Watch Tourism: Omega’s New Interactive Museum Opens To The Public
Planning a trip to Switzerland? Then, you might want to make a detour to Biel/Bienne to visit the brand-new Omega museum that traces the brand’s 171-year history with state-of-the-art museum display technology.
The great thing about building a museum today is that the technology available to creators has revolutionized the whole museum experience. Video walls, interactive touch screens, immersive experiences, audio guides, and more have brought previously static displays to life.
No expense was spared in the creation of the new Omega museum that is housed in the company’s brand-new “la Cité du Temps” building, designed by award-winning Japanese architect Shigeru Ban. Bathed in natural light, this new museum space couldn’t be further from the dark and dingy museums that most of us were dragged around to as children. In fact, it redefines the museum as we know it!
Delve Into The History Of Time
The visit starts with an entryway featuring a stunning black and gold reception area with video screens embedded into a large world map on the floor, showing snippets of the brand’s history by geographical location.
Then to enter the main museum, visitors first pass through a circular room with an immersive video experience. Plunging them into the world and history of horology, visitors travel back to see ancient Egyptians and their water clocks to present-day movements.
Once inside, the history of the brand is traced using a series of 64 joined display cases designed to resemble the links of a 50-meter long stainless-steel bracelet. Each window has a number so visitors can get additional information about what they are looking at thanks to an audio guide.
Race Against An Olympian Sprinter
For children and adventurous adults, it is possible to race on a 9-meter running track that is equipped with authentic Official Timekeeper technology, including the famous starting running blocks, red electronic starting pistol, and photo-finish commemorative photo captured by Omega’s Scan‘o’vision MYRIA camera, which can record up to 10,000 digital images a second.
For over 100 years, Omega created timepieces for both men and women, with an almost equal split in terms of sales. So, it is no surprise that the feminine side of Omega’s history is also very present at the museum. The new “Her Time” exhibition traces the evolution of Omega’s ladies’ watches from the early Lépine pendants, to the iconic Ladymatic and secret jewelry timepieces, to their very latest creations.
Walking On The Moon
Moving further into the museum, visitors leave the wooden parquet floor behind to find themselves walking on the moon next to a Lunar Rover and a fully-kitted-out NASA astronaut. This area of the museum tells the fascinating story of Omega’s “Moonwatch” and its adventures on the moon.
The Name’s Bond, James Bond
No Omega exhibition would be complete without the watches of the world-famous 007, who has been wearing an Omega on his wrist ever since the film GoldenEye in 1995. For Bond fans, this exhibition contains truly unique memorabilia from the films displayed in cases resembling large film reels.
For visitors interested in present-day Omega watches, the visit ends with a gigantic interactive movement and walk-in Speedmaster room. Here, they can watch a magical 360o animated film that reveals the inner workings of the brand’s famous Co-Axial Escapement.
Unknown to many, Omega has always had a museum in Biel/Bienne. The brand was even the first Swiss watchmaker to have its very own museum dedicated to its history. But as Omega’s history has expanded so quickly, it was inevitable that the museum would eventually run out of space!
What makes this new Omega museum different is that it is open to the general public. Most Swiss watch brand museums require a pre-booking; you can’t just turn up. The Omega museum is open every day but Monday and is open to everyone, whatever their level of watchmaking passion.
When a watch brand has a history this interesting, it would be a crime not to share it. But don’t take our word for it. Go and see it for yourself, or get a sneak peek on Instagram by checking out the hashtag #OmegaMuseum.
Cité du Temps SA
Nicolas G. Hayek Strasse 2
+41 (0)32 343 89 00
Tuesday to Friday: 11:00 to 18:00
Saturday & Sunday: 10:00 to 17:00
(Photography by Watchonista & OMEGA)