Earlier this year, Omega opened a new Museum at the Swatch Group’s La Cité du Temps—The City of Time—in Biel/Bienne Switzerland. Designed by multi-awarded architect Shigeru Ban, it offers an immersive experience for the visitors to the new space. While the Swiss watch house has maintained a museum since 1984, it was inevitable that a new museum would eventually be required given the length and depth of the brand’s legacy.
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The new space tells the compelling story of the global watchmaker through immersive movies, compelling showcases and fun interactive experiences.
The journey to the heart of the 171-year-old brand starts with a stroll across the continents. A large world map on the door embedded with digital readouts of exact times from numerous locations across the globe. Before guests proceed, they take a trip back in time. Its “History of Time” is an immersive, 360° video that tracks humankind’s quest for precision, from the earliest clocks to the most modern movements.
Here, visitors can unleash their inner Olympian on a 9m running track equipped with authentic Official Timekeeper technology, including the famous starting blocks and red electronic starting pistol. Budding track stars will even receive a print out of their photo finish, captured by the brand’s Scan ‘o’ vision MYRIA, which can record up to 10,000 digital images a second.
Just beyond it is a section dedicated to the brand’s sojourn’s into space. At this stage of the journey, visitors are encouraged to launch their imaginations into orbit. With a lunar surface underfoot and a Lunar Rover parked nearby, guests can explore the label’s fascinating space story, through videos, photos, NASA technology and the many historically-signicant versions of its “Moonwatch.” Flight qualified by NASA in 1965, the Speedmaster became the first watch worn on the lunar surface.
Her time, too
For more than 100 years, OMEGA has shown a deep commitment to producing exceptional watches for women, which are both aesthetically pleasing on the outside and technologically exceptional within. The new Museum’s “Her Time” exhibition tells the story beautifully, tracing the evolution of OMEGA’s ladies’ watches from early Lépine pendants and the iconic Ladymatic, through to “secret jewellery watches” and today’s latest creations.
Another staple that is highlighted in the new space is Omega’s relationship with the character James Bond; the brand has reliably served 007 on every dangerous mission since 1995 film GoldenEye. As well as complementing his style, Bond’s OMEGA has often been called-upon to help him out of a tough spot. Of course the life-saving functions are fictional, and certainly do not come as standard. However, the watches on display are genuinely cool.
Guests can also journey inside the movement of a watch—without getting caught-up in the cogs. The giant walk-in Speedmaster regularly screens a magical animated lm revealing the inner-workings of the famous Co-Axial Escapement.
Those wishing to delve into the details of the watch’s past, present and future, will not be disappointed. The brand’s long and distinguished history unfolds in the most appropriate way - through a 50m steel bracelet, with 64 treasury windows.
Apart from the launch of the museum, the Swiss watchmaker is launching a new initiative that provides an an official Certificate of Authenticity for its vintage timepieces. This is Omega’s first step toward better transparency in the vintage market, and will provide definitive validation from the company’s experts in Switzerland.
“Our ambition is to create more trust for OMEGA watches within the vintage and pre-owned sector and help to grow confidence for people who are new to the buying market,” explains Omega president and CEO Raynald Aeschlimann. “For the owners of the watches, it's a way to add some official assurance when selling, and also add some value to their timepieces.”
The Certificate of Authenticity will be given to an “authentic” Omega timepiece that is older than 30 years. To gain the certification, owners can either present their vintage timepiece directly at the brand’s HQ in Switzerland (near La Cite du Temps) or to a participating Boutique. For 800 Swiss francs, the watch will then be sent to the OMEGA Heritage Team, who have access to extensive historical production records and servicing policies. During their examination process, they will inspect the current state of the timepiece and then decide if it qualifies for a Certificate of Authenticity.
The new certificate from OMEGA differs from the “Extract from the Archives,” which is also available to customers. While the “Extract from of the Archives” provides a customer with information about when their watch was produced, the Certificate of Authenticity provides extended information about the authenticity of the watch in its current condition at the time of the certification expertise.
Omega’s Swiss HQ will act as the primary collection-point for customers wishing to submit their timepieces for the Certificate of Authenticity. However, an additional network of participating OMEGA Boutiques is also taking part with trained boutique technicians who can deliver to Switzerland on the customer’s behalf.
The global list of boutiques is currently limited to 12 locations, but is expected to grow in the near future. In Asia, the service is available in Hong Kong (Causeway Bay, 38 Russell Street), Singapore (The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands), and Shanghai (Bund 19, No.23, East Nanjing Road).
The Omega Museum is located at the Cité du Temps SA Nicolas G. Hayek Strasse 2 2502 Biel/Bienne, Switzerland. For more information on the museum, visit CitiDuTemps.com. For more information on Omega, visit LucerneLuxe.com.