Apart from being the spiritual home of haute horology, Switzerland is also home to many great watch museums. Though some of the more fascinating collections can be viewed “by appointment only” and therefore require a bit of advanced planning (as with the museums of Longines, Audemars Piguet, Jaeger-LeCoultre, etc.), there is still plenty to see and do for the watch nerd in Switzerland.
Musée international d’Horlogerie, La Chaux-de-Fonds
This museum houses one of the world’s largest 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. You can check out their website for more details.
Château des Monts Watch Museum, Le Locle
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 check out the website first.
Omega Museum, Bienne
On your way back from La Chaux-de-Fonds, a stop at the Omega museum is a must. It offers a unique collection of everything that is related to the brand. Plus, admission is free and it is even open on Saturdays. More details on their website.
Patek Philippe Museum, 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. Visitors can also admire an extraordinary collection of watches, musical automata and enamel miniatures from the 16th to the 19th centuries, created in Geneva, Switzerland and Europe. Check out their website for more details.
Beyer Clock and Watch Museum, Zurich
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 is open in the afternoon only, and we recommend booking a guided tour or talking to the friendly staff. Hit their website for more details.
Meylan Watchmaking Workshop, Vevey
Participate in the various steps of disassembling and assembling a watch movement under the supervision of Lionel or Julien Meylan, the father-son watchmaking duo behind Horlogerie-Joaillerie Lionel Meylan! Experience the skills, patience and precision that watchmakers employ to assemble a movement, leave with a certificate and watchmaker’s eyeglass bearing the Meylan stamp as souvenirs. Instructions in English and French. Half day by appointment only, mail firstname.lastname@example.org (maximum of 4 people in one session). Log on to their website for more information.
(With inputs from Nitin Nair)