland, you will find the town’s wyvern figure in many places, for instance on its coat of arms and even in a modernized form as the team symbol of Ajoie’s highly ranked ice hockey club “HC Ajoie”. How and exactly when it came into existence is shrouded in mystery, however its visual imagery as a symbol of the town makes it an integral part of life here.
For me personally, within the long history of watchmaking within my family and Porrentruy in general, I consciously use this stamp as a personal expression of my goal to create a 100% Swiss product of the highest quality representing an integral – and living - continuation of the rich watchmaking history of this ancient town.
The history of Porrentruy
Porrentruy, located in the Canton of Jura includes the Ajoie and the Clos du Doubs with the medieval town of St. Ursanne. The Ajoie borders outline a lozenge shaped area between the Alsace (France) and the Franche Comté (France) extending over 300 square kilometers, with a lowland, verdant landscape, which is commonly named ‘the orchard of the Ajoie’. The first known settlement in what became Porrentruy goes back to the Roman era, however, the first historical mention of the name occurs in 1136 as ‘Purrentru’. The name presumably comes from the Latin pons Ragentrudis (Ragentrud bridge). Ragentrud was the wife of the Frankish King Dagobert I, and the German form of the name, Pruntrut may have a separate etymology from Bruntrutum, which means an abundant spring. The stunning historical center is filled with many marvelous and centuries old buildings, a castle, churches and fountains, dotted with unusual polychrome painted sculptures. The city can rightfully be considered a hidden gem of Switzerland.
In the past, Porrentruy was the headquarters of the Prince-Bishopric of Basel. Today it plays the role of cantonal intellectual center with several important schools, amongst which a well-known and long established school of watchmaking. Indeed, it is also a region long devoted to watchmaking and micromechanical specialization; indeed, already in the 19th century, many manufactories were founded in the region; hence, a unique and concentrated know-how developed here which still exists today.