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Come and visit Swatch on the second floor of Cité du Temps for a journey through Swatch time… Let yourself be transported into the past, present and future of our brand through designs, experiences and artworks, and unleash your imagination: you’ll understand that Planet Swatch is so much more than a museum!
Several thousand of the most intriguing watches – colorful and avant-garde and all with their own stories to tell – are presented in a dynamic environment. From the earliest models to the most recent ones, see how taste evolved, legends were created, icons were born.
Opening hours: Tuesday-Friday 11am-6pm Saturday & Sunday 10am-5pm Monday closed
Planet Swatch Cité du Temps Nicolas G. Hayek Strasse 2 2502 Biel/Bienne
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People never forget the first time they stood in front of one of the world’s most famous artworks; that feeling of a new world opening and creative sparks flying. Exciting things happen when art and the world of Swatch collide, and from the get-go, Swatch has found fresh ways to bring more art to people’s lives. 2023 marks the next chapter of the…
Swiss Watch Tours & Museums (The Complete Guide)
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Swiss Watch Museums (The Complete Guide)
Switzerland is the home of watches. There is no debate there.
And as a result of the deep and long history of watchmaking in this country, there is a lot to see and explore. From museums to tours, workshops to historic locations, this country has it all for the life-long of budding horologists.
In this post, I want to show you all the options for exploring this great country’s watchmaking history, so that if you are in the area you won’t miss out on some true gems of the horology world.
Longines Museum, St-Imier
Image Courtesy of Gerry Lauzon
Longines has been making watches since 1832 so there is a lot of history to see and experience in this museum. Everything from pocket watches and wristwatches to the history of their diverse advertising over the centuries.
Longines Museum Compagnie des Montres Longines Francillon SA 2610 St-Imier Switzerland Telephone : +41 32 9 425 425 Website: www.longines.com
Watch Museum of Le Locle
Le Locle is in many ways the home of watchmaking in Switzerland and is cited as the birthplace of Swiss watchmaking. There are a number of worthwhile historical watchmaker houses and spots to visit in this town, but the Le Locle Watch Museum located a short walk above the train station is perhaps the highlight.
It is said to have begun as a curio collection in 1849 and had a mixed life since that time. Being bound to the Le Locle watch school, it moved location a few times as well. It aims to collect all of the regional history of watch making so is certainly a worthy museum.
Le Locle Watch Museum
Omega Museum, Biel
Image Courtesy of Luke Price
No surprise that the Omega watch museum is in Biel, the epicenter of Swiss horology.
This museum has an impressive 400 watch collection spanning over 160 years. They also have a huge range of watch-related paraphernalia including: movements, clocks, tools, photos, engravings, posters, signs, awards and certificates.
It’s definitely a museum you have to see if you are in the area.
Museum Omega Stämpflistrasse 96 2504 Biel/Bienne Switzerland Telephone : +41 32 343 91 31 Website: www.omegawatches.com
IWC Schaffhausen Museum, Biel
This is an impressive, state-of-the-art museum built in the original manufacturing spaces used by IWC. It features over 250 pieces showcased in their stunning historic building on the grounds of their factory.
I have never seen so much effort go into a building and watch museum from one manufacturer, this is a must-see!
IWC Museum Baumgartenstrasse 15 CH-8201 SchaffhausenSwitzerland Contact Via This Page Website: www.iwc.com
Patek Philippe Museum, Geneva
Image Courtesy of Viaggio Routard
Featuring four levels of watch history in a historic building itself, this watch museum is quite extensive. There is a watch antique museum with displays from the 16th-19th century. There is the history and watches of Patek Philippe themselves, as well as an archive and other displays.
Patek Philippe Museum Rue des Vieux-Grenadiers 7 Geneva Switzerland Telephone : +41 22 707 30 10 Email: [email protected] Website: www.patekmuseum.com
Beyer Clock & Watch Museum, Zurich
Housing a 250 piece collection right in the heart of Zurich on Bahnhofstrasse, this is a museum that is very easy to get to.
Going all the way back to 1400 BC, it is a thorough look at timekeeping over the centuries (sundials and the like) as well as the progress in watchmaking and blocks.
Beyer Museum Bahnhofstrasse 31 Zurich Switzerland Telephone : +41 43 344 63 63 Email: [email protected] Website: www.beyer-ch.com
Hess Uhren, Lucerne
Walter Hess and his wife run a shop in Lucerne where you can not only buy watches but also get to see him at work.
Hess Uhren Stiftstrasse 4 Luzern 600 Switzerland Telephone : +41 41 322 44 88 Email: [email protected] Website: www.hessuhren.ch
Haus zum Kirschgarten, Basel
Image Courtesy of James Shelly
Not specifically dedicated to watches, this museum features a permanent collection of hundreds of watches, clocks and timekeeping pieces from centuries ago. They more recently extended this collection with 3 private donations – 200 sun dials and scientific instruments, 180 mechanical clocks, 242 mechanical clocks and watches, and more.
If you are in Basel, this is one of the premier clock and watch collections in the region.
Elisabethenstrasse 27/29 4051 Basel Switzerland Telephone : +41 61 205 86 78 Email: [email protected] Website: www.hmb.ch
Watch Museum, Welschenrohr
Dedicated to all of the watchmaking mastery that has taken place in Switzerland over the centuries, this museum features dozens of watchmakers as well as a 100 year old workshop and displays of all the tools of the trade.
Open: 1st Sunday of the month
Fabrikstrasse 172, Welschenrohr Switzerland Telephone : +41 32 639 12 23 Website: www.uhrundzeit.com
Watch Case Museum, Noirmont
Image Courtesy of Katherine Johnson
If delving into the mechanics of watch case manufacturing is your thing then this is the museum for you. Dedicated to the history of the watch case and its production, this is perhaps one of a kind. A meticulously rebuilt functioning workshop to produce watch cases from centuries past.
Rue des Colverts 2 CH-2340 The Noirmont Telephone: +41 32 957 65 67 Email: [email protected] Website: www.museedelaboitedemontre.ch
International Center For Mechanical Art (CIMA), St-Croix
Image Courtesy of Mark Bonica
Not quite watches but bearing many of the same traits. this museum dedicated to the art of the mechanical features a lot of music boxes and similar art.
If you have had your fill of watch history then this is a worthy museum that you will not find anywhere else.
Le Musée CIMA Rue de l’industrie 2 1450 Sainte-Croix Telephone: +41 24 454 44 77 Email: [email protected] Website: www.musees.ch
International Clock Museum, La Chaux-de-Fonds
With some amazing pieces on show, as well as numerous time-themed areas to help you delve into the history of timekeeping, this museum is well worth a visit.
They also have a live workshop where you can see timepieces being created as well as many audio/visual displays.
Rue des Musées 29 La Chaux-de-Fonds Switzerland Telephone: +41 32 967 68 61 Email: [email protected] Website: www.chaux-de-fonds.ch/musees/mih
Image Courtesy of The International Clock Museum
Cite Du Temps – Swatch Collection, Geneva
Let’s face it, Swatch revolutionized the watch industry in the late 20th century and is now a watch-making powerhouse on the global scene. So, if you are in the Geneva area and want to take a look at their unique collection in the beautiful Cite du Temps building, I highly recommend it.
LA CITÉ DU TEMPS Pont de la Machine 1 1204 Genève Switzerland Telephone: +41 22 818 39 00 Email: [email protected] Website: www.citedutemps.com
Image Courtesy of Cory Owen
I have tried to cover every accessible museum I could find in Switzerland. There are also a lot of private collections and places that are difficult to get access to, so I left those off this list.
If you have another museum or collection that you think I should include please get in touch .
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My love of watches started almost 30 years ago when I inherited my grandfather’s watch. A watch that is still in my collection and one of my most prized possessions although not the most valuable in terms of money.
Eight must-visit watch museums in switzerland.
There are, of course, many reasons to visit Switzerland, but if you are into watches, a Swiss trip should feel a bit like Heaven on Earth (for you, that is; perhaps not for your fellow travelers who don’t share your passion equally). Along with the many great watch shopping (and window shopping) opportunities, Switzerland is also, as you would expect, home to many great watch museums. Unfortunately, some of the most fascinating collections are “by appointment only” and therefore require a bit of planning ahead (as with the museums of Longines, Audemars Piguet, Jaeger-LeCoultre, etc.). In this article, we introduce you primarily to some of the most interesting Swiss watch museums that all have regular visiting hours. Here are my top eight:
MIH – The Musée international d’Horlogerie in La ChaMusée international d’Horlogerie in La Chaux-de-Fondsux-de-Fonds houses one of the world’s largest and diverse collections of watches and clocks. It is open six days a week from 10 AM to 5 PM (closed on Monday) and offers the perfect start to your Swiss watch museum pilgrimage: www.mih.ch
Musée d’Horlogerie du Locle , Château des Monts – Not far from the MIH, you’ll find a smaller museum in a breathtaking building located in Le Locle. During winter, the museum is only open in the afternoon, so make sure to check out the website first. http://www.mhl-monts.ch/
Omega Museum in Bienne – On your way back from La Chaux-de-Fonds, a stop at the Omega museum is a must. Since October 2019, the brand’s museum is housed in a striking steel, glass and Swiss timber building designed by award-winning architect Shigeru Ban. Visitors can even unleash their inner Olympian on a 9m running track (make sure you visit the Swatch museum in the same building as well) and discover almost everything that is related to the brand. Plus, admission is free and it is even open on Saturdays and Sundays. http://www.omegamuseum.com/
Neues Museum in Bienne – While in Bienne, check out the incredible (and quite often overlooked) collection of the Neues Museum – this is a close as you can get to visiting a Rolex museum. And there is a lot to learn about the city’s watchmaking past. http://www.nmbiel.ch
Espace Horloger in Le Sentier – offering a modern approach to everything related to watchmaking, the Espace Horloger is located in the Vallée de Joux and open from Tuesday through Sunday (only in the afternoons). http://www.espacehorloger.ch/
Patek Philippe Museum in Geneva: Even though you are, unfortunately, not allowed to take pictures here, we still encourage you not to leave Switzerland before seeing this unforgettable collection. http://www.patekmuseum.com/
Beyer Clock and Watch Museum in Zurich (currently closed): Since you’ll most likely end up in Zurich earlier or later, make sure to visit Beyer’s small but exquisite collection in the basement of its retail store (it’s often described as the world’s leading private museums dedicated to horology). It is open in the afternoon only, and we recommend booking a guided tour or talking to the friendly staff: http://www.beyer-ch.com/en/museum/portrait/portrait-museum.html
IWC Museum in Schaffhausen: Only about 40 minutes from Zurich, you will find IWC’s own museum. It offers a unique collection of watches related to either the brand or the region. The museum tour is probably best combined with a tour of the manufacture (which requires a bit of planning). http://www.iwc.com/en/about/museum/
I have a picture of a watch factory in Switzerland that has Hamilton on front side of building and A. Huguenin FILS S. A. Can you tell me anything about it?
It’s my husbands 50th 2020 and he would love to visit all the museums as his knowledge is outstanding and would love too see them first hand
I am interested in the Rolex museum and Piaget museum any tips ?
On a trip to Switzerland a few years ago I was fortunate to be able to tour the Patek Philippe Museum in Geneva. It was a high point point of my trip, the collection is is an inspiration to any fine watch collector. This museum should not be missed by anyone interested in fine workmanship, history, beauty or intricate design. I now need to return to Switzerland to visit the other museums on this list.
we are coming to Switzerland for a holiday in Sep. Will be arriving in Zurich, Where we can find a watch factory and a Museum,
Anand, closest are Beyer and IWC.
Can anyone recommend the best place to see a comprehensive vintage Rolex collection on display?
That would be Neues Museum in Bienne in my opinion.
These are the great places to visit. Thanks for sharing this information.
Nice article. There is a typo for the name La Chaux-de-Fond above.
Thanks for noticing, looks like a copy paste error.
My all times favorite, Patek Philippe Museum…But of course they are all “must-visit” indeed.
We will be traveling to Switzerland Dec 17 to Dec 28. Will musems be open then?
Does Zenith have a watch tour and museum? Thanks
Is their a Zenith museum?
Thank you so much for your insight Roger. I am travelling to Switzerland from Canada this fall with my family and you have helped me narrow my choices with your insider list. I always wondered which watch museums would the Warch Time Team recommend. Keep up the great work! Love my all access subscription.
You can also book a visit to the TAG Heuer museum at your local boutiques.
Would really like to Visit The museum
Thanks a lot for the information on Watch Museums of Switzerland!
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In-Depth Taking The Swatch Group Manufacture Tour
Two hundred reporters, three days, six towns, six brands, zero baselworld..
Time To Move, the Swatch Group press event held May 14 to 16 in Switzerland, was something of an experiment. When the group decided to pull out of this year's Baselworld , it had to make other arrangements for 17 of its brands to show their new watches to clients and the press.
Management decided that the group's six most expensive brands would meet commercial clients during Baselworld at the headquarters of the Hayek Group in downtown Zürich. (The Hayek Group is a private consulting company owned by the Hayek family, the Swatch Group's largest shareholder.) The other brands would meet with clients in local markets.
As for the press, the six prestige brands decided to invite 200 journalists to Switzerland in May for meetings at the brand's production facilities. "We are trying to change the concept," Blancpain CEO Marc Hayek, said. "We want to present the novelties in the place where they are created and born." The goal was to show not just watches the brands make, but where and how they make them.
So it was that for three days, 200 reporters from 21 countries, separated into small groups by language, traveled around Switzerland's watchmaking region in vans, visiting six brands in six towns.
Among them were our own Stephen Pulvirent and myself. Stephen reported on the new products; I focused on the factory visits. There we got a crash course on the Swiss system of mechanical watchmaking, essentially a T Tour (T for Terminaison , French for "finishing"). That's trade terminology for the five stages of watch production, from T0 (the making of movement parts) to T4 (packing and shipping).
What follows are one reporter's notes on the Swatch Group's whirlwind watch manufacture tour.
The original Blancpain Air Command (left) with the new Flyback Chronograph Limited Edition.
On Day 1, bright and early, our group of 14 reporters from the U.S. and Australia piled into a van for the trip from our hotel in Lausanne up to Switzerland's legendary Vallée de Joux. The valley is nestled in the Jura Mountains that form the western border of Switzerland and France. The hour-long ride takes us up steep winding roads to the Col du Mollendruz, 3,871 feet above sea level, one of two mountain passes that lead to the Vallée below. First stop is the village of Le Sentier, home to the Blancpain manufacture .
The Vallée de Joux, looking towards Le Brassus, Le Sentier, L'Orient, and the Lac de Joux.
More than 700 people work here, in every phase of watchmaking, from watch and caliber design to movement manufacturing, casing, testing, and after-sales service. (Blancpain sells 30,000 watches a year, we are told.)
Today we'll get a glimpse of movement manufacturing. Our hosts issue us white lab coats, embossed with our names, and off we go. In the basement is the first stage of watch production, T0: the production of movement components, first by machine, then by hand. We're led into a storage room holding the raw materials – brass sheets and steel bars. From the next room comes a loud, rhythmic pounding sound. That's the Atelier Decoupage. We enter and see Essa machines pounding out brass mainplates, 100 pieces per minute.
Blancpain CEO Marc Hayek presenting new Fifty Fathom watches.
We move to the toolmaking workshop. There is a separate tool to cut each component in a watch movement, we are told. "If there are 300 components in a movement, you need 300 tools," our guide says. Blancpain makes almost all its cutting tools itself.
We move to the Usinage (Machining) section, containing a series of MTR 312 cutting machines that resemble NASA lunar modules. In the machines are 18 to 36 spindles programmed to mill, tap and drill brass components with a precision of 1 to 2 microns.
Then to Tournage (Turning), a workshop that fabricates gold oscillating weights for self-winding movements. All Blancpain rotors are made of gold, except one: Ladybird watches have platinum rotors, also made here. Next is the Ebauches section, where machines make plates, bridges, springs, levers and other steel components.
We want to present the novelties in the place
where they are created and born.
In the next workshop, Lavage (Washing), every component is cleaned ultrasonically in hot baths containing natural detergents. Finally, each component goes to a decoration workshop, elsewhere in the Vallée de Joux, where it is decorated and washed again. That completes T0.
Reverse view of Blancpain's new Villeret Extra-plate watch.
The components then go upstairs to T1, and so do we. T1 is the stage where the components are assembled by watchmakers into complete movements. For these workshops, we must put blue plastic booties over our shoes so that we don't track dirt or dust into the ateliers.
Here men and women wearing white lab coats, with loupes fixed by a wire around their heads, do pre-assembly of the mainplate, bridges and crown. They use electronic screwdrivers that exert exact pressure on the screws, and eight different oils for lubrication. Then, by hand, they assemble barrels, fix pallets and silicon hairsprings to escapements, and perform all the operations to create complete calibers.
Every complete movement is tested and adjusted here and then sent to T2, watch assembly, done elsewhere in this building. We, however, head to Blancpain's high complication workshops in the nearby village of Le Brassus. There to greet us, wearing a white lab coat, is Blancpain CEO Marc Hayek.
The Villeret Extra-plate has a case thickness of 7.39 mm and diameter of 40 mm.
"The Farm," as Blancpain calls the factory, is a series of small ateliers in what was originally a mill located next to a stream on a hill above Le Brassus. Here master watchmakers make Blancpain's highest complications: minute repeaters, split-second chronographs, tourbillons, carrousels, and complex calendars. Outside one atelier is an amazing display that dramatizes what goes on here: it shows each one of the 740 parts in Blancpain's 1735 Grande Complication watch of 1991, at the time the most complicated automatic wristwatch ever made.
Here, too, are ateliers devoted to decorating and engraving movement components and dials. We move from atelier to atelier, for the new product presentations by Blancpain executives, including Hayek himself, who presents the new Fifty Fathom watches.
The entrance to Manufacture Breguet in the village of L'Orient in the Vallee de Joux.
In the afternoon, we ride down the road to Manufacture Breguet, in L'Orient, the village next to Le Brassus. We are welcomed by Thierry Esslinger, CEO of Montres Breguet, and Emmanuel Breguet, vice president/head of patrimony & marketing. They pay tribute to two extraordinary watch entrepreneurs.
Emmanuel Breguet (right), head of patrimony and marketing at Montres Breguet, showing the author the new Classique Tourbillon Extra-Plat Squelette watch.
This first is Emmanuel Breguet's ancestor, Neuchâtel-born Abraham-Louis Breguet, the genius Swiss watchmaker (and inventor of the tourbillon, patented in 1801) who opened a watch shop in Paris in 1775. The other is Nicolas G. Hayek, Sr., the Swatch Group chairman whose acquisition of the Breguet firm in 1999 revived the company, and who served as its CEO until his death in 2010.
As we soon see, the spirit of both men inhabits this place. Our first stop is the Restoration Department. "This is where Abraham-Louis's DNA lies," our guide says. In this atelier, master watchmakers restore Breguet watches going back to the founder's time. We see one watchmaker working on a movement from 1810. Each year, about 20 vintage Breguets are restored here.
Breguet 1160, an exact reproduction of the Breguet 160, or "Marie Antoinette," as seen on HODINKEE in 2017 .
We're also shown the Breguet No. 1160 watch, an exact replica of Breguet's celebrated No. 160, the "Marie Antoinette" watch, which stood for a century as the world's most complicated watch. It was stolen from a Jerusalem museum in 1983 and later recovered. While it was still missing, Hayek Sr. decided to recreate it. "It was a challenge that Nicolas Hayek wanted his house, his baby, to take on," our guide tell us. It was unveiled in 2008.
Buried under a cornerstone at Breguet is a time capsule containing a VHS video cassette with a message from Hayek Sr. to the future.
The restoration department is in a landmark building that was for a century the Lemania factory. Nouvelle Lemania, as it became known, was part of the Breguet Group when the Swatch Group acquired it. It made movements for Breguet and third-party clients, most famously for Omega's Speedmaster. Hayek Sr. restored the Nouvelle Lemania building. Then, in 2001, he expanded and upgraded the facility in the first of three major expansions, changing the name to Manufacture Breguet in 2004.
Breguet's new Classique Tourbillon Extra-Plat Squelette ref. 5395, introduced this year , comes in platinum (left) and rose gold.
We leave the original Lemania building along a corridor leading to the modern three-story extension. On the way, we come upon a marker set into the floor, engraved as follows: LA 1ere PIERRE A ETE POSEE / LE 28 09 2001 / PAR Monsieur NICOLAS G. HAYEK & SON FILS NICK ("The first cornerstone was laid on Sept. 28, 2001 by Mr. Nicolas G. Hayek and his son Nick.") Buried under the cornerstone is a time capsule containing a VHS video cassette with a message from Hayek to the future. And a video cassette player to play it on, in the event there aren't any around in the future! There are also newspapers from that time, with articles about Hayek's revival of the Breguet company.
Breguet employs 800 people in the Vallée de Joux, most of them here. We quickly pass by the T0 machine-manufacturing operations on the ground floor. T0 continues on the top floor, with components hand-finished by artisans.
Breguet's new steel Reine de Naples with a blue natural mother-of-pearl dial.
To me, the most striking section was Guillochage, where literally dozens of artisans sit operating engine-turning machines. Also called rose engines, the machines engrave dials with intricate patterns of intersecting lines. Abraham-Louis loved the look of guilloché, and employed it extensively on his thin-cased pocket watches that revolutionized watch design. He was the first to use guilloché on dials, we learn, and liked the way diamond-shaped patterns reflected light. At Manufacture Breguet, there are 35 rose engine machines.
T2, assembly of the watch (fitting of the dial and hands; casing; complications assembly) takes place on level 1, the middle floor. Since Breguet was the inventor of the tourbillon, we get a short class on tourbillons, and learn that the company has six different types of tourbillon cages.
The Speedmaster Apollo 11 150th Anniversary watch in a special NASA presentation box.
The next morning, we head north from Lausanne, past large Lake Neuchatel and smaller Lake Bienne, into the town of Biel/Bienne (the German and French versions of the town's name; it has been officially known by both since 2005) to Omega's brand-new factory, which opened in 2017. There, CEO Reynald Aeschlimann, in his opening remarks, says that this is "a great time for Omega."
Left, Omega CEO Raynald Aeschlimann, with Swatch Group CEO Nick Hayek (center), at the factory's inauguration in 2017.
The new, state-of-the-art factory, opened in 2017, is a symbol of a resurgent Omega. It is Switzerland's clear number two watch company, in terms of annual revenue (after Rolex), with sales estimated by Ventobel Equity Research at $2.26 billion wholesale for 2018. Two big anniversaries this year are sure to boost those sales: the 125th anniversary of the creation of the Omega brand and the 50th anniversary of NASA's Apollo 11 mission, when Omega became the first watch worn on the moon.
The exterior of the Omega factory in Biel/Bienne.
There has been an Omega factory on this spot for 137 years, and Aeschlimann is proud to show off the gee-whiz wonders of the new plant. The five-story building was designed by Pritzker-prize-winning architect Shigeru Ban, built with concrete, glass and Swiss spruce.
Exhibition back on the new De Ville Tresor celebrating the 125th anniversary of the Omega name this year.
Here we see industrial, not artisanal, production. Omega produces 3,000 watches a day, Aeschlimann tells us. Which means Omega produces in two weeks what Blancpain does in a year. All of Omega's manufacturing is now under one roof: T2 (assembling the watch head and casing), T3 (bracelet assembly), and T4 (packaging and shipping). (Movement making, T1, is done elsewhere at ETA factories.) Also here is Omega's METAS testing center for Master Chronometer certification.
At Omega, four robotic arms move at four meters per second to fetch boxes of components and deliver them along 500 meters of conveyors.
A highlight of the factory is its fully automated storage system, which delivers components to the workshops without human intervention. Located in a three-story, fireproof, 3,660 cubic foot space in the center of the building, the storage area holds more than 30,000 boxes containing all the parts necessary for T2 and T3.
Omega's new Seamaster Aqua Terra Worldtimer features Bienne, where Omega has been headquartered for 137 years, on the city ring between London and Athens.
A system of four robotic arms -- our guide, Mariano Samudio, calls them John, Paul, George, and Ringo – and two vertical lifts, moving at breath-taking speed (4 meters per second) fetch the boxes and deliver them along 500 meters of conveyors. They perform 1,400 operations per hour, which visitors can observe through windows on the ground floor, or from above, through a window in the floor on level 4.
Inventory-bot, the heart of the automated component retrieval system at Omega headquarters in Biel/Bienne.
Once the components get to the workshops, however, the watch head is created the old-fashioned way, by hand. Ninety percent of the work of casing the movement, placing the dial, setting the hands, adjusting the stem, and so on, is done by hand.
Unlike in the Vallée de Joux ateliers, we don't go into Omega's workshop, but view what goes on through glass dividers. To keep dust out, Omega does not allow any paper – or visitors – in the workshops. All communication there is done via touch-screen tablets.
After lunch, we ride back up into the Jura Mountains, to La Chaux-de-Fonds, the self-described " metropole horlogère " (watchmaking metropolis), population 40,000, that has been a watchmaking town for 300 years. We drive along Rue Louis-Joseph Chevrolet. (Yep, that Chevrolet: the car pioneer was born here. So was renowned architect Le Corbusier.) We turn onto Allée du Tourbillon and arrive at Montres Jaquet Droz.
Jaquet Droz's newest Tropical Bird Repeater watch comes with baguette diamonds and costs $861,000.
Jaquet Droz, which the Swatch Group acquired the year after Montres Breguet, is named for a local watchmaking wizard. Pierre Jaquet-Droz was born La Chaux-de-Fonds in 1721. His genius was to create not only watches and clocks, but automata that helped promote his timepieces.
His automata were considered wonders of the world. Three androids – the Writer, the Draughtsman, and the Musician – brought him international fame. Finished in 1774, and presented for the first time in La Chaux-de-Fonds, they caused a sensation. They "performed" for Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette in Paris in 1775, followed by a tour of various Royal Courts around Europe. Today, they are in the permanent collection of the Musée d'Art et d'Histoire in Neuchâtel, and are still working (the Museum demonstrates them to the public regularly).
The author with Jaquet Droz CEO Christian Lattmann in La Chaux-de-Fonds.
Montres Jaquet Droz continues Pierre Jaquet-Droz's legacy, CEO Christian Lattmann tells us. In its workshops, 60 watchmakers and craftsmen create watches that are objets d'art . They range from off-centered Grande Seconde wristwatches, inspired by a Jaquet-Droz pocket watch with two intersecting dials forming a figure 8, to limited-edition pieces featuring exotic dials and wrist automatons.
Last year, Jaquet Droz sold all eight of its CHF 650,000 Tropic Bird Repeater watches in eight months, one to an American.
We begin in the showroom, where we meet "Charlie," an android built in 2012 based on the Johnny Depp character Willy Wonka in the movie "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory." Charlie's hands hold two bells, which he raises to reveal current Jaquet Droz models. He is made of 2,693 mechanical parts and is animated by a system of 12 cams and 7 electric motors.
Next, we see why Pierre Jaquet-Droz was considered a wizard. A technician shows us the master's "Singing Bird Cage," made in 1780. It's a large, ornate, hanging cage, with a clock on the bottom, containing two birds. In the center of the cage, running top to bottom, is a crystal column. The technician winds the clock, and for 40 seconds a melody plays while the mechanical birds, with real bird feathers, chirp, moving their wings, beaks and tails, while 12 turning "streams" in the column create the illusion of a waterfall. The clock has six melodies, which can play on demand or on the hour. For our 21st century audience, it is amazing. For an 18th century audience, it must have been pure magic.
A Jaquet Droz Grande Seconde Off-Centered Chronograph watch with the brand's signature figure-eight dial design, common to all Grande Seconde models.
Knowing that we have just come from giant Omega, whose budgets for world-renowned "ambassadors" Lattmann can only dream of, he laughs as he tells me, "The automata are our Cindy Crawford."
Jaquet Droz's newest automaton wristwatch is the Magic Lotus Automaton. The dial features a small round watch face surrounded by a flowing steam. The watch dial is onyx and has two gold hands. The rest of the dial is brimming with decorative art creations that are Jaquet Droz's specialty.
It depicts the four stages of a lotus flower: seed pods, bud, spring flower and fall flower. Two blue disks represent the stream. Also on the dial is a koi fish, a blue dragonfly, lotus leaves, water lilies, diamonds, sapphires, a ruby, and more.
Push the button on the crown and the stream comes to life. The large disk rotates and the koi moves around the dial, flapping its tail and diving beneath the green lotus leaves. The water lilies bob up and down as the water flows. The entire animation runs for a full four minutes, with eight rotations of 30 seconds each.
All the elements on the dial are made in workshops here. The koi and dragonfly are hand-carved in gold and painted; the lotus leaves and reed stems are made in Grand Feu enamel on a gold base; the lotus petals are carved from mother-of-pearl with a thin coat of translucent paint.
The dial of the new Smalta Clara Hummingbird watch is made in plique-a-jour enamel crafted in Jaquet Droz workshops.
In the Atelier de Haute Horlogèrie (T2), each watch is assembled by hand by one watchmaker. Blancpain supplies Jaquet Droz with movements, which JD then modifies. Automata are manufactured in the Atelier Automaton, complete with a small sound studio to create chirping birds and other sounds. The movement in the new Magic Lotus watch, which took three years to develop, has 616 components; 500 of them are for the automaton.
Painting, enameling, engraving, and sculpting are all done by hand in sunlit, monastery-quiet ateliers devoted to each craft.
The Magic Lotus watch costs 200,000 Swiss francs before tax. JD will produce 28 pieces in red gold and 28 in white gold.
The main market for these pieces is Asia, Lattmann tells me. But demand is global. Last year, it sold all eight pieces of its remarkable Tropic Bird Repeater watch (price: CHF 650,000) in eight months, one to an American.
Harry Winston's next, and last, watch in the Histoire de Tourbillon series extends along the wrist for 45 mm.
On Day 3, we head to Plan-les-Ouates on the outskirts of Geneva to visit the Harry Winston Manufacture. The Swatch Group acquired the famous New York diamond jewelry house in 2013 for $1 billion. Waiting to greet us is Nayla Hayek, CEO of Harry Winston, who is also chairwoman of the Swatch Group board of directors. "You are very lucky," she tells us, underlining one of the reasons for the "Time To Move" press event. "In Basel, you see only a few novelties. Here you will see all the novelties."
In fact, we are lucky to be allowed inside this ultra-secure fortress at all, where millions of dollars worth of diamonds and gemstones are stored. We soon learn that the Time To Move press guests are the first outsiders ever shown the manufacturing ateliers.
While diamond jewelry is Winston's signature product, 180 employees here work on watches, Ms. Hayek tells us. Most of the watches are ladies' jewelry pieces.
It takes a week to produce the dial on Harry Winston's Premier Precious Micromosaic Automatic 36mm watch. It is hand-made using a mosaic glass setting and 14 brilliant-cut diamonds.
Inside the gem-setting atelier, jewelers peer into Olympus SZ51 microscopes as they set cases, bracelets and dials with precious stones. We see jewelers setting the diamond-encrusted rectangular case of Harry Winston's Avenue Classic 20th Anniversary watches. The top-grade stones, set in Winston's famous "invisible settings," are dazzling. It takes a jeweler four to five days to complete one case.
Harry Winston watches use ETA movements primarily, mostly quartz in the ladies' pieces. The company gets its moon-phase complications for both ladies' and men's watches from Blancpain.
The last Harry Winston Histoire de Tourbillon watch is the first wristwatch ever to have four separate tourbillons.
Winston, of course, isn't only about women's watches. It has made high-profile forays into the high-mechanical world with its series of Opus and Histoire de Tourbillon watches and its use of exotic metals like zalium, a zirconium-aluminum alloy; the platinum-group metal ruthenium; and Winstonium, its exclusive platinum alloy.
Highlights of the Midnight Retrograde Second Automatic 39 mm watch are its blue aventurine dial, 107 brilliant-cut diamonds and one emerald-cut diamond.
This year's men's headliner is the 10th and final piece in the Histoire de Tourbillon series. It's the first watch ever to include four separate tourbillons. The four tourbillons are positioned at the corners of the giant case, which extends horizontally along the wrist (45 mm x 32 mm x 12.85 m). They rotate once every 36 seconds, unified by three differentials. Histoire de Tourbillon 10 is a limited-edition of 21 pieces: 10 in rose gold, 10 in white gold (CHF750,000 each); and one in Winstonium (CHF770,000).
HW's newest zalium watch is Project Z13, also known as the Ocean Retrograde Automatic 42MM watch, with a zalium case and buckle. It's the first watch in the Zalium collection with a moon-phase display. This one, exclusive to HW, is unique: its shape is not round, but 12-sided, and it is suspended above the cut-out dial by transverse arms. Its automatic movement is made exclusively for Harry Winston.
As for the Opus, we do not see the long-awaited Opus 15 (it's been nearly four years since the last one – the Opus 14 "Jukebox For The Wrist" ). However, the company says it expects to unveil it by the end of the year.
Glashutte Original's new SeaQ dive watch, the first piece in its new "Spezialist" collection aimed at outdoorsmen and women.
We spend the afternoon with Glashütte Original in a hotel near the Geneva airport. GO's manufacture is nearly 500 miles away as the crow flies, in the famous watchmaking village of Glashütte in eastern Germany. Since the company can't bring the press to the manufacture , CEO Roland von Keith tells us (it's a long way from Geneva to Saxony), it brought the manufacture to the press. It set up a few manufacturing operations in the hotel ballroom. We're issued the obligatory white lab coats and head into the faux factory for a final round of novelties and technical presentations.
In a temporary lab in the center of the room, two technicians perform some of the quality-control torture tests GO runs for shock-resistance and water-resistance. Elsewhere, around the room, watchmakers and technicians are performing demonstrations at benches.
Engraved on the back of the SeaQ is a trident with the brand's Double-G logo and 20 waves, symbolizing the watch's 20 bar water-resistance.
At one, a watchmaker is blueing screws. First, he mirror-polishes the tiny steel screw by hand, rubbing it on a polishing plate until it is glossy. This process protects it from corrosion. Then he places the screw, which is gray, on a small heating device on the workbench. The screw soon changes color, turning yellow, followed quickly by brown, red, violet, and then, at a temperature of 290° C, the color he desires: a deep blue, at which time he lifts it off the grill.
At Glashütte Original, we see a heated screw go from gray to yellow, brown, red, violet, and, at 290° C, deep blue.
At the dial printing station, a technician from GO's dial factory in Pforzheim, Germany, demonstrates the "pad printing" process of manually applying logos on dials, one at a time. The pad-printing method uses a silicone or rubber "balloon" to pick up ink from a negative engraving, called a "cliche." Pulling the arm of the machine, the technician lowers the pad onto the negative. Then she slides the pad along a track to position it over a blank dial, and lowers the pad onto it. Voilà: the logo appears on the dial.
Blued screws abound on Glashutte Original's new Senator Chronometer Tourbillon, whose flying tourbillon features a world-first stop-second mechanism and zero reset function.
At another station, a watchmaker using a microscope is screwing 18 infinitesimal screws into a gold screw balance. The screw thread measures a ridiculous 0.35 mm – hence, the microscope. The watchmaker asks for a volunteer to perform the operation. Adam Craniotes, the irrepressible founder of the RedBar group , offers to be the guinea pig. Craniotes, like the rest of us, is sleep-deprived, which will hamper his dexterity. There's also a good chance he's sipped some of the fine Swiss wine served at lunch at Harry Winston, which won't help either. Amazingly, after a few tries, he manages to pick up a screw with the tweezers. But, alas, he drops it. Our gang groans when he lets us know. One of the group points to the screw, which landed on the counter top. It looks like a single speck of table salt. Craniotes doubles down. After repeated attempts, he manages to pick up another screw, and, mirabile dictu , screws it into a hole. He gets a hero's applause from his admiring peers. Now, only 17 more to go. He leaves those for the pro.
The episode drives home a major theme of the trip. We knew fine watchmaking was complicated. But we come away with a new understanding of just how devilishly difficult it is. And a deeper appreciation for those special souls who master its crafts.
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Geneva ticks away the history of its time in a manner that can be truly surprising. In addition to the 100 watch boutiques grouped together over just a few square kilometers, dozens of examples illustrate the multi-centenary influence of the 12th Art on the city of Calvin. Just what is the link between the beating heart of a watch and the power of the Jet d’Eau, one of the city’s key symbols ? A unique relationship, which, like a secret passion, is but rarely revealed and that we invite you to discover with the Geneva Watch Tour. Throughout a unique itinerary, of which a number of not-to-be-missed elements are presented in these pages, you will discover this romance within which the past and the future of Watchmaking meet and mingle.
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Swatch and OMEGA "reach for the planets" with the Bioceramic MoonSwatch Collection
OMEGA X Swatch celebrates the iconic Speedmaster Moonwatch, the first watch ever worn on the Moon. The Bioceramic MoonSwatch Collection is the result of an unexpected, provocative, and visionary partnership — a first between Swatch and OMEGA.
Inspired by space, each of the eleven models is named after a planetary body in our solar system, from the giant star at the center to the dwarf planet at its periphery. What launches this collection into orbit, however, is the fusion of the innovative Bioceramic material with the key OMEGA Speedmaster Moonwatch design elements. It is a down-to-earth take on the watch that went to the Moon and a perfect representation of Swatch’s joy of life and innovation philosophy.
This non-limited collection is available for purchase at selected Swatch stores (1 watch per person per store per day).
Mission to the Sun
The star of the collection in a bright sun-brushed golden color.
Mission to Mercury
A tribute to the fast-moving winged messenger in deep grey.
Mission to Venus
Powdery pink hues and oval subdials celebrate the planet named after the goddess of love.
Mission on Earth
A celebration of our precious planet in blue and green.
Mission to the Moon
Faithfully reproduces the design of the Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch.
Mission to Mars
A fiery, red-colored timepiece with "Alaska Project" watch hands.
Mission to Jupiter
A bronze-colored collectable with an orange “Ultraman” seconds hand.
Mission to Saturn
Beautiful beige with Saturn’s rings at 6 o’clock.
Mission to Uranus
Pale blue tribute to the Greek god of the sky.
Mission to Neptune
Celebrating the ice giant in a freezing deep blue.
Mission to Pluto
Dedicated to the “dwarf” planet in gray and burgundy.
Each model in the Bioceramic MoonSwatch Collection features the asymmetrical case, the iconic 'dot over ninety' on the tachymeter scale, and the distinctive Speedmaster subdials.
All dials feature the OMEGA X Swatch branding, the iconic Speedmaster logo, and the new MoonSwatch logo. A closer look at the domed biosourced glass construction reveals the "hidden" 'S' integrated in the center of the crystal. The circular pattern on the dial's outer ring and recessed subdials brings a refined touch to the design, complementing the sharp and smooth lugs construction. The hours, minutes, chronograph seconds hands, and hour markers sport Super-LumiNova® for a perfect glow in the dark.
The double-beveled caseback on each Bioceramic MoonSwatch is printed with the mission text and features integrated wording sure to inspire: "DREAM BIG – FLY HIGHER – EXPLORE THE UNIVERSE – REACH FOR THE PLANETS."
Every battery cover on the back has an image of the planetary body that inspires the design.
MoonSwatch on tour around the world
Only available in selected Swatch stores.
What is Bioceramic?
Developed and patented by Swatch, Bioceramic is a unique blend of 2/3 ceramic used in high-end watchmaking and 1/3 biosourced material derived from castor oil. This results in a very robust material with a silky matte finish.
The wearing of a mask and the Sanitary Pass are no longer compulsory for our watchmaking experiences.
An experience made specially for you
Select the category "you are" in order to refine your search of experiences Discover our offers of unique stays linked with the world of watchmaking
How about exploring the world of watchmaking?
Visit a manufacture, learn about watchmaking, create your own watch, meet artisans, combine hotel night with a watchmaking experience, take part in a guided tour of watchmaking heritage or a watchmaking survey, ... Since 1705, the Country of Neuchâtel gives the world time, come and discover it!
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In the spotlight
Welcome to Explore Swiss Watchmaking, the Neuchâtel Tourism entity dedicated to watchmaking-related experiences.
Explore Swiss Watchmaking offers a whole range of experiences that open the doors of manufactures, private workshops and emblematic historic sites.
Whether you’re a long-time enthusiast or simply curious to learn more about the world of watchmaking, enjoy an immersive experience that will help you understand the secrets and challenges behind each watch. Experiences are available for all levels of interest and knowledge.
Explore Swiss Watchmaking activities aim to create moments of sharing and exchange between visitors and watchmakers, while preserving the cultural and historical heritage of the Pays de Neuchâtel, which has been giving the world time since 1705!
Dive into the captivating world of watchmaking!
The MoonSwatch Goes on a Summer Tour
Missed out on the hottest collaborative timepiece launch of the year in the incredibly popular MoonSwatch? Never fear, as this summer Swatch is bringing their riff on the Omega Speedmaster to you in their MoonSwatch Summer Tour.
Starting its journey today from Swatch’s Biel Headquarters in Switzerland, the rolling tour pairs each of the eleven planets in the MoonSwatch solar system with a bespoke car. The fleet will be stopping at 12 (so far) European stops, including France, Germany, Greece and… yes, London. More details as we have them but one thing’s for certain: if you didn’t get your hands on your MoonSwatch of choice (some of us had to just make do with what we could get), this might just be your chance. You know. Before they eventually go online.
The #MoonSwatch summer tour starts today, 12 July 2022. More details at Swatch .
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OUR PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE
Ground-breaking innovations, space travel, precision records, deep-sea adventures, Olympic Games timekeeping, James Bond – OMEGA’s legacy is truly extraordinary and the brand’s beautifully modern Museum in Switzerland is a fitting place to tell such an extraordinary story.
HOURS & ADMISSION
Please find our opening hours and admission details on the Cite Du Temps website.
Nicolas G. Hayek Strasse 2 2502 Biel/Bienne
Tel. +41 32 343 89 00 [email protected]
“Visitors can unleash their inner Olympian on a 9m running track and even record their time with OMEGA’s Official Timekeeper technology”
HOW TO GET THERE
Various bus connections are available from Biel/Bienne train station. From there you can reach us by taking the bus services 2, 4, 7, or 72 and stop at the bus station OMEGA. There are limited blue zone parking spaces available around the museum, requiring a parking disc with a maximum stay of 1.5 hours. Further parking spaces (paid) are also available close to the museum in Gurzelen paid parking on Falkenstrasse.
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“OMEGA’s long and distinguished history unfolds in the most appropriate way - through a 50m steel watch bracelet, with 64 treasury windows”
Visitors to the OMEGA Museum are invited to use our audio guides, which are available in English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Russian, and Mandarin Chinese.
CITE DU TEMPS
Discover a truly unique place dedicated to time. Situated in Biel, the curved construction by architect Shigeru Ban invites visitors inside the luxurious OMEGA Museum and the playful Planet Swatch.
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The MoonSwatch Is Now Way Easier to Buy in the USA
MoonSwatch-vending cars are touring the country, and retail locations are expanding.
By Zen Love
The $260 Swatch x Omega Bioceramic MoonSwatch was so hyped it’s been hard to get, but there’s good news for its American fans. Starting Saturday, October 22, a fleet of cute little Fiat Cinquecento cars will tour the US to bring MoonSwatches to different cities, including areas previously inaccessible or inconvenient to retail locations. In addition, Swatch has announced that the MoonSwatch will now be available in all its stores (excluding the Broadway & Bleecker location in New York City).
Of course, there’s a twist, and Swatch had to make it “fun”: Following similar tours in Europe and Asia, these cars will simply show up in different cities, and you’ll have to be in the right place at the right time to pick up a MoonSwatch. While exact schedules of times and places where these mobile vending stations will roll up aren’t being announced, Swatch has disclosed some salient details.
There will be three cars covering three different US regions, and although each car is named after one of the MoonSwatch collection planets, a variety of MoonSwatch models will be available from each — on a first-come-first-served basis.
A red “Mission to Mars” car will begin in Miami, Florida, before visiting other cities, and Swatch has specified Boca Raton, Sarasota and Jacksonville. A yellow “Mission to the Sun” car will tour the Los Angeles, San Diego and Sacramento areas in California. And, finally, a blue Mission to Neptune car will serve “surprise locations” in the country expected to include the Midweest.
It might seem gimmicky, and it is, but it gives more people a chance to get one of these sought-after watches hopefully reaching them before they lose hope of getting one and while there’s still enthusiasm. In addition, it shows that Swatch really is trying to put a MoonSwatch on your wrist, having not only opened more retail locations , but now announcing that the MoonSwatch will be sold at more (it says almost “all”) Swatch stores where it was previously unavailable.
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Swatch guided tours.
The top floor of the Cité du Temps is dedicated to exhibits, events and other brand happenings to remind visitors that ‘Time is what you make of it’.
One of the most eventful chapters in the story of watchmaking is the story of the brand Swatch – born in 1983, the iconic Swiss brand pioneered new parts and processes and put the fun to function – the vital ingredients in restoring Switzerland to pole position in the watchmaking stakes.
Regular free guided tours in English take place every Sunday at 11am (tours can also be reserved in advance on other days).
WHERE: Cité du Temps, 1 pont de la Machine, 1204 Genève.
WHEN: Tour in English every Sunday at 11am
COST: Free entry.
FURTHER INFO: Click here .
ENGLISH CINEMA DATE NIGHT
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