Spectacles were created from a single nail. The story begins in 1796 in Les Arcets, a hamlet in Morez. The ingenious craftsman who had the idea of stretching and twisting a nail to make spectacles was called Pierre-Hyacinthe Caseaux, a nail smith by trade. His story and that of his children, both biological and metaphorical, still continues to confirm the status of Morez as a worldwide standard in spectacle design and manufacture.
In fact, Morez and its ingenious nail smith did not really invent spectacles; they actually have a medieval Italian heritage. However, this is indeed where the production of glasses first became industrialised, starting with the metalwork process – a proven field of expertise in the 16th century in Haut-Jura. Suffice to say that it is a genuine speciality!
80% of France’s Production
Continuing this eyewear tradition in the Jura Mountains is a first-class high school (700 students), a museum of spectacles with exhibitions and interactive workshops, and, in particular, specialised businesses. L’Amy, Julbo, Cottez, Jullien are just a few of about sixty companies employing 3,500 people, thus providing 70% of jobs in the canton of Morez. It is truly established here, to the extent that Morez represents 55% of the French eyewear industry. If we include Oyonnax, this proportion reaches 80% and thrusts the Jura Mountains to the forefront of the French spectacle industry. A total of about 10 million frames are produced every year in Morez, 88% of which are made out of metal. Every second pair of glasses is exported, to 40 countries across the world. Glasses made in the Jura Mountains do indeed have a good reputation!