Whenever someone mentions luxury Swiss watchmaking brands, one name is sure to pop up in your mind – Omega: one of the oldest luxury watchmakers based in Biel, Switzerland. The luxury brand is known to manufacture watches that rival Rolex in its luxury and accuracy. The brand has been in existence since 1848, more than 170 years of expertise has granted the brand abilities to manufacture watches that never compromise quality. Although it is near impossible to visit a watchmaking factory because of the secret ‘recipe’ of every watchmaking brand, Omega has dedicated a whole museum in its parent city to showcase 170 years of its expertise, along with other watchmaking brands based in Biel. Let us dive right into the museum, and discover the secrets the watchmaking industry has to offer.
The Museum History:
The watchmaking brand had for long pondered over the opening of a showcase where it could show its luxury masterpieces to the general public. Work was done and the museum was originally opened in 1983 in Biel.
But seeing the 171-year long history of the brand, it was obvious that a new building with a state-of-the-art viewing experience will eventually be needed. So, the company hired award-winning Japanese architect Shigeru Ban to design a new building lavish enough to showcase the history of the brand. The result was the brand-new building named la Cité du Temps, a truly lavish building matching Omega’s standards. The museum building was relocated to a new location in 2019. The museum tells the fascinating history of the brand through 3D immersive content and other interactive experiences. The museum boasts more than 4000 watches by the luxury Swiss watchmaking brand since its advent. The new building is designed in such a manner that it takes full advantage from natural sunlight, away from the conventional dark-themed museums one sees everywhere. The use of digital technology has redefined the museum experience, and one can’t help but feel that he or she is exactly where Omega wants them to be.
This new Omega museum is different from other watchmaking brand showcases in the sense that it’s open to the general public. Most Swiss watch brand museums require pre-booking. You can’t just turn up and request to see the timepieces kept in those museums. The Omega museum is open every day except Monday. The museum is open to everyone, whatever their level of watchmaking passion. Anyone can turn up and have a visit through the 171-year long history of the brand.
What is inside the Omega Museum:
The new building of the Omega Museum features a stunning entrance, embellished with large video screens and televisions that have videos playing in synchronization with a large world map on the floor of the entrance. The videos and the world map show the geographical history of the brand, and the visitor delves into the history of time the brand has spent making watches according to the demands of particular locations.
After the entrance, everything within the museum is designed to look like a ‘timepiece’. The history of the brand after the entrance is on the display in 64 linked cases designed together to resemble a huge 50-meter long stainless-steel bracelet of a watch. The visitors can also have access to the history of the timepiece in every case through an audio guide.
The Official Timekeeper apparatus:
Omega has long been trusted by the Olympics as the official timekeeper for the sports in this mega event. Of course, this attributes to the extreme accuracy of the brand while making timepieces. The Omega museum has a giant apparatus that looks like one is racing in the real Olympics, and his race is being timed by the trusted Omega technology. The apparatus looks unbelievably real, with electronic starting pistols and starting blocks. There is even an original Omega MYRIA camera that is capable of capturing up to 10000 frames a second, which serves the purpose of taking commemorative photos.
The Moon Watch:
We all know the tail when Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong set their foot on the Moon’s surface for the first time in human history. This event was particularly very special for Omega, as it was the first watchmaking brand that had sent its watch to the Moon. More than 50 years ago, Omega created history when Buzz Aldrin set foot on the moon wearing the Omega Speedmaster Professional, the first watch on the Moon.
Omega knew how to preserve this historic moment, and there is a whole section in the museum where the visitors find themselves walking on the surface of the Moon, next to a replica of the original Moon rover and a fully uniformed NASA astronaut in his spacesuit. This stunning area of the museum tells the awe-inspiring story of Moonwatch and its adventures on the Moon.
James Bond Collection:
All of us know the strong bond between the famous movie spy, James Bond, and Omega. The watch brand has created several watches over the years to commemorate the half-century-long history of the world’s favorite spy, the 007. Since the 007 film GoldenEye in 1995, James Bond has been wearing the Omega Seamaster watches in every film. The museum has dedicated a separate section for the 007 fans. This section features many unique articles featured in the 007 films, along with the Omega watches Bond has been wearing throughout the movies in cases that resemble large cinema film reels.
The Giant Speedmaster:
The museum never fails to inspire the watch enthusiasts to their limits. At the end of the visit, the museum features a giant Omega Speedmaster watch apparatus. The watch enthusiasts can go into the Speedmaster, and see for themselves the working of Speedmaster watches and their famous Co-Axial Escapement from Omega through immersive 360-degree videos and animated films. Through this use of technology, Omega has been successful in creating a giant walk-in Speedmaster, in which the visitor finds himself or herself as if they were sitting inside a working watch. The Omega museum is worth visiting, as it takes you through a roller coaster ride featuring the brand’s history. As it is open to the general public, people can walk in anytime to visit the museum except for Mondays.
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